Scratched Rims Repair Cost [How Much to Fix a Scratched Rim?]

As much as we try to take care of our cars, sooner or later we have to deal with certain damages. This includes scratched rims. Instead of getting new rims, you can have them fixed professionally. But is the scratched rims repair cost worth it, or are there other options?

Scratches, cracks, curb rash, and bends are typical damages that wheels and rims can sustain. If you have them repaired in a shop, it could cost you about $50 to $400 for each wheel. The cost depends on the size and type of the wheel and the extent of the damage.

However, you have the option to repair your rims by yourself. If the damage is only minimal, you may be able to cut the cost down to almost nothing.

Read on to learn more about scratched rims repair costs.

Scratched Rims Repair Cost

Scratched Rims Repair Cost

Scratches, curb rash, bends, and cracks are typical damage that wheels and rims can sustain. Buying a new set of wheels can be costly enough. But getting them repaired in a shop could cost you roughly $50 to $400 for each wheel. The cost varies due to the size and type of the wheel and the extent of the damage.

However, if you have the know-how, you can repair your rims by yourself. This is particularly possible if the damage is only minimal. You may even be able to cut the cost down to almost nothing.

Factors Affecting the Scratched Rim Repair Cost

Generally, the wheels are among the most easily damaged parts of a car. The cost of getting them repaired tends to vary. It depends on certain factors, such as the wheel size, the type of metal, damage, and the additional services required. 

Let’s talk about these two factors:

  1. Size and Type of the Wheel
  2. Type of Damage

1. Size and Type of the Wheel

Alloy Wheels

Most vehicles have alloy wheels. They are lightweight but strong and visually appealing. They are typically aluminum or magnesium, or a combination of both.

When getting price quotes for rim repairs, they will assume that you have alloy wheels. Another factor that will affect repair costs is the size of the wheels. Smaller wheels tend to be cheaper. Whereas repairing larger ones would be much more expensive.

Steel

Steel is another material from which wheels are commonly made. They are sturdier and much cheaper than regular alloy wheels. But many wheel shops don’t usually repair steel wheels. If they do, they will charge about as much as alloy wheel repairs.

A particular shop’s capability to repair steel wheels would depend on its technician’s skills. Also, it will depend on the caliber of their equipment.

Customized Wheels

There are also intricately designed custom wheels with special chrome finishes and the like. Unfortunately, the majority of wheel repair shops do not usually work on custom wheels. However, some shops do fix chrome wheels, but they will charge you an extra fee. 

In comparison, it would be much cheaper for you to buy new custom wheels. Or, better yet, try to fix them yourself.

2. Type of Damage

The damage to your wheels could be as minor as scratched rims, curb rash, and scrapes. But it can also be as serious as bends, breaks, and cracks.

Cost to Repair Scratched Rims and Other Types of Wheel and Rim Damage

scratched rims repair kit

There are different kinds of wheel and rim damage. They are the following:

  1. Cosmetic Damage (Scratched Rims, Scrapes, Curb Rash)
  2. Cracked Rims
  3. Bent Wheel
  4. Wheel Repainting and Refinishing
  5. Tire Removal

Let’s briefly talk about these types of wheel and rim damage and their average repair costs:

1. Cosmetic Damage (Scratched Rims, Scrapes, Curb Rash)

The common types of wheel damage are scratched rims, scrapes, and curb rash. They occur when your car accidentally gets scraped against a rough surface. This can be on a sidewalk or a curb.

It’s easy to repair cosmetic damage. All it takes is to smooth out the scratches and repaint the wheels. The average repair cost to repair scratched rims would be around $50 to $150 per wheel.

2. Cracked Rims

Cracked rims are the most difficult type of wheel damage to repair. Most wheel repair shops cannot fix cracked wheels. At the same time, those that do will only determine the repair cost following a consultation.

Repairing cracked rims would require an extensive process. These include the following:

  • Welding,
  • Shaping,
  • Smoothing, and
  • Repainting and refinishing.

It’s probably better to replace your cracked wheel with a new one.

