Refurbishing alloys - Roger Jones
I've just visited an alloy-wheel refurbisher and have a reasonable estimate for sprucing up the wheels on my MB E320 Coupé -- £52.50 + VAT per wheel. They advised me that a painted finish would be far more durable than simply redoing the lacquer-on-bare-metal original finish; there's no extra cost and only a slight difference in appearance. Any opinions on this?

Struck by an apparently rapid recent deteterioration, I discussed the present imperfections of the wheels and it was suggested that, apart from kerbing, one of the main sources of erosion is tyre fitters using air-driven wheelnut removers, which not only cause damage by knocking the edges of the nut recesses but also because the air can actually get in under the lacquer coat. Yup, I had two tyres replaced recently, with front and rear switched. Next time I think I'll take photographs of the wheels before the job is done.
Refurbishing alloys - MikeyM
hmmm... far more durable, perhaps. Particularly if the coating is an oven baked powder coating. However, there is a fair difference in appearance. I have had several sets of alloy wheels painted or powder coated and although it certainly smartens up the appearance, they never look the same as clear lacquered polished alloy. If you dont mind a painted finish, then I would recommend blasting and powder coating. My Range Rover wheels were a real mess and after this treatment they looked brand new. Very durable too. They still look new 2 years later. I paid about £35+vat per wheel for this (I live near Leeds/Bradford). When I subjected my BMW 850 wheels to the same treatment, they looked smart but, in my opinion, it spoilt the general dramatic effect of lacquered polished bare alloy. Depends how fussy you are about the look, I guess.

On the subject of deterioration, clumsy use of air guns can certainly take the edges off any coating and thus leave an area for potential ingress of moisture. I doubt there would ever be a problem with air from the guns getting under the coating. Deterioration is usually due to kerbing, stone chips and other such damage to the coating allowing the lethal mixture of moisture and corrosive brake dust to eat away and creep under any protective layer. Once this starts, deterioration is frighteningly rapid. Brake dust and salt are the real killers. Its worth noting that in the days when I ran a classic and sports car specialists, I used impact sockets with a rubber outer coating, thus ensuring no possible damage to the wheels. Such things are certainly available and they weren't much more expensive.
Refurbishing alloys - Andrew-T
Another common cause of deterioration is clipping on rim balance weights. Some cars even come from the factory like this.
Refurbishing alloys - Ben79
Are you recommending to remove the clip on weights Citroen fitted, get the scuffs removed that the last owner left, refurb the wheel and get stuck on weights fitted?

On my 3rd Citroen. Saxo, Xsara, C5.
Refurbishing alloys - Andrew-T
Ben - I wasn\'t really recommending anything, just saying that my own alloys have suffered mainly from kerbing and corrosion starting where there have been clip-on weights. And that can lead to slow leaks round the bead which are a nuisance. It seems poor to me that a car can leave the factory with rim weights fitted (unless alloys are put on at dealers\').
Refurbishing alloys - Gen
It seems to me the kerbing problem is due to ever increasing alloy sizes. Cars that ten years ago would have had 13" wheels now run on 15". The old alloys lasted longer because there was more tyre so to speak, so kerb tyre not alloy.
Refurbishing alloys - Pugugly {P}
Guy in work has just had the wheels on his SWMBO's Golf done. It is a high mileage neglected M plate with alloys. They have come up a treat 25 per corner. Powderblasted and baked.
Refurbishing alloys - Roger Jones

What locality? Can you name the refurbishing shop? That price is well below anything I've found so far.

Thanks to all for the responses.
Refurbishing alloys - Peter D
I have in the past used both coating methods. For the price you are paying they should be power coat and baked which if by far the best solution. Paint and a lacquer coat is Ok but is not as tough and prone to attack when refitting the tyres and post fitting regular cleaning. Shop around a bit to fine a good bead blaster and Power Coat shop. Knock on weights are a no no and a good tyre shop will still balance on the inner and outer, well 70% outer is required to fix a problem balance. There are also outer curved stick on weights if really required. Regards Peter


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