Car Rim Repair - Buffing a Scratch

clean and repair car rim scratches
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Soft cloth
Grit sandpaper
Metal polish

There are many do-it-yourself techniques for car rim repair because car rims come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. For many car enthusiasts, the car rim provides a mechanism for self-expression. If you are tired of the regular in-store stocked car rims, go to a rim specialist and have custom rims made for your car. If your custom or standard rims become dirty or scratched, here is a great step-by-step process anyone can do to buff the scratch and restore the rims to new or nearly new condition.

Step 1 — Clean Your Car and Wheels

Take your car out of the garage and either bring it to a car wash or wash it yourself. If you are washing your car yourself, make sure your car is completely cleaned from top to bottom and dried thoroughly. Try using a self-serve car wash to get the best results.

As you wash and dry, pay special attention to the wheels and rims of your car. Take out a soft cloth and wipe the car rims fully dry. Dispose of the cloth.

Step 2 — Apply a Solvent

In order to fully remove the dirt from the interior of the scratch, use a light solvent. Take a soft cloth or a car rag and apply a little solvent to the tire rim scratch. Work the solvent into the scratch well. Rinse with water. Dry completely with another clean cloth.

Step 3 — Buff with Sandpaper

This step should only be used if your rims are not coated with a material such as chrome.This step should also be avoided if the car rims have been coated through an anodizing process.

Buff the scratch using fine grit sand paper. Start with a 400 to 800 grit material. Apply pressure to the scratch and buff it out using the sand paper. If the scratch still is visible, use a higher grit material. You can use up to about a 2000 grit sand paper for this project. The sand paper will leave some fine scratches. Proceed to the next step.

Coated or Anondized Rims

If your car has coated rims, or rims that have been anondized, polish the scratches with a very fine paper (wet and dry paper) rather than with a harsher sand paper. Use a liquid polish and with a soft cloth, work into the scratch until they have disappeared and left a shiny appearance.

Step 4 — Apply a Polish

With another soft cloth, apply metal polish to your rim. Rub in well. Work on the fine scratches you just created to fill them in with the polish. This will make them shine like new

Step 5 — Apply a Sealant

For a long-lasting wheel rim repair, apply a clear sealant. The clear sealant or clear coat helps protect the rims and will give them a striking appearance. Additionally, it will make the rims easier to clean and maintain.