Even if it’s repairable, the wheel’s structural integrity has been compromised. It could be unsafe to use. If you choose to have it repaired anyway, it would cost you an average of $80 to $125 to fix a small crack. But the cost of replacing the rim ranges between $200 to $500.

3. Bent Wheel

The bent wheel is the outer part of the wheel. It is usually prone to bends and dents when it hits something hard enough to distort its shape. Repairing it consists of hammering on the bent wheel until it gets as close to its original form as possible.

If there is no need for repainting or refinishing, the average cost for simple repairs would be around $75 per wheel. Otherwise, repainting, refinishing, and extra services would cost you up to $200.

4. Wheel Repainting and Refinishing

Most wheel repair shops include the repainting and refinishing costs in the quoted wheel repair price. Some shops, however, will charge additional fees for these services. I recommend that you have your wheels repainted and refinished after repair.

Expect an extra charge of at least $50 per wheel for refinishing and either paint-matching or powder coating. Certain shops offer re-chroming for previously chromed wheels. This can range in cost from $150 to over $200.

5. Tire Removal

Unmounting your wheels from the tires is another additional service that can affect the repair cost. Most shops would charge you about an extra $10 per tire for the needed labor to unmount it.

Finding a Shop to Repair Scratched Rims

Most of the major auto body repair shop chains do not repair wheels. But some shops deal specifically in wheel repair. You can easily do a Google search to find the nearest wheel and rim repair shop in your location.

As you search for the closest, most convenient wheel repair shop, you may notice that most of them do not list their prices. This is because individual cases vary. The shop would want to assess the extent of the wheel damage first.

They want to determine if it is repairable before they quote you a price. Repair costs can vary significantly from shop to shop. So, it’s best to get a few quotes to help you decide on which place to get your rims fixed.

Again, how much does a scratched rim repair cost? Some of the common damages on the rim include scratches, cracks, curb rash, and bends. Usually, it will cost you between $50 to $400 per wheel to have damages on the rim and wheels repaired. This cost depends on the kind of damage and the wheel’s size and type.

How to Repair Scratched Rims by Yourself

scratch rim repair

Is the cost of getting your wheels repaired in a shop giving you pause? This is typical, especially if the damage to your wheels is only minor. If so, you have the option to repair your scratched rims on your own.

It’s a lot easier than most people realize and much cheaper. You would only need to spend as much as the cost of the supplies you will use. Much of which are probably already in your garage.

Materials for Repairing Scratched Rims

Here are the materials for repairing scratched rims:

  1. Clean rags
  2. Mild cleaner or solvent
  3. Paint thinner
  4. Masking tape
  5. 240-grit and 400-grit sandpaper
  6. Metal-reinforced spot putty
  7. Putty knife
  8. Kraft paper
  9. Metal alloy Primer
  10. Metallic spray paint
  11. Spray lacquer
  12. Metal polish (optional)

Steps for Repairing Scratched Rims

The steps for repairing scratched rims include the following:

  1. Clean the Rim
  2. Sand and Fill the Damaged Area
  3. Apply Primer and Paint

1. Clean the Rim

Begin by inspecting your rim for damage. Check for scratches and dents that you will need to repair later. Then, thoroughly clean the rim to make sure the repairs will last longer.

Spray a Mild Cleaner on a Washcloth

Spray a mild cleaner on a clean washcloth and scrub it on the rim. That way, you will remove excess dirt and grime. If the tires are also particularly dirty, you may want to clean them as well before repairing the damage.

Use a Paint Thinner to Remove Dust and Debris

Use paint thinner to remove any remaining dust and debris on the rim. Remember to wear gloves and a respirator when handling thinner to be on the safe side. Dip a rag into the thinner and lightly rub it onto the rim. Apply pressure as you wipe until the dirt comes off the area.

Ensure the Wheel Is Dry

Before starting repairs, make certain that the wheel is dry so that the repairs will stick. Use a lint-free washcloth to dry off the rim after cleaning the wheels. You may also air-dry the rim if you have time.

