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 Guide: DIY Alloy Wheel Refurbishment

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Ash 306

Posts : 8
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Join date : 2011-07-20
Age : 27
Location : Ludlow, Shropshire

PostSubject: Guide: DIY Alloy Wheel Refurbishment   Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:02 am

Ive decided to make a guide on alloy refurbishment with the help of
other guides to create the only guide you will ever need to refurbish a
set of alloys. Enjoy!

Think some warnings are in order to start with:

1) Leave wheels for at least 1 week before putting tyres on, using them,
sanding them, etc... (It says this on the can of lacquer anyway)
2) DO NOT let paint dry fully before applying lacquer. Leave it until
its tacky/coming to dry (about 20-30mins) then apply lacquer (Also says
this on the can of lacquer)
3) NEVER sand between paint and lacquer!

I think thats all cleared up so were good to go.

This is how much paint i used. I also had some left over in the cans as i
didnt use them fully because it starts spitting and makes a horrible

1x Etch Primer (500ml)
1x Grey Primer (500ml)
2x Simoniz Spray Putty (500ml)
3x Colour Paint (300ml)
4x Lacquer (300ml)


Firstly, choose a suitable workplace. Luckly, ive not long finished my
workshop so had a nice dust free place to work. Firstly, clean the


Now i have a clean and tidy workplace, lets get to work.

Here are the wheels when i just bought them:

I then had tires removed (you can leave tires on, but its easier and a
better job with them off). The tires wasnt that good so i had them taken
off and binned. You can sometimes have this done free like i did as its
a family member. Here they are waiting to be taken to garage for

Tires now removed, lets get started.

Start off with taking the balancing weights off, i had stick-on and
clip-on ones. Just use a flat-blade screwdriver and carefully remove the
weights and use some sticky stuff remover to remove the foam sticky pad
left when stick-on weights are taken off.

Give them a good clean with soap and water to get the main dirt and oil off.

Let them air dry or wipe down with a cloth.

Now the sanding comes in.


A) Using P80 grit paper, rub the bubbling and curbing out!*
A*) If there is any extremely deep kurbing use a small amount of ALLOY
FILLER (filler to hardner ratio is approx 1 golf ball of filler to a pea
of hardner) However, i used Alloy Wheel Putty
so all you had to do is tear a bit off and knead it a little then stick
to the wheel. Its brilliant stuff and when dry, its solid and sticks
like s*it to a blanket. Also, ive got electric in there now.

B) Using P120 grit, rub any area touched with the P80 and filler!

C) Start to feather out the wheel with P240 grit where you have sanded
the bubbling and curbing away, also the filler. You will see the layers
of old paint and primer, kind of like tree rings! All the old layers
need to be sanded back until the rings are a decent distance apart and
fade into one another otherwise you will see them through the new paint!

D) Continue to rub down with P240 grit any area you touched with the P120 grit!
E) Using P320 grit, rub any area you touched with the P240 grit!

It may look like it but, no filler was used on this wheel below.

F) Using P400 grit, rub down the whole wheel including all the niggly
bits like stud holes, any area touched with P320 grit, etc.....

I also used a dremel with the sanding attachment to do stud hole to remove loose paint and smooth it down.

Now, wipe over the whole wheel with panel wipe to remove any dust and
oil and then use a tack cloth (sticky cloth) to remove any remaining
dust, also make sure you get in the stud holes with tack cloth. I wore
gloves from this point so the oils from my skin didnt get on wheel and
risk contaminating the new paint causing bubbling, etc.....

Clean all dust off work surface and cover it all in newspaper.

Your now ready to start spraying!


As you can see, i used 3 different primers to make sure i get good
coverage. First is etch primer, this "bites" in to bare metal to make it
stick good. Second is some normal primer, and the 3rd is spray putty,
its primer but hi-build and fills in any little marks left behind.

A) Use etch primer to cover any bits of bare metal, i just did the whole
wheel to make sure. Only do 1 good coat of this making sure you get in
stud holes, etc...

Was tempted to leave it like that, looks nice lol. As you can see, i have a halogen heater to help dry paint as its quite cold.

B) Give the wheel 3 good coats of filler/high build primer! It doesnt
matter too much if you get runs in the primer as you'll be flatting it
back anyway!
I used 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of the spray putty.


It is acually grey primer, not white like it looks like in photos.

