Curb rash is common. It’s wheel damage