Alloy Wheel Refurbishment

12th August 2017

All four of the 16 inch 'Toronto' alloy wheels fitted as standard to my 2013 Volkswagen Golf SE were marked when I purchased the 3 year old car back in July 2016. They didn't look like they had been scuffed against kerbs. Turns out it was down to the type of wheel finish.

Diamond Cut Finish

The alloy wheels had what's called a "diamond cut" finish. Basically the profile of the wheel is refined after manufacture on a lathe. This facilitates sharper edges which are currently deemed more desirable. The refined surface is then protected with a clear lacquer.

Unfortunately, the problem with this type of finish is that the protective lacquer can easily be compromised (for example by a stone chip). Water can then get behind the lacquer, goes mouldy, and causes the "white worming" marks my wheels had. (This white worming is also common on the VW wheel hub covers and was a common problem on the VW emblem of older Golfs. Fortunately my Mk 7 doesn't have any of these problems but my Mk 5 did.)

marked alloy wheel marked alloy wheel marked alloy wheel marked alloy wheel
All four marked alloy wheels. Click on a photo to expand.

Refurbishment

I lived with the state of my car's wheels for about a year and then decided they were letting the appearance of the whole car down. I did a bit of research into getting them refurbished and found a respectable looking engineering company close to home. I arranged for them to take a look.

I initially told them that I wanted the wheels to be put back to "as new" condition but they advised against it. They said if Volkswagen could not finish the wheels so that they lasted more than a few years, what were the chances that anyone else could? Seemed like a fair point. Instead they recommended that they strip, bead blast and powder coat them. They would look almost identical and were willing to guarantee their work for life! I couldn't ask for more than that so let them do it. They only had my car for one day and I am very happy with the results.

Alloy wheel after refurbishment Alloy wheel after refurbishment
Two of my car's alloy wheels after refurbishment. Click on a photo to expand.

The cost was £65/wheel + VAT. Some places quoted lower but then had extra charges for taking the wheels off the car, the tyres off the wheel etc.

Before and after comparison
Before and after, side-by-side comparison. Click on photo to expand.

NOTE: The photos of the refurbished wheels were taken without the wheels being washed beforehand. Any marks you may be able to see are just bits of dirt. The actual finish is perfectly smooth and flawless.

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