Are there any limitations to what can be refurbished?
You should always be mindful that we are performing a refurbishment, not manufacturing a brand new wheel, and so there are limits to what can be achieved. The vast majority of wheels can be successfully refurbished to a high standard and we consistently get excellent feedback from our customers about what we achieve.
However, there are situations where refurbishment is possible but will not bring a wheel back close to its original appearance, or in some cases refurbishment cannot be performed at all. In this section we explain typical issues which limit what can and cannot be refurbished (and may also affect the final appearance).
The general guideline is that the underlying quality of the alloy wheel that we receive determines how successful we will be in returning a wheel back close to its original factory finish. Any significant flaws in the wheel will inevitably limit how good the refurbishment will be. Unfortunately it is sometimes not possible to determine this until the wheel has been through the chemical stripping process and the bare metal of the wheel is visible for detailed inspection by our technicians.
As a rule of thumb if you have older wheels, excessively corroded wheels or previously welded wheels then it may not be possible for us to achieve a finish just like its original appearance when it first left the factory. Similarly some aftermarket wheels present challenges as wheels from different manufacturers can vary significantly depending on how they were originally cast in the foundry. Wheels may be too brittle or may have too soft an alloy composition which leads to problems when they are being refurbished. These need to be dealt with on a case by case basis and we generally cannot tell you in advance if there are likely to be problems.
As you would expect, there are situations where a wheel may be beyond repair and it would be unsafe to use even if we attempted to repair it. In these cases we would inform you that we cannot proceed.
Diamond Cut Wheels
Number of diamond cuts: There are also limitations on how many times a wheel can be diamond cut. This is because each time a wheel goes through the diamond cutting process the cutting head on the lathe removes a thin layer of metal from the face of the wheel. In these instances we will let you know if this is likely to be a problem and you could opt for an American nickel chrome paint finish instead which many customers have found to be a good alternative, or choose a different paint finish altogether.
Edge de-burring: During the diamond cutting process the wheel spins at high speed on the lathe. The diamond tipped tool which actually cuts the thin layer of metal from the wheel gradually moves towards the face of the wheel. Since the wheel is spinning this means that the tool initially impacts the leading edge of the spoke and then cuts across the surface of the wheel, leaving the spoke on the trailing edge. This cutting process leads to the creation of a ragged (and usually sharp) edge on each spoke. Our technicians then perform edge deburring to create a smooth and tidy edge, which will also result in a more durable finish for the wheel.
Mapping lines: Sometimes a lightly coloured line, known as a ‘mapping line’, will be visible on the edge of the spokes on the face of the wheel after it has been diamond cut. This is a consequence of the diamond cutting process removing very small amounts of metal from the face of the wheel and exposing the underlying primer. Whether mapping lines will be present depends on the profile of the wheel and the number of times that the wheel has been diamond cut previously (which can accentuate the appearance of mapping lines). Our highly skilled technicians aim to minimise the extent of these mapping lines but we cannot be sure in advance how visible the mapping lines will appear on the finished wheel.
Low patterns: If the area of the wheel to be diamond cut (the ‘pattern’) is low or uneven, perhaps through deliberate design on the part of the wheel manufacturer or having been diamond cut previously then the center cap and/or any badge details will usually sit proud from the wheel. This is an unavoidable consequence of a low pattern when performing a refurbishment.
No lacquer: With refurbishments that will require the diamond cutting of older wheels or wheels with excessive corrosion or poor quality casting we may suggest that you to choose not to lacquer the wheel to achieve the best appearance. While this should result in the wheel finish looking better you need to be aware that it also comes with the disadvantages of the wheel not having the protective coating that lacquering provides and the need for more ongoing cleaning, care and maintenance of the wheel than would otherwise be required.
Lathe clamp marks: Due to the high forces that are encountered during the diamond cutting process each wheel is securely held in the lathe using a clamping mechanism (the ‘lathe jaws’). This enables the wheel to spin at high speed while being cut at the same time. The result is that there will usually be clamp marks visible on the back section of the wheel where the lathe jaws were holding the wheel. It is not possible to diamond cut a wheel without clamping a wheel in this way.
The way in which steel wheels are manufactured often requires seams to be created as part of the process of forming the wheel. Please be aware that this can result in a bubbling effect around the area of any seams.
Text/Lettering/Detail On Wheels
Sometimes wheels have fine details in the form of text or patterns which are either raised above the surface or inset into the surface of the wheel. Please be aware that the text/patterns may be lost during the refurbishment process due to primer/paint coverage since these fine details are often in the region of a millimetre high (or deep) and it is not feasible to prevent primer/paint from obscuring these fine details. Magnesium wheels regularly require additional paint coverage during the refurbishment process due to the nature of the magnesium surface and are often affected by this issue.
Metal Valves & Tyre Pressure Sensors
If a wheel has a metal valve and/or a tyre pressure sensor then whilst we are generally able to remove and refit them (if they are not damaged or corroded), if they need re-mapping or re-programming then we are not equipped to do this and you will need to get this done by a specialist or your dealer.
Cleaning Refurbished Wheels
Cleaning your refurbished wheels is simple, just use the tried and tested method of hot soapy water and non abrasive cloths. Do NOT use high pH (acidic) cleaners or products such as truck washes since these may affect the finish and invalidate your warranty. It is important to remember these instructions when you visit a car wash service since you will not know what products they are actually using when washing your car and wheels.