by Tim Gowens
Wheel refinishing and structure repair came about due to the incredible cost of purchasing a new wheel from the dealership. Smart people with good mechanical engineers working with them know that aluminum wheels can be manipulated back to its original condition through the proper heat – pressure – and vibrations.
Then came the necessity for wheel refinishing. There are many from the machine shop industry that had CNC (computer network control) lathe experience that know how to duplicate the cuts and angles on aluminum wheels. This is the only way to properly repair a cosmetic hit where welding is required (our welders are certified and know how to properly fill in a hit or repair a crack). Believe me – I tried many things to get the superior finish cut that a CNC lathe produces, only to learn that it’s impossible! At one point in my years of traveling this road, I actually bought an old TUBA buffer and had it converted to a lathe. NOPE – you guessed it – it did not work. So, I went into DEBT - bought a very expensive CNC lathe for my company and at $50/hour learned to program the computer to accomplish the finish I wanted and that my customers required.
Then came the necessity in the wheel refinishing process to learn about powder coating. It was the same road traveled. There is no comparison to an Acrylic POWDER COAT finish after the lathing process is complete. This is what the factory has used for years in the manufacturing process and I needed the equipment too. You guessed it! Here I go again – back into DEBT – and I bought the ovens, powder coating guns and booths needed to accomplish this most important and final last step.
In my 20 plus years of doing business in the wheel refinishing industry, I have come across many who say they are wheel repair and wheel refinishing “specialists”, when in fact, they are no more than a dude working out of some dingy shop or basement of their home where there is little order – and quality is lacking. WATCH OUT AMERICA!
With so many different wheel refinishing "Shops" coming online with varied technical ability, it is imperative that you choose a reputable wheel company to handle your wheel refinishing and replacement requirements. Most factory rims can be fully restored back to factory condition at a fraction of the cost of going to the dealership.
Written on Thursday, January 16, 2014 by