Protect Your Alloys
Not much looks better than perfect rims. Here’s how to keep them in top shape, or restore them if needed.
Anyone who’s been driving (and parking) for long enough has heard that horrible scraping noise as our wheel encounters a curb. It is said that there are two types of drivers, those who have curbed their wheels, and those who have not yet curbed their wheels.
Most damage to alloys comes from hitting a curb while parallel parking, being a little too enthusiastic about hitting the apex of a corner, or hitting a deep pothole that scrapes the sides of your wheels. Superficial damage can be repaired quickly and with amazing results – check out our page on rim repair to learn how it’s done. More serious damage will require replacing the wheel, which can be expensive, so it’s in your best interest to take care while parking.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your wheels in tip top shape:
Change Your Driving Style
If you have expensive alloys, it’s worth practicing your parallel parking. Find a big empty parking lot and practice away from a curb – use paint lines to assess your accuracy. You can even set up a camera along the lines and review the footage to see how you’re doing.
When taking corners, do your best to avoid cutting the corner too close and curbing your rims. Instinct can interfere with proper cornering when driving too fast, so make sure to slow to an appropriate speed before taking any corners.
Of course, no matter how careful we are, sometimes things are beyond our control. Maybe you encounter an unavoidable pothole, or have to swerve to avoid a bad driver. You could be the world’s best driver, and curbs will still jump out at you.
Use Rim Protectors
Rim protectors are nylon strips that attach to the wheel near the tire. These strips act as a sacrificial barrier that will take the brunt of the damage upon an encounter with a curb or pothole.
Overall, rim protectors do a good job at what they are intended to do. Protectors that require deflating the tire so they can attach along the edge of the rim typically offer longer lasting protection than protectors that merely stick on.
Rim protectors are offered in discreet colours to match the colour of your wheels, or you can opt to match your paint work or add a bright flare.
Wheels get especially dirty for two reasons: their proximity to the ground and brake dust. Brake dust is a combination of friction metal from brake pads and iron from the rotors – it is nasty stuff and difficult to remove, as it embeds itself into everything.
As wheels are so notoriously difficult to clean, manufacturers make special wheel cleaning compounds. Some of these are great, but others needed to be treated with caution. If your wheel cleaner advises you to wash it off within a few minutes, that most likely means you are dealing with an acid based solution. If left on for too long, the acid will eat through the clear coat that protects your alloys. These cleaners are harsh, and we don’t recommend their use.
Professional detailers are experienced at getting rid of brake dust and have tools and products that are both effective at removing brake dust and also safe to use on your vehicle. The best practice is to use a product that is not acid based, or simply bring your vehicle to your local detailer.
Too Late? No Problem
If you’re reading this article and wishing you had seen it a few days or weeks ago, no worries. Rim damage happens to everyone and in the majority of cases, it is a simple fix for pro shops – check out our rim repair right here, or just get in touch to set up an appointment.