CAN YOU REPAIR ALLOYS YOURSELF?OR WILL IT END IN DISASTER?
DIY Alloy Repair Kits
DIY alloy repair kits are readily available and look like a cheap alternative to visiting a professional. We’re asking what’s included in these kits, how much work is it, and is it a good idea?
What’s in the kit?
Most of these kits contain:
- Application tools (brushes, wipes and sponges)
The contents of the kit depends on where you bought the kit from, it could contain a few different grades of sandpaper and might not contain the lacquer. It should also have detailed instructions.
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How much work is it?
This depends on how good you want the alloys to look. If you don’t put the effort in the finished result may look worse than when you started. The finished result will always look better if you take the wheels off the car, as the paint will get a more even coat if the wheel is laid flat on a surface. Taking wheels off the car can be trickier than it sounds, if the nuts are very tight you will need help to achieve this. Before you attempt to remove the wheels you need to have the car safely parked off the road and not on an incline. Unless you have the right tools to insure your car is jacked up safely you could do a lot of damage.
The first thing to do is clean the wheel with warm soapy water. It has to be completely clean before you start to repair any damage. Next you need to sand the damaged areas down, this needs to be done thoroughly to smooth the damage out, you may need to use a rough grade followed by a fine grade of sandpaper to make it really smooth.
After you’ve washed the wheel again and made sure it’s completely dry it will need to be filled. The filler will dry very quickly, especially in warm weather so you might need to mix several small batches. When the filler is dry you need to sand it to make the repaired area blend in. This has to be done carefully, so you will need to take your time.
Clean and dry the wheel again before masking off the area to be ready to paint. If you have primer this is when you apply it. You need to make sure your paint is an exact match, otherwise you might be highlighting the repair. When you apply the paint do this in several thin layers, to ensure the best finish. Each coat needs to dry before you add the next, thick coats are more likely to run.
After the paint you need to apply at least two thin layers of lacquer to protect the finish. Then of course you have to put the wheel back on the car, making sure it’s safely tightened. You won’t be able to ensure the wheel is well balanced so it is a good idea to take it to a garage to ensure the wheels are all balanced and you can drive safely.
This process will take several hours, it’s a lot of work, and if you haven’t got the right paint it might not look any better than before you started. A bad repair is worse than no repair, especially if you’re thinking of selling the car. Potential buyers will be put off if they notice a bad DIY fix, as they may wonder what else has been badly repaired.
Is it a good idea?
If you have a lot of time on your hands and the repair is very small a DIY kit has its place. It’s worth keeping in mind that if your wheels have been badly kurbed they may have been damaged. You won’t notice this damage or a badly balanced wheel, so it might be dangerous to attempt a self repair.
When we repair and refurb alloy wheels we ensure they are structurally sound and well balanced when they are returned to your car. You aren’t saving money if you put a damaged wheel back on your car and it causes an accident later on. I would always trust the safety of your vehicle to the professionals. On top of this you will never get your wheels looking like new again with a DIY kit, the finish may be lumpy or the paint might not be a complete match. Our refurbs always look like new, so if you care about how your car looks get a good refurb from us!
“Absolutely brilliant. My alloys were looking tired and after too many minor DIY touch ups on scuffs (past owners), I just wanted new looking alloys again. A fresh start, and I certainly have that now, they look perfect! Kevin was fantastic, easy to deal with and I would highly recommend.”