Jan
14

Step Away From the Rim Repair Kit, and Call a Professional

Author // NPR Car Talk
Posted in // Autobody repair, Rim refinishing, Rim straightening

Rim painting

Rim straightening, repair, and painting can appear to be simple DIY projects on the surface. After all, kits are widely available that give you all the tools and instructions that you need to fix those scratches, or put a new glossy black finish on your wheels, right? Well, there are also kits for making cheese and brewing your own beer, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who picks up a kit will be able to successfully pull off those products. While a failed cheese-making experiment might end in an unsettled stomach, a failed rim repair or paint job might end up costing you a lot of time and money to have the mistakes rectified. Here are just a few of the hidden hazards in those DIY rim repair and painting kits.

Rim Repair Kits

It’s important to know that the standard rim repair won’t actually lead to rim straightening, not if there is a significant gap between your wheel rim and your tire. However, if you need some mild rim refinishing, you could choose a kit. There are several disadvantages to this plan, though. When you use a kit to fix scratches, dents, and damage on your wheel rims, you are typically limited to making repairs to alloy wheels, which are compatible with the fast-curing repair material. If you have wheel rims that are made of a different material, or that are painted a special color, then you might have a little bit of difficulty finding what you need, and you may need to have the rims re-painted after you make the repair. For the investment of time and money that will be required to use a kit correctly, you are better off contacting a specialist.

Rim Painting Kits

If you choose to try a rim painting kit, you will need to remove the wheel and the tire from the rim, sand down the rim, thin existing paint, prime it, paint it, clear coat it, and put it all back together again. Unless, that is, you take a calculated risk and you paint the rim while it’s still on the tire, or still on the car. However, doing so might result in paint on your tires or on the body of your car where it will be difficult and potentially costly to remove. Rim painting is another example of a DIY project that is less of a headache and a burden on your wallet when it’s left to the professionals.

Rim mounting and balancing is on a whole other level, and while not available in kit form, the process is sometimes described online for DIY enthusiasts. Rim straightening is also not an ideal DIY project, since it would require removal of your tire, a homemade mounting system, and the use of a blowtorch and a jack to bend a rim back into shape. For the sake of your car’s safety, and the overall appearance of the tires, rim repair is one potential DIY that’s best left to someone else.

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