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Got Curb Rash? Repair Alloy Wheels Yourself And Save.

April 9, 2010
Above: Unretouched photos of the wheel on Drew’s 325i showing the original curb rash and the results after using the wheel repair kit (above).

You could easily save hundreds of dollars. With BMW replacement wheels costing anywhere from $300–600 each, this kit from Europe makes a lot of sense. It lets you repair scraped or gouged alloy wheels yourself and save huge. The kit incudes a tube of wheel putty, a can of wheel paint, a can of clear coat, a set of metal files, sandpaper and more, all for just $59.95. And one kit can do several wheels. Drew, one of our phone reps, volunteered to test the kit on a curbed wheel on his 2003 325i. Here’s his report:

“I finished the wheel repair this evening… This is a kit we should offer. It does take some time; the more time you spend, the better it will  come out. I did my wheel on the car with the tire still mounted. It was fine, but I think it would be easier with the wheel off the car and no tire mounted on it. (If you’re leaving the wheel on the car, I recommend getting extra tape to mask off a large enough area to prevent over- spray.) The color match on the paint is very close; from 5 ft. away my roommates could not tell where the repair was done. Even after I pointed out where the damage had been, it was still difficult to notice… The results are not perfect – not like putting on a new wheel – but you can’t go wrong for the money. This is a product we can offer with confidence.”

Thankfully, Drew took pictures throughout the repair process. We present them here as we explain, step by step, how to use the kit to repair your own, damaged alloys. Note: paint matches BMW silver wheels; not for use on shadow chrome, brilliant line, etc.

1. The damage the curb did to Drew’s wheel (above) is pretty typical and includes gouges, scrapes and protruding ridges of metal. Drew began the repair by using the metal files to remove the ridges, smooth off the rough edges and clean up the gouges and scrapes.

Note: For this repair, Drew used the full kit that includes the files, sand paper, clear coat, etc. We recommend this kit for most repairs. If you already own a set of small metal files and a can of clear coat, we also offer a micro kit that includes just the putty and wheel paint, or you can get a tube of putty only. Just be aware that the files, sandpaper, etc. are not offered separately so you would not be able to order those later.

2. After masking off the wheel, Drew applied the putty to the damage, pressed and smoothed it with his fingers and allowed it to harden for a couple of hours. Once hardened, the masking is removed and sandpaper is used to shape and smooth the putty to match the rest of the wheel.

3. Prior to painting, more masking was applied to prevent over-spray from getting on nearby surfaces.

4. The picture at right shows the repair right after it had been painted. If you look closely, you can see a very slight ridge on the inside, where the repair meets the wheel surface. Drew says had he not been in a hurry to complete the repair in time for our New Products meeting, he would have taken more time when sanding. Still, the results are quite impressive: take a long look at the picture below and see if you can figure out where the repair was made.

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