How To Repair Curb Rash On Rims

Editor: Ilkka

Last updated: August 19, 2023

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You’re not alone if you’re a car owner who’s noticed some unsightly damage on your rims. Curb rash occurs when wheels scrape against curbs or other obstructions, causing noticeable scratches and scuffs.

In this article, we’ll guide you step-by-step through repairing curb rash on your rims—both as an affordable DIY project and professional repair options. Ready to reclaim the shine of your wheels? Let’s get started!

Understanding Curb Rash on Rims

Curb rash on rims is a common issue caused by hitting curbs or other obstructions while driving, resulting in scratches and scuff marks on the wheel’s surface.

Causes of Curb Rash

Curb rash on rims is primarily instigated by driver errors such as scraping against curbs, other obstructions during parking or tight-space maneuvers. Environmental factors can exacerbate the problem, particularly when rims are rusted or damaged.

This light cosmetic damage can occur on both aluminum and alloy wheels, black and aluminum rims. Even minute carelessness while driving near curbs could trigger curb rash, often termed as “curbed wheels.” Ignoring these seemingly insignificant scuffs and scratches might seem easy, but it significantly reduces your vehicle’s value when you plan to sell it.

Fix Curb Rash

Fixing curb rash on your rims is essential for multiple reasons. Firstly, it preserves the aesthetic appeal of your vehicle. Curb rash, characterized by scratches and scuff marks on a wheel’s rim from hitting curbs or other obstructions, detracts from the overall look of your car, impacting its perceived value.

More significantly though, prompt curb rash repair can prevent more serious damage over time. If left untreated, minor surface blemishes could evolve into deeper scratches that may cause uneven tire wear or potentially compromise wheel integrity at high speed.

Fixing curb rash on rims not only keeps your car looking sharp but contributes to safe driving conditions too. By maintaining pristine wheels you help uphold the resale value of your vehicle while ensuring its optimal performance on the road.

DIY Methods for Curb Rash Repair & Wheel Repair

To repair curb rash on rims, start by thoroughly cleaning the damaged area and then using sandpaper to smooth out the rim. Apply primer and paint, followed by a clear coat for protection, before polishing the rim to restore its original shine.

Cleaning Damaged Area

It all starts with a thorough cleaning of the damaged area. A clean surface is paramount for a successful curb rash repair job. First, remove any loose debris from the scratched rim by using a stiff brush to sweep away dirt or other obstructions that may interfere with your repairs.

Next, opt for regular dish soap and warm water to wash off any grime on the wheel due to daily use or exposure to elements. Once washed, level up your cleaning process by employing paint thinner and a lint-free cloth.

This step will eliminate lingering impurities and prime your wheel’s surface for further repair steps like sanding down rough edges or applying filler to deep scratches. Ensure you dry off the rim completely before progressing onto subsequent stages of fixing curb rash on rims.

Smoothing the Rim

To achieve a seamless repair, smoothing out the rim is essential in fixing curb rash. Once the damaged area has been cleaned and prepared, gently sanding the scratched surface with fine-grit sandpaper will help to even out any rough edges or jagged marks caused by the curb rash.

By using a circular motion and applying light pressure, you can begin to smooth down the surface of the rim. It’s important to take time during this process to ensure you don’t remove too much material or create further damage.

A good tip is to use a dishwashing sponge pad as it provides just enough abrasion without being too harsh on the rim’s finish. Afterward, wipe away any dust or debris before moving on to the next step in restoring your rims to their original condition.

Applying Primer and Paint

To ensure a professional-looking repair, applying spray primer and paint is an important step in fixing curb rash on rims. After smoothing out the rim, it’s time to prepare the surface for painting.

To remove dirt or debris, begin by thoroughly cleaning the damaged area and surrounding surface. Once clean, cover the surrounding area with tape or newspaper to protect against overspray.

Next, apply a spray primer specifically designed for automotive use. This will help create a smooth base for the paint and improve adhesion. Hold the can about 8-12 inches away from the rim and apply light coats of primer, allowing each coat to dry before adding another layer.

Multiple thin coats are preferable over one thick coat as they ensure coverage without causing drips or runs.

After allowing the primer to dry according to manufacturer instructions fully, it’s time to apply paint that matches your wheel’s color. A matching spray paint made specifically for automotive rims helps achieve a seamless finish.

Like applying primer, hold the spray at a distance and apply several thin coats rather than in one heavy application.

Once you’ve achieved full coverage with your desired shade of paint, allow it ample time to dry completely before handling or installing back onto your vehicle. Applying clear coat after drying adds an extra layer of protection against future damage while providing a glossy finish similar to new wheels.

Applying Clear Coat and Polishing the Rim

After preparing and smoothing the damaged rim, it’s time to apply a clear first coat and give it that polished finish. The clear coat serves as a protective layer, preventing further damage and enhancing the overall appearance.

Start by selecting a high-quality clear coat spray made specifically for automotive use. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, evenly apply a thin layer of clear coat to ensure proper coverage.

Allow the rim to dry before applying the second coat. Once you’re satisfied with the application of clear coat, it’s time to polish your rim. Use a polishing compound and a clean microfiber cloth to gently buff the surface in circular motions until it shines like new.

Professional Methods for Repairing Curb Rash on Rims

When DIY methods are insufficient, or you feel unable to tackle curb rash on your own, professional repair offers a more professional solution.

Professional Repair Options

When it comes to repairing curb rash on rims, professional options can provide superior results compared to DIY repairs. Professional repair shops offer specialized services and expertise in fixing damaged wheels, ensuring a high-quality finish.

They have access to advanced tools and equipment and knowledge of the latest techniques for repairing different types of curb rash. By opting for professional repair, you can restore your rims to their original condition and avoid any further damage or uneven tire wear.

Whether you have minor scratches or more serious damage, hiring a professional is obviously the most effective solution that guarantees long-lasting results.

Benefits of Professional Repair

Professional repair for curb rash on rims offers several key benefits. First and foremost, it ensures that the wheel is restored to its original condition with a level of precision and expertise that DIY methods may not achieve.

Car owners hiring professionals can trust that the repairs will be done using the appropriate techniques and tools, resulting in a more thorough restoration—even for minor damage. Additionally, professional repair services often include checking for balance and addressing any other underlying damage to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the rim. Most car owners want to ensure the longevity of their vehicle and a repair shop is often the safest best.

This means you can have peace of mind knowing that your repaired rim will look great and function properly. Moreover, many professional repair services offer warranties or guarantees on their work, providing added assurance in the repair process.


Repairing curb rash on rims is a crucial step to maintain the appearance and functionality of your vehicle. Following the DIY methods outlined in this guide, you can easily restore your rims to their original condition without breaking the bank.

However, for more serious damage or if you simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, professional repair options offer additional benefits. Prevention is key to curb rash on rims, so be mindful of your driving habits and take precautions to avoid damaging your wheels.