Remove That Curb Damage From Your Aluminum Alloy Rims

Your rims take a lot of abuse on a daily basis. Running into the curb, getting hit by objects, and even hitting potholes can cause damage to your rims. All of this type of damage is referred to as "curb damage." Those little dents and dings can add up and eventually ruin your rims if you are not careful. If you have noticed that your rims have sustained some damage lately, you can fix them up yourself when you have a couple of free hours.

Assess The Damage

The first thing you need to do is to assess the damage to your aluminum alloy rims. Take some car soap, a bucket, some water and a sponge and get to work cleaning your rims. Removing all the dirt and grime that are on your rims will make it easier for you to assess the damage, and you will be able to move quickly into the repair stage.

If the dings on your rims are relatively small, you can fix them yourself. However, if the dings and dents are really large—say four or five inches long or wide—you may want to take your vehicle to a mechanic and see what they can do for you.

Once you identify the damaged parts of your rim, it is time to get to work.

Clear The Area

Washing yours rims may have removed the dirt and grime off, but you are going to need the damaged areas to be super clean in order for you to repair them. That is where the paint thinner comes in. Paint thinner can smell really strong, so you may want to park your car outside while you are using it. You should also wear gloves. You don't want the paint thinner to come into contact with your skin; it could irritate it.

Dip either a sponge or rag into the paint thinner. Then rub the sponge or rag over the damaged area. The paint thinner will remove any built up wax and will also take care of any leftover dirt. You should either throw away the sponge or rag you used, or make sure you only use it with the paint thinner from now on.

When you are done with the paint thinner, turn on your hose to and spray down your rims. This is the best way to ensure that the paint thinner doesn't stick around.

Prep The Area

Once your wheels are dry, take some painters tape or masking tape and mark off the areas you need to work on. This will help keep your focus while working, and ensure that you don't sand or apply any putty or paint to the wrong area.

Sanding & Putty

Once you have taped off the areas you need to work on, it is time to get down to the real work.

To start with, you are going to need to use some 400-grit sandpaper to sand down the surface of your rims. You can sand by hand or use a sanding tool. If you use a sanding tool, be sure to work slowly. Sand long enough to remove any paint or rust near the damaged area. Stop when the area starts to feel rough.

When the damaged area is worn down, but feels a little rough to the touch, it is time to stop sanding and apply the putty. Apply the putty using a plastic scraper over the area. The putty should fill in any damaged bumps. The sanding job will allow the putty to adhere to your rims. The putty will need to dry for about fifteen minutes before you move on to the next step.

After fifteen minutes has passed, you are going to want to use a finer grade of sandpaper, such as a piece of 800-grit sandpaper, to sand down the putty. These grades of sandpaper are made to sand softer surfaces and substances, such as the putty. Sand it down gently so the putty is smooth. Then, let the newly sanded putty finish drying.


After the putty has dried, if you want your wheels to look like new, you need to paint over the formally damaged area. You can pick up some aluminum spray paint at your local hardware or automotive store. Keep the can at least six inches away from the rims, and use a sweeping motion to cover the damaged area. If you can still see the putty under the paint, you may need to apply a second coat.

Once the paint has completely dried, you should apply a coat of lacquer. This will seal the paint and ensure that your repair job is not damaged. 

In order to allow everything to dry and look great, don't drive your vehicle right away. Allow everything to dry for at least eight hours, or overnight. By taking a few hours out of your day to fix the curb damage on your aluminum alloy rims, you will get a lot of extra miles out of rims before they need to be replaced. For more information, contact a company like Acheson Auto Body and Service Center West.