Each wheel we work on is put through a highly defined customised alloy wheel repair process. Refurbished wheels are stripped, checked for damage, x-rayed, repaired, x-rayed, powder coated, painted, in the case of diamond cut wheels, they will be put through the CNC machine before being lacquered. All wheels are quality checked at each station and a final check before delivery back to the customer.
Wheels can be dropped off by customers at any of our hubs or at any Xpress Repair Centre, we also collect by arrangement.
Once the wheels have been removed from the car, we can assess the complete damage on the alloy wheels. Once the tyres are removed from the car, valves or weights that assist in keeping the wheel balanced are removed, these will need to be replaced later. Identifying marks are applied, and the tyres safely stored.
We check the alloys for stress fractures, buckles or cracks, and let the customer know if they are beyond repair or not safe to drive on. At this stage we will advise whether any work besides what the customer has requested needs to be carried out.
Station 2 – Stripping
After examination has been completed, the wheels are then placed in a chemical stripping tank to remove all the old layers of primer, paint, lacquer and brake dust. (we do NOT use acid).
They are then placed into a wash machine to remove any traces of paint and chemicals left from the stripping process. Leaving a totally clean and contaminant free wheel ready for prepping. Once we have dried the wheels the surface is keyed to accept the powder. The wheels are placed in our industrial oven and heated to 180-200 degrees to remove any trapped air (known as degassing).
A base coat primer is applied and returned to the oven to cure.
Station 3 – Welding
If required and as part of the wheel refurbishment process the wheel will be welded. We do NOT use fillers in any part of the process to repair alloy wheels and we only use TIG welding as a method for repairing any damage to an alloys surface. This method inserts ‘metal’ back into the areas it is missing. As with all our wheel repair services, we will only weld a wheel where we are confident that the integrity and safety is not compromised. The wheel will then be passed to a lathe operative so that the welded area can be machined back to create a seamless finish. If necessary, the welded areas will then be sanded and smoothed off by hand to complete the job.
Station 4 – Straightening and Bending
The process of straightening an alloy wheel involves heating the damaged area to both enable the repair to be performed and also strengthen the repaired area once complete. The wheel is placed on a rack within the wheel straightening rig which centres the wheel. The wheel shape is then measured with a dial gauge to identify the location of any deformed sections. The process of heating the wheel in the spot to be repaired softens the metal and makes it much less likely that the alloy will crack under the pressure required to straighten the bend. The process of straightening a wheel involves considerable forces being applied to the wheel and we cannot guarantee that the wheel will not crack as a result.
Station 5 – X-Ray
Each wheel has 30 – 40 x-rays taken at different angles to ensure that there are no cracks or structural issues with the wheel that would compromise its integrity.
Station 6 – Cosmetic Repairs
The wheels are then placed in an oven and heated for 30 minutes. This removes any air trapped in the microscopic pores, so that no air escapes as the paint is being applied, something which would reduce the quality of the finish.
Powder primer is now applied to every side of each section and the alloys are reheated to make sure that the powder primer is cured, to produce a high strength, hard wearing coating.
At the next stage, the colour is applied to your alloys. We colour match using “what kind of” paint meaning the results are as high quality as possible.
The final coat of lacquer is then applied to the alloys before they are baked. This process makes the wheels extremely durable and able to cope with the elements. After being baked, the alloys are hung up to cool and dry.
Depending on the type of finish the cosmetic repair will finalise the full refurbishment of your wheel. See Repair Solutions, Full Refurbishment for the types of finishes.
Station 7 – Final Inspection
Once the cosmetic repairs have been completed, the wheels go through the final quality check before being fitted back onto the vehicle or returned to or collected by the customer.