Cars

Repairing ‘Curb Rash’ on Audi Wheels

‘Before.’ Curb rash on 19-in. 2018 Audi A4 (iPhone 6 photo)
After refinishing by Wheel Works of Edmonton. (Photo Fuji X-T2)
‘Bruised’ 19-in. OEM Audi A4 wheel before refinishing. (Photo iPhone 6)
After refinishing by Wheel Works of Edmonton. (Photo Fuji X-T2)

We ‘car guys’ are particular. We park our cars at the vacant end of the lot to protect them from those infuriating door dings, we keep our cars’ interiors surgical operating room clean, and the concept of ‘patina’ showing wear and tear simply does not compute.

We pride ourselves in taking care of our cars, and so I was particularly mortified when early this year, in a very crowded shopping centre parking lot, I carelessly bumped the right rear tire on a low, concrete curb.

I was driving very slowly when I felt the right rear tire ‘touch’ the concrete island, and as soon as I felt the bump, I stopped and gingerly reversed the car, hoping I hadn’t scraped the wheel. That ‘touch’, at an acute angle, was enough to put a scrape on the lip of the wheel.

Most people wouldn’t notice it, but I do. So, at the recommendation of one of my car buddies who works at one of the German luxury car dealerships in the city, I took the bruised rim and tire to Wheel Works in Edmonton, where the dealership sends all its wheels for repair or refinishing.

Refinishing a damaged wheel isn’t cheap, but it’s the value proposition when compared to replacing the wheel. A new 19-in. OEM Audi wheel for a 2018 Audi A4 rings in at a wallet-crushing $1,298.61.

Wheel Works owner Darren Nordell has been in business for 23 years, and the company specializes in repairing and refinishing wheels.

The cost for the shop’s services depends on the amount of damage the wheel has been subjected to and the kind of finish it has.

Refinishing process

My 19-in. Audi wheel had ‘minor’ (my words) gouges on the outer lip and one spoke.

Wheel Works owner Darren Nordell says the first step is to determine if the wheel is ‘true.’ If not, it has to be straightened. Our wheel was straight.

After the customer’s wheel is cleaned and wet sanded, it’s placed on a CNC machine. The entire face is refinished

The next step is the entire wheel (all front faces and the back/inside) is cleaned and wet sanded. If the wheel requires welding, those repairs are done. Our wheel didn’t need this.

Next, the wheel is placed on a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine, a fancy name for an automated, computer controlled, lathe. The entire face of the wheel is refinished.

Entire face of wheel is refinished on a CNC machine. Photo was shot through the machine’s observation window

After the face of the wheel is machined, the wheel (including the inside/back) is sprayed with clear coat. Our wheel needed a second matte coat to match the factory finish.

The inside/back of the wheel is refinished along with the face. The tire is reinstalled and balanced for final delivery. The wheel now looks factory fresh

Finally, if the wheel was delivered with the tire mounted as was ours, the tire is re-installed and the wheel is balanced.

The total cost for the refinishing was $305.00 (plus GST.) Not inexpensive, but certainly less expensive than a new wheel.

And it’s nice to know all 4 wheels are once again in perfect condition and ready for next year’s summer driving season.

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