The first step in the process is assessing your wheels to work out what will be the best route of repair to get your wheels back to their best. We prefer customers to drop in for this to discuss options for repair and colour choices. Setting our workshop up to specifically deal with alloy wheels of all types means there are several different routes we can take to get your wheels back to their best. Here are just some of the processes we undertake:
- Chemical Stripping
- Sand Blasting
- Aqua Blasting
- Wheel Welding
- Wheel Straightening
- Diamond Cutting
- Powder Coating
- Wet Painting
- Custom Colours
- Candy Lacquers
Everything we do is carried out in house which gives us complete control over quality and timescales for every repair.
Powder Coating Process
Chemical strip: We fully immerse your wheel in a specialist strip chemical specifically designed for alloy wheels until all previous paint has been removed.
Sand Blasting: We do this by hand to ensure all traces of previous paint has been removed and the wheel has been etched properly to ensure the new coating has a good bond.
Degassing: During this process your wheels will be heated to 200 degrees which allows the release of trapped gas within the wheel. This can cause bubbles to appear under a powdercoat finish to appear when the powder is being cured.
Powder Primer: This is quite a heavy coating which helps smooth all the minor imperfections on a wheel and forms a complete seal against all the elements.
The wheel is them baked in an oven to cure the primer coat
Colour Coat: We can use a further powder coat or alternatively a wet paint colour coat depending on you requirements.
The wheel is baked again to cure.
Powder Lacquer: this is a clear lacquer that gives the final finish, whether it be high gloss, matt or satin, we can do it all to suit your requirements.
The wheel is then baked for a final time to cure the lacquer coat.
Wet Painting Process
This is the more traditional route for refurbishing alloy wheels and is something that we do when the wheels only have lighter damage and no signs of corrosion.
After assessment for damage the tyre is removed, areas of remedial work are highlighted and repaired which can involve filing, sanding and filling the damaged area.
The wheel is then repainted in the original colour which ensures a perfect colour match.
The wheel is then painted with a clear lacquer coat to protect and give optimum finish.
Diamond Cut Wheel Repair Process
On many modern cars Diamond cut wheels are becoming more common, these are usually wheels that have a painted or coloured section along with what looks to be highly polished metal.
The process for repairing these wheels is fairly technical and requires the use of a CNC lathe and can only be carried out in a workshop with the correct equipment.
First off we remove the tyre and check the extent of the damage to the wheels. There are only a certain amount of times we can repair a diamond cut wheel as it involves taking a small amount of metal from the face of the wheel.
If the damage to the edge is fairly severe i.e. is several mm deep we may have to weld the edge of the wheel to build up the metal prior to recutting the face, this isn’t the normal as we only need to do this is in a small number of cases and is not a structural repair so there are no safety issues.
The wheel will be checked to make sure it is straight as we cannot cut a wheel that is buckled.
We then use an aqua blaster (water and abrasive) to remove any old and peeling lacquer and create a well etched surface for the final coat to adhere to.
The wheel is then put on the lathe to be probed, this is a sensor that runs along the face of the wheel plotting the exact profile of the wheel that is to be cut.
Taking this plotted profile we smooth it out using specialist software to ensure that any minor imperfections are taken care of prior to cutting the wheel.
Finally we get to cutting the face of the wheel, this part of the process can take a couple of hours if it is a complex wheel to deal with as we tend to cut at low speeds to ensure the best finish possible. On a normal diamond cut wheel with edge damage and moderate corrosion we will usually take less than 1mm from the face of the wheel going down in segments of 0.1mm, it sounds like nothing at all but we you would be amazed the difference 0.1mm makes the the finish of a machined face!
After a final cut the wheel is cleaned and prepared for a final lacquer coat. We only use lacquer designed specifically for diamond cut faces in this process to ensure longevity and a high standard of finish.
There are several things that govern whether a diamond cut wheel can be repaired:
- Design of the wheel, manufacturers are making it more difficult for us to repair wheels by etching branding into wheels or maybe leaving only a couple of mm of clearance between the diamond cut face and the main body of the wheel. Which means that you have less metal available to cut before you change the profile of the face of the wheel.
- Has it been repaired before? If a wheel has been previously cut it means there will be less metal to work with when it comes to cutting the damage from the face. We check every wheel that comes in the door for signs of being previously refurbished and approach the repair according to our findings.
- Extent of damage, again this is in relation to the face, if there is a large part of damage we sometimes have to wled that section of the wheel to build up the metal in the area prior to recutting the face. We will only do this if it is safe to do so and will not affect the structural integrity of the wheel.
- Badly buckled wheel! We have the equipment to straighten wheels in house and it is pretty amazing what can be done but we will only repair damage that is safe to do so.