Customized rims are a quick way to improve the appearance of a vehicle and protect the rims from rust and corrosion – a real risk in some industries and driving conditions. Unlike paint, which is applied wet to the surface of the rims and allowed to dry – which also allows it to be scratched off – powder coating is bonded to the metal. The dry coating particles are melted and then applied to the rims where they bond with the help of an electrostatic charge. They are then allowed to cure, or harden, into a strong, durable, and scratch resistant finish, but they still need proper maintenance. The following guide will help you properly care for your powder coated rims.
Know the troublemakers
The main enemy of the rims is brake dust. It has the ability to actually eat through the powder coating over time, which can lead to damaged spots on the finish. Chemicals in road grime can pose a problem as well, such as road salt and ice melting chemicals. It only takes a small flaw in the powder coating for corrosion or rust to get started.
Basic cleaning method
You need a few tools to keep your wheels clean:
Tire and wheel cleaner
A couple of microfiber towels
Step 1: Rinse the wheels before you get to the nitty gritty of cleaning. Trying to wipe off dry wheels just rubs grit over the powder coating, increasing the chances of a scratch. Remember, powder coating is scratch-resistant, not scratch-proof.
Step 2: Apply the tire and wheel cleaner to the wheels, really working into into the openings where dust and grime collect. Most cleaners come with a spray applicator, making it easy to get into hard-to-reach places. Although you can use simple soap and water, it may not break down the dust and chemicals as well.
Step 3: Scrub any hard-to-clean areas with the microfiber towel. Microfiber is soft, so it won't damage the coating. Once clean, rinse off the cleaner and wipe dry with a clean towel.
Step 4: Now it's time to apply the polish. Although you can skip this step, keep in mind that polish provides a protective barrier between your wheels and grime. Use the applicator in the bottle or a clean towel to rub the polish on. Let it sit for 10 minutes, or the length of time recommended on the label, and then wipe it off. Your wheels are now protected and ready to go.
How often you deep clean your wheels depends on how quickly they get dirty. A basic rule of thumb is to clean and polish the wheels each time you wash your car or whenever you notice grime building up on the wheels. If you do notice a scratch or a bit of corrosion forming on the powder coating, contact a paint manufacturing shop. Although tough and durable, sometimes the coating needs to be touched up so damage doesn't spread.
For more information, contact a company like AFI Powder Coating Inc.