Removing Chrome from Wheels: A Comprehensive Guide(cnc machined parts Egbert)

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Chrome-plated wheels add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any vehicle. However, with time and usage, the chrome finish can start showing signs of wear and tear, making it necessary to consider removing the chrome from your wheels. Whether you wish to restore your wheels' original appearance or repaint them in a different color, understanding the process of removing chrome is crucial. In this article, we will delve into the world of CNC, explore the intricacies of wheel chroming, and provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to effectively remove chrome from your wheels.

Understanding CNC and its Relation to Wheel Chroming

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining plays an essential role in the production of various automotive components, including car wheels. The use of CNC technology enables precision manufacturing processes that produce high-quality alloy wheels found in many vehicles today. These wheels often undergo additional treatments, such as chrome plating, to enhance their visual appeal and durability.

Chroming is a popular method used to coat wheels with a thin layer of chromium, forming a protective barrier against corrosion while giving them a mirror-like finish. However, despite its aesthetic benefits, chrome plating can deteriorate over time due to exposure to road elements, brake dust, and regular wear and tear. When the chrome starts chipping, pitting, or flaking off, removing it becomes necessary to maintain the overall look of your wheels.

Reasons for Removing Chrome from Wheels

There are several reasons why one might opt to remove chrome from their wheels:

1. Restoring Original Appearance: Over time, chrome finishes may become dull and lose their shine. By removing the worn-out chrome, you can expose the underlying base metal, restoring the original appearance of your wheels.

2. Repainting: Removing chrome provides an ideal canvas for repainting your wheels. It allows you to customize your wheels by applying a new color or finish of your choice, reflecting your personal style and preferences.

3. Repairing Damaged Chrome: In instances where the chrome has suffered extensive damage like pitting or flaking, removing it offers an opportunity to assess and repair the underlying issues before reapplying a fresh chrome layer.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Chrome from Wheels

Before diving into the removal process, it's important to note that removing chrome can be a labor-intensive task requiring various tools and chemicals. Ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area and take necessary safety precautions such as wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask to protect yourself.

Follow these steps for successful chrome removal:

Step 1: Gather Required Materials
To effectively remove chrome from wheels, gather the following materials:
- Protective gloves, goggles, and mask
- Chemical strippers (choose a product suitable for wheel chroming removal)
- Sandpaper (various grits, start with a coarse grit and progress to finer grits)
- Wire brush or steel wool
- Plastic scraper or putty knife
- Clean cloth or rag
- Automotive paint primer (if planning to repaint the wheels)
- Automotive-grade paint (if planning to change the wheel color)

Step 2: Preparation
Start by protecting the surrounding areas of the wheel with newspaper or plastic sheets to avoid any accidental damage. Also, ensure proper ventilation in your work area to prevent inhaling harmful fumes emitted by chemical strippers.

Step 3: Applying Chemical Stripper
Carefully apply the chosen chemical stripper to the surface of the chrome. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding application time and recommended removal method. Typically, chemical strippers require some time to soften the chrome layer, making it easier to remove later.

Step 4: Scraping off the Chrome
Using a plastic scraper or putty knife, gently scrape away the softened chrome layer from the wheel surface. Ensure you maintain a consistent pressure to avoid damaging the underlying metal.

Step 5: Sanding
Once most of the chrome is scraped off, use a coarse grit sandpaper (around 80-grit) to further remove any remaining chrome and even out the surface. Progressively move to finer grits (120-grit, 180-grit, and so on) until you achieve a smooth, even surface without any visible traces of chrome.

Step 6: Removing Residual Chrome
To eliminate any residual bits of chrome or tarnish, utilize a wire brush or steel wool. Gently scrub the surface with circular motions to achieve a polished look.

Step 7: Cleaning and Protective Coating
Thoroughly clean the wheel using soap and water to remove any dust or debris acquired during the removal process. Once dried, apply an automotive paint primer to prepare the wheel for repainting (if desired). Follow up with the application of your chosen automotive-grade paint, ensuring even coverage across all surfaces.


Removing chrome from wheels might seem like a daunting task, but with patience and proper guidance, it can be accomplished successfully. Understanding the intricacies of wheel chroming and following a step-by-step approach will help you transform your wheels while preserving their integrity. Whether you wish to restore the original appearance or embark on a custom painting journey, removing chrome from your wheels opens doors for endless possibilities in personalizing your vehicle's aesthetics. CNC Milling CNC Machining