Today, we’re tackling another one of Kaser’s all-time FAQs: “how much will it cost to blast and powder coat my car’s wheels?”
The short answer is, “it depends.”
While I’m more than happy to give a quote over the phone or email, there are 3 questions I will need answers to first:
Question 1: Are the wheels steel, or are they aluminum?
The answer to this determines what kind of blast medium we’ll have to use. Steel wheels are blasted with steel grit, and aluminum wheels are blasted with crushed glass. As you might imagine, steel grit is harsher and more abrasive than crushed glass, often speeding up the blasting process significantly.
Question 2: What condition are the wheels in? Raw? Rusty? Painted? Powder coated?
If the wheels are raw, or even rusty, no problem: blasting will be quick, painless, and cheap. If they’re powder coated, it’s a different story. We love powder coating for its durability – right up to the point when we need to blast old powder coating off of something, at which time its durability becomes a problem. This is particularly true if the wheel is powder coated aluminum: it’s going to take the crushed glass a LONG time to work its way through the powder coating, and down to the bare metal. This adds time and cost to the project.
It’s worth noting that occasionally, wheels that appear raw actually have clear powder coating on them. Even if you can’t technically see the power coating, it still needs to come off.
In short, blasting is where the big disparity in cost happens. Once we get the wheels blasted, the type and condition of the substrate stops having as much of an impact on the powder coating price.
Question 3: Are the wheels polished or plated with anything?
Most of the time, when we see polished wheels, they’re aluminum. Polish is no big deal – the blast medium can handle polish pretty efficiently.
Plating, however, is a different story. If your steel wheels are chrome plated, I’m likely going to tell you that we can’t help you. Plating is difficult – if not impossible – to blast, and if we don’t get all the plating off before coating, the coated surface will look patchy and awful. On the other hand, if we apply powder coating directly over the metal plating, every rock that hits your wheel is going to leave a chip. For the amount of time and money you’ll sink into blasting and coating a plated wheel, you might as well buy yourself some new wheels.
As you might imagine, all of this can be very difficult to diagnose over the phone. Customers (understandably) don’t always know whether they’re looking at steel or aluminum. They can’t always tell whether the sheen is polish or clear powder coating. It can be difficult to determine whether there’s metal plating. It’s always a bit awkward when I quote a price for steel wheels, and they wind up being aluminum – either I have to call the customer with a revised quote, or take the loss, neither of which is ideal.
In an effort to help avoid these awkward scenarios, I plan to be more proactive about educating Kaser’s social media following on the difference between steel and aluminum, how to tell what kind of wheel you’re looking at, and what to expect out of the wheel-restoring process. If you have any questions you’d like me to address, please leave them in the comments.