AL-STRIP W paint stripper without dichloromethane for alloy wheel refurbishers paint stripper for alloy wheel refurbishment from Confederate Chemicals paint stripper without methylene chloride
Over 30 years experience of industrial chemical paint and powder coating removal

Alloy wheel refurbishment is a relatively new but fast growing business. The techniques for alloy wheel paint stripping prior to refinishing are discussed below. Other pages link to related industrial paint stripping processes.

Please note we are suppliers of paint stripping materials, we do not offer a refurbishment service.

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New alloy wheels come finished in a variety of powder coat and final lacquer combinations.

The need for alloy wheel refurbishment comes from:

  • Wheel manufacturers' rejects
  • Motor trade refurbishment as part of the process of valeting used cars for sale. This is especially relevant to prestige makes
  • Classic car restoration
  • Private car owners refurbishing or customising their cars
lamborghini gallardo wheel

Not all wheels are suitable for reconditioning!
Unless the wheel is unused and merely a finishing reject, the refurbishment of alloy wheels needs to deal with:
  • Corrosion by brake dust
  • Corrosion by salt
  • Physical damage by "kerbing"
  • Physical damage by the fitment of balance weights
  • Physical damage during tyre fitting
  • Respraying completely or partially using wet paint

When originally manufactured, the wheel will be processed as follows:
  • Acid or Alkaline cleaner
  • Acid or Alkaline etch
  • Desmut if required
  • Chromate conversion coating, or more recently a conversion coating which does not use hexavelent chrome.
This ensures that the wheel is in prime condition for coating Silver polyester powder paint is then applied and cured, to give excellent all over protection to the wheel. An acrylic lacquer is then applied to the front face and stoved. This gives maximum gloss and protection where it is most needed. Generally speaking, higher performance cars have thicker/harder lacquer coatings to contend with higher braking temperatures.

Stripping wheels using AL-STRIP W is straight forward, but may take anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours dependant on the finish.

AL-STRIP W has proved, in practice, to strip 98% of wheels overnight, in a typical refurbishing application. The remaining 2% would either strip on longer immersion or were coated in nylon or two pack epoxy finishes.

In the best systems, the process is as follows:
  • Optionally, a spray wash/dry system to remove the worst of the brake dust and road grime
  • Immersion in AL-STRIP W as required. The best plants use overnight immersion for the bulk of their work
  • Hot pressure wash and dry
  • Any necessary machining to bring the wheels up to the required standard
  • Optionally, a light shotblast or acid etch system
  • A chromate pretreatment such as Federcrom or Federcrom PC. This optimises the corrosion resistance and provides a key to improve paint adhesion.
    or
  • A non chrome dip using a Titanium based coating such as Superfos TN
  • Polyester powdercoat applied
  • Lacquer finish applied to the front face

If the lacquer and powder coating fail under the wheel nuts, the wheels can become loose. This is particarly true with competition cars where the wheels are heavily stressed!


Confederate Chemicals Ltd., Mochdre Industrial Estate
Newtown, Powys, SY16 4LE, Wales UK.    Tel: 44 (0) 1686 627158    Fax: 44 (0) 1686 627580

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