A shiny set of chrome wheels will turn heads on the street, but it comes with a drawback: chrome rims are difficult and expensive to repair. Unfortunately, because chrome rims are plated rather than painted, repairs are expensive and complex. Often times, it’s cheaper to replace a damaged chrome rim than it is to try and refinish and re-plate it.
Still, if you have a chrome rim that’s been curbed, there are some things you can try.
1. Use a Chrome Wheel Repair Kit
There is such a thing as a chrome wheel repair kit, but fundamentally it doesn’t ‘repair’ anything. Instead, chrome wheel repair kits simply help you smooth out minor damage and apply paint.
These kits are relatively affordable ($50-75), and if the damage is really minor, a little bit of chrome paint can work. Just be sure to follow the instructions, and don’t be surprised if the fix looks it was only $50.
NOTE: There are generic “wheel rim repair kits” that say they work on chrome wheels…don’t buy these kits for a chrome wheel. Instead, get a kit that’s specifically for chrome rims, or just buy the chrome paint and other pieces one at a time.
2. Refinish With Epoxy and Apply Chrome Paint
The process goes like this:
- Fill all the scratches and holes with hard epoxy resin.
- Buff the hardened epoxy to smooth it out with the rest of the rim.
- Sand the epoxy with fine-grade sandpaper or steel wool to make it gritty enough to cling to the spray paint.
- Spray the entire rim with chrome spray paint.
- Buff the rim with a buffer or a soft buffing cloth.
This solution works on all levels of damage. Still, this is a job best suited for an experienced person. Epoxy resin can be a messy disaster to work with, and the end result may not be as smooth as expected.
3. Sandblast The Chrome Away and Paint the Wheel Underneath
This solution is viable only if you’re OK with giving up the chrome look.
By doing this, you’ll:
- Save a lot of money
- Give your rims a new life
- Change the look of your car without having to buy new rims
Chrome rims are plated over alloy wheels. Sandblasting the entire rim will remove all the chrome plating and expose the alloy wheel underneath. You then may coat the alloy wheels with powder coating (or any other type of paint you’d like).
If you want to remove the entire chrome plating and still keep the chrome look, leave it to a professional. The re-chroming process involves stripping the rim and then re-plating it with copper, zinc, and chrome.
FYI, you may end up paying more for re-plating than you would buying a new wheel.
The chrome refinishing process produces some toxic waste, so you’ll have to find a professional to re-chrome your rims. You might even need to mail your rims to another state to have it done. The costs may add up quickly.
5. Replace the Rim
Unless you’re trying to preserve a rim for some reason, replacement is probably your best option. Most of the other options either cost more or look worse.
Or, Cover Up The Damage With RimBlades
If replacing a damaged chrome rim is out of the question, and the repair options are all either too expensive or not satisfactory, we have another option for you: Apply RimBlades (or RIMSavers) to your chrome wheels. This will cover up most types of curb rash and give your vehicle a nice look.
Additionally, RimBlades prevent further damage. Win-win.