Author: Smartfix UK
As part of a professional same-day alloy wheel repair business, the process of painting and refurbishing alloy wheels will be a core element of the job. With the right tools, equipment and training it is a relatively simple skill to master but it is important to ensure that the relevant Health & Safety regulations and guidelines are complied with at all times.
Paints and Colours
Unlike a car’s bodywork, there is rarely information provided by the manufacturers to help identify the exact colour of an alloy wheel. Fortunately, the majority of silver-painted alloy wheels are very similar and differ mainly in how course the aluminium flake is in the paint. A very fine flake will create a smooth silver and a course flake will produce a silver with more of a “glitter” appearance.
There are also a range of coloured alloy wheels ranging from darker silvers and anthracites to black and even chrome effects. Specialist paint manufacturers match these colours so professional wheel repairers can respray the wheel back to its original condition. Swatches can be used to help identify the colour required but can also be used to offer customers other colour options if they are considering customising their alloys.
The right place to paint alloy wheels
There are a number of key factors to consider when creating the optimum environment to spray the alloys:
• Ambient temperature – if the alloy is too cold the process will be far slower and proper adhesion of the paints may be inhibited.
• Air flow into the spray room – sufficient clean air is required into the room to ensure the extraction will work efficiently.
• Air flow out of the spray room – the exhaust air should be filtered to protect equipment and ensure compliance with HSE & Environmental Health requirements.
• Quality of air to spray gun – the compressed air required for spraying needs to be clean and dry. Contaminated air is a common cause of poor paint finishes and repairs that fail i.e. flaking, cracking paint.
• Lighting – Bright “daylight” lighting is required so the coverage and colour of the paint can be checked thoroughly.
The above applies regardless of whether the process is carried out in a workshop or in a mobile spray paint booth for sale as part of your business. There are differences in the regulations but with both, it is important to ensure the discharge from the Spraybooth is safe and compliant.
The right tools
A professional spray gun is critical to produce a professional finish. When spraying metallic colours (which most alloys are) the air pressure and atomisation of the paint can affect the appearance and shade of the colour. So it is important to have this control which a cheap spray gun or aerosol cannot provide.
SMARTFIX can provide everything required for anyone looking to start a new alloy wheel repair service; either as a new business or as an additional service to an existing business. We design and manufacture complete static or mobile alloy wheel repair workshops and can include all the professional tooling and consumables to create a turn-key service. Our one to one training programmes are tailored to each individual's previous experience – so anyone can take advantage of this very profitable opportunity.