A wheel’s protruding edge (a/k/a rim) are especially vulnerable to damage when parking or making tight turns. Damage can happen when:
- accidentally hitting a curb when making a tight turn
- attempting to avoid a collision by swerving out of the way and sideswiping a curb,
- when parallel parking (more about that here)
If you want to avoid that wheel damage, here are some tips for keeping your rims in good condition.
Be Extra Careful When Parallel Parking
Few things can be more frustrating than attempting to parallel park and hitting a curb. It can cost you $200 or more on repairs!
Many people who aren’t used to parallel parking will hit the curb when backing into a space. If you haven’t mastered the art of parallel parking, practice in an empty parking lot with wide open spaces until you get that confidence.
Winterize Your Wheels
Winter is tough on wheels. Slippery ice-covered roads can cause your car to slide into a curb. Winter tires have better grip and can prevent that slide. Steel rims are more ideal for winter, too. Steel rims are cheaper and heavier than alloy wheels, but they aren’t as attractive.
Another factor that contributes to rim damage during the winter months is road salt. Mixed with melting ice and snow, salt becomes salt water, which eats away at your wheels. Chrome-plated wheels are particularly at risk. It’s important to wash your car frequently during winter months.
Install Wheel Rim Protectors
One of the best ways to keep your vehicle’s rims protected from curb rash is to install wheel rim protectors. Rim protectors are a great product to keep rims safe from damage while also complementing your car’s overall look.
These products are an easy DIY project, and take little time to install. They’re available in many different colors (like these) to match the look of your vehicle, and can appear as more of a superficial accessory instead of a simple protective measure.
Another benefit of wheel rim protectors is the fact that car owners can easily detach them whenever they need to, whether to clean the protector or the wheel, or to change the wheel and tire. Car owners can then reattach them as easily when they want to use them again.
How To Fix Curb Rash On Wheels
Once your wheels have experienced curb rash damage, the steps you take to fix them will depend on the type of rim materials.
For instance, your aluminum wheels may have a clear protective coating. If you’re unsure whether it has one or not, test the damaged area with a piece of sandpaper. If the resulting dust is white instead of gray, this reveals a clear coating that you will have to remove before getting to the actual curb rash.
You’ll need to remove clear coat all the way around the rim, buff the wheel with sandpaper, and once the white dust has turned to gray, you’ll know the coat is gone. Once you have removed the clear coating, you can refine the surface by gently yet thoroughly sanding the damaged aluminum, wet-sanding it, wiping it, and then drying it before applying aluminum polish.
Different materials will have different requirements, and while you can save money by performing the repairs yourself, you may benefit from having professionals repair your wheels.
What Prevents Car Rim Scuffs?
Apart from curb rash, there are other factors that can cause damage to your wheels. Taking these precautionary steps.
First, make sure you only use appropriate cleaning materials when washing your wheels. Steel wool is most wheels’ worst enemy, resulting in unintentional removal of the clear coating.
Acid is another potential cause of harm to many types of wheels, and many wheel cleaners contain it. Acid is great for removing brake dust, but it can also wear away your wheels’ clear coating over time. If wheel cleaner fluid instructs you to rinse it off within five minutes is likely acid-based.
Full-service car washes also to use acid-based cleaners. Ask the staff at your local carwash or just plan to wash your car yourself.
These are some of the many ways you can keep your wheels protected from rim damage. For more information about how rim protectors can help protect your wheels, shop our products here.