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topic 10772

Refinishing of Aluminum Rims

An ongoing discussion from 2001 through 2015 . . .


Q. I am looking for an automotive RIM Re-Sealer to have 4 raw and clean Aluminum rims for sealing (clear coat). Any input would be appreciated.


Valter B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Bergen County, New Jersey


Q. I have a stock set of aluminum wheels that have oxidized and caused the clear coat to bubble and crack. They have also turned white in these spots. Normally I would replace these wheels but they are stock super sport wheels and I am restoring this car to original condition. I have tried cleaners and different polishes but it seems that I am making them worse than what they are. Please help me,this is very important to me.


Tim P [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
maintenance - Morocco, Indiana


A. When the factory clear coat on aluminum rims, in time the clear will dull and crack, becoming opaque. This was the case with my '89 Bronco II. I used some Aircraft stripper [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. It comes in aerosol or you can just paint it on. Put the paint remover on the surface and let it sit 10 to 15 minutes. The clear coat will crack and bubble off of the surface, allowing it to be scraped off with a plastic spatula (so as to not damage the metal surface). It will most likely take more than one application to strip all of the clear, but once it's gone, a beautiful finish is revealed. you can then polish the rims, and re-clear coat

Jeff Watson
automotive restoration - Bonaire, Georgia


A. Aluminum rims can be refinished by sanding with 400 wet sandpaper then move to 600 then 1000 then 1500 after this has been done and the old clear coat is for sure gone your rims will start looking better however you will see very fine scratches take a buffer and use a medium duty rubbing compound then finish buffing with Perfect-It II [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] rubbing compound from 3M (I had good luck this way) then use the Mothers Power Ball [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and a good polish finish off by clear coating with POR-15 Glisten [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] (apply a few coats) and the rims should look good as new.

Lawrence William R
Army maint - Fort Riley, Kansas


Q. My question is for Tim P.
Tim, it sounds like your rims have oxidized the same as mine and I was wondering if you had any luck with any of the suggestions to restore the finish on your rims. It sure would help to know if I should proceed with one of the suggestions.

Ray Colbow
- Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada

May 12, 2010

Dremel Clean & Polish Tools

Q. Is there anything that can be used that is a smaller tool than the Mothers' polishing ball? I have American Racing wheels and the polisher does not get into the grooves.

Brooke c [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- poulsbo, Washington, USA

December 2015

A. Hi Brooke. Probably not to fit a full-size buffer or a power drill, but Dremel tools come as tiny as you could want.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 27, 2015

Q. I have a 1987 Iroc Z28; the wheels are looking bad, was wondering if anyone has an idea on how to bring them back to the new condition!

- deatsville, Alabama, US

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