Aluminum Wheel Refinishing

Are you looking to restore aluminum wheels to their original shine? These Do-It-Yourself, aluminum wheel refinishing instructions will ensure that your wheels look brand new.

  • Prep Work – Prepare your work area by jacking your car on level ground so your tire can rotate. If this causes your lug nuts to protrude, remove all but one that doesn’t extend beyond the wheel’s surface. You can also remove the tire completely and work with it on the ground. Also, be sure to mask your tires and protect the valve stem from any damage that may be inflicted by your sander.
  • Initial Cleaning – Use wheel and tire cleaner or degreaser to remove any wax, dust and dirt build-up that has accumulated on your wheels. Make sure to rinse your tires well and let them dry before you proceed. This step is very important as you do not want to sand the grit and grime into the aluminum.
  • The Sanding Process – Put on your dust mask and safety goggles. Start by sanding each of the lug nut holes and between the spokes with a coarser sandpaper. This is an important starting point because it is easy to scratch the surface of the wheel during this step and you can smooth out the scratches next. Now, sand the center, spokes and rim of the wheel at a low speed with a sander- polisher and full range of sandpaper grits. Make sure to start with a higher grit and then lower the grit subsequently to smooth out any scratches from the previous one.
  • Polish – With a polishing cream and polisher, begin the polishing process. Make sure to moisten the polishing pad with water first. Then rinse and repeat this process until you achieve your desired shine.
  • Wax – Once you wash and dry your entire aluminum wheel, you can begin to wax the surface or degrease it and coat it with a crystal-clear paint. While the waxing method is effective, adding a clear coat of paint adds an additional layer of protection.
  • Remount Tire – Now that your OEM aluminum wheel is in optimum condition, you can remount it and hit the open road. Make sure your lug nuts and weights are balanced, your valve stem is in its proper position and enjoy the ride!
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