There are many processes we undertake in order to get your wheels looking great again. Below is a step by step guide for a typical diamond cut refurb going through the workshop.
➤ Stage one, is inspection and wheel removal. If you look closely at the picture there is evidence of kerbing on the outer edge and delamination on the clear coat towards the centre of the wheel.
➤ Stage two is tyre removal and wheel inspection, we check the tyres for signs of damage and ensure the wheels are free from cracks, old balance weights removed and wheels are running true prior to the wheels being processed further.
➤ Stage three is chemical stripping, the wheels are immersed in an alkaline bath at 65 degrees to remove all existing paint. This process typically takes around 8 – 12 hours depending on the wheel and how long the paint has been on there. German manufactured wheels tend to take longer with Japanese wheels being far quicker, it doesn’t mean to say one is better than the other, they just use slightly different products for their coatings. The wheels are removed from the tank and the solution on the wheels is neutralised before being pressure washed.
➤ Stage four is sandblasting, this is an important stage in the process as the wheels need to be keyed correctly to ensure the first coating adheres to the substrate properly. We use stainless steel shot and automatic blasting equipment to get this part of the process right. Some companies use chilled iron for this which can cause corrosion issues 12 to 18 months after a wheel refurb has been completed. If you are price shopping with other refurb companies it is worth checking this if you don’t want problems down the line.
➤ Stage five base coat, this is a base coat which is typically a polyester wheel specific powder coat. We only use German products on our wheels as we believe they are the best quality on the market. The base colour mostly used here are either black of light grey, the choice is governed by the wet paint coat colour.
➤ Stage six colour coat, this is usually a wet paint coat. The reason we use wet paint is, wheel manufacturers use it in the OEM production process, it ensures a close colour match and a vibrant finish. The wheel pictured is a Mercedes specific colour where we were only refurbing 1 wheel, the colour match was spot on!
➤ Stage seven Diamond cutting. Many wheels have a diamond cut finish now, noticeable when the wheel has a bright silver face with different colour spokes. We use a CNC lathe to skim the face of the wheel cutting the paint and metal off to the point where any previous damage has been cut out. We typically take about 0.2mm of metal off with each pass with most wheels will be done in 3 or 4 passes. We were the first company in Devon to offer diamond cutting in house and currently run 2 lathes in order to keep up with demand although number 3 is in the pipeline!
➤ Stage eight Clear coat, this is the final coating in the refurb process. We use an acrylic clear powder coat, again German manufactured and as specified during the OEM process for wheel producers. It gives unrivalled clarity and the best protection available. The downside is the cost, there are less expensive products available but this would compromise on quality and not give the finish we pride ourselves on.
➤ Stage nine refitting tyre, setting the correct pressure, refit wheel and torque wheel nuts. Now it is time to come and collect your freshly refurbished wheel!
As you can see there are many aspects to getting a high quality refurb carried out on your wheels. As such we normally need your wheels or vehicle for 3 days to complete the work. Generally we are 2 to 3 weeks in advance for bookings however there are some seasonal fluctuations that can affect this. It’s always better to give us notice if you have specific dates in mind.
We have invested heavily in our systems and processes over the past 3 years to firstly get our quality to a level where we are 100% happy with the finished product. Secondly to increase the volume through the workshop to keep up with demand from our customers. We have recently installed an online powder coating plant which has given us a maximum capacity of 70 wheels per day.