2. Sand and Fill the Damaged Area

Apply Masking Tape to the Tire

Apply masking tape to the tire behind the rim and 2.5 to 5.1 cm (1 to 2 inches) around it. This is so when you sand and paint the rims, later on, no residue will get into the tires.

Rub the Sandpaper on the Scratches and Dents

Take 240-grit sandpaper and rub it on the scratches and dents. This way, you will smoothen out the rough edges. Then, rub the sandpaper back and forth across the surface of the damaged area. Continue to do so until the scratches and dents feel smooth rather than rough. Afterward, use a dry cloth to wipe the dust off the sandpaper.

Use a Putty Knife to Spread the Putty

Using a putty knife, swipe a small amount of metal-reinforced spot putty. Then, apply it with pressure to the damaged area. Spread the putty around the area for it to fill as many scratches and dents as possible.

Shape and Smoothen the Putty

Shape and smooth the putty over the damage using your fingers. This will prevent raised areas on the rim. Ensure that the putty remains within the damaged area to avoid bumps on the flat undamaged areas. If you wish, you may also use metal polish to repair superficial scratches.

Allow the Putty to Dry

The length of time it will take for the putty to dry depends on the brand and the damage’s size you’re repairing. Refer to the putty’s instructions to find out how long it will dry. But it should take between 30 minutes and two hours.

Sand Down the Putty When Completely Dried

After the putty has completely dried, sand it down using 400-grit sandpaper. Rub it back and forth over the putty-filled areas to get rid of any raised areas. Continue to do so until they are at level with the rest of the rim.

3. Apply Primer and Paint

Wear Protective Gear Before Applying Paint

Before you start painting, wear goggles, gloves, and a respirator as a safety precaution. Also, make sure you are painting in a well-ventilated area. Mask your tire and other areas of the rim that you’re not going to paint.

Use Kraft Paper to Protect Wheels from Stains

To do this, use kraft paper and hold it down with masking tape. This is to protect your wheel from accidental staining. Allow only the damaged areas to be uncovered, as you don’t have to paint the whole rim.

Spray the Primer Over the Damaged Area

Spray the primer over the damaged area so that the paint will look more natural and stick better to the rim. One coat of primer will be enough to ensure that the paint will stick evenly. Spray the area in a sweeping motion.

Allow the Primer to Dry for 30 Minutes

Remember to stand 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) away from the rim. Wait for the primer to completely dry within 30 minutes to an hour before you start painting.

Select a metallic spray paint color that matches the alloy rim closely. In most cases, it is silver. Hold the paint can 25 to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) away from the surface of the rim. Then, apply a base coat to the damaged area in a sweeping motion.

Allow the paint to dry for 30 to 60 minutes to help make the coat look smooth. Refrain from touching the paint while it dries so as not to smudge it.

Apply Two to Three Additional Coats

Once the coat of paint has dried, apply at least two or three additional coats until you achieve the desired color. Wait for each coat to dry for 30 to 60 minutes before you apply the next one. Finally, apply the lacquer to prevent the paint from flaking away or scuffling. Spray it in a light mist with a sweeping motion, then wait for it to dry within 8 to 24 hours.

Conclusion – Scratched Rims Repair Cost

Scratches, curb rash, bends, and cracks are typical damage that wheels and rims can sustain. Buying a new set of wheels can be costly enough. But getting them repaired in a shop could cost you roughly $50 to $400 for each wheel. The cost varies due to the size and type of the wheel and the extent of the damage.

There are several ways to repair scratched rims and other types of wheel damage. They can be fixed in a car care shop for as little as $50 per wheel if the damage is minor. But you might spend as much as $500 if you need to get full replacements.

The scratched rims repair cost will vary. It all depends on the wheel size and type and the kind of damage.

If your rims aren’t so badly scratched, you might not have to take them to a shop. You can always do the repairs by yourself. It would only cost you as much as you have to spend on the supplies and equipment you need.

Related reading:

How Much Does It Cost to Repaint a Car? [Average Cost]