Spray Putty

C) When the primer has dried (best to leave for 24hrs), spray on a very
light dust coat of cheap black spray paint and let it dry (known as a
guide coat)

D) With P400 grit paper sand the whole wheel until all of the black has gone leaving you with smooth, flat primer!


Well me and a mate got on with spraying the wheels today.

A) Wipe down the whole wheel with panel wipe!
B) Remember its always better to spray several light coats than 1-2 heavy coats which are likely to leave runs!
C) Start to spray around the rim, inside the spokes, inside stud holes first leaving the face until last!


As you can see, we cut out a cardboard piece so we didnt get overspray.
Just doing them with matt black inside so the silver doesnt show up.
Only did 1 coat and 1 coat of lacquer.


D) leave the first coat for a minute or so until it is sticky to touch.
DO NOT TOUCH THE PAINT! Everytime you do a coat spray some inside the
wheel (where the tyre goes) and touch that to find out when its sticky.
E) Same again rim, stud holes, inside spokes THEN face last
F) Keep doing this until your happy with the paint coverage as its hard
to judge how many coats to put on as it depends on the paint, how thick
you put it on etc but i recommend you do at least 3 coats!

Second Coat

Third Coat

Forth and Final Coat. As you can see there a colour difference as the
paint i was using first was crap as they were leaving loads of tiny dots
all over the wheels and it was like water. Even the lightest coat would
leave runs. They must have been old cans of paint so i brought some new
fresh cans to do top coat.

I rubbed down with P400 before applying final coat to remove runs and tiny dots.

Then i panel wiped it to remove dust and went over it with a tack cloth aswell to make sure. Now, final coat.

Looking good now. Now Lacquer time.

a) Do not panel wipe the wheels this time!!! and apply the lacquer about 30minutes after final coat of paint.
b) The first laquor coat should be VERY light as is it helps the
following coats to adheer! Remember to spray the rim, stud holes etc
first and leave the face until last!
c) Leave until laquor is sticky to touch. Again, DO NOT TOUCH THE
LACQUER! Everytime you do a coat spray some inside the wheel (where the
tyre goes) and touch that to find out when its sticky.
d) Same again but put a slightly thicker coat on this time!
e) You should be putting 3-4 coats of lacquer on!

First Coat In Front Of Heater

Second Coat

Third Coat

Forth and Final Coat

The lacquer is still wet and you need to leave them for at least a week
now to harden before doing anything else to them (e.g. polish, putting
tyres on)

Few Pictures in the sun. Still need a quick sand and polish yet though.

Popped a few wheel bolts in one to see what it looked like.

Tyres On, Wheels On Car!

Im very happy with them. They are a bit too dark but still need a quick
sand and polish which should brighten them up a little. But they

a) You will no doubt get bits of crap in your lacquer, which, unfortunately is unavoidable so...
b) Get some P2000 grit wet&dry and GENTLY rub away any specks in the
finish remembering to keep the paper wet!! you can also smooth out
small runs too but dont go crazy as you will rub through the laquor and
it'll be time to start over again! Also adding a little washing up
liquid helps.
c) You will now be able to see dull patches where you have been sanding!
d) Get some G3 cutting compound (from any motor factors) and polish the
whole wheel with it! Remember to keep the wheel very wet whilst using
the G3! never use it dry!
e) The G3 is basically t-cut but 10times as coarse! So just like t-cut
you need to polish the wheels with your normal car polish to protect the
f) Now put tyres on and admire your handy work. You can put tyres on
before or after polishing but just make sure lacquer is totally dry
though (about a week).

Keep Checking Back!

Last edited by Ash 306 on Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Guide: DIY Alloy Wheel Refurbishment   Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:24 am

Nice comprehensive guide, cheers for that!

Love the guide coat idea too, I never thought of that before

f3nrich wrote:
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PostSubject: Re: Guide: DIY Alloy Wheel Refurbishment   Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:40 am

one of the best guides ive ever seen on any forum... never thought of that spray putty idea before, never even heard of spray putty!!

quality finish on them too fella well done!
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PostSubject: Re: Guide: DIY Alloy Wheel Refurbishment   Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:29 am

thats a really good guide thanks for that Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Guide: DIY Alloy Wheel Refurbishment   Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:49 am

What actualy is the spray putty then? and whats it for?

f3nrich wrote:
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PostSubject: Re: Guide: DIY Alloy Wheel Refurbishment   Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:23 am

this guide il deffo be using for spraying my corsa alloysss thankuu ;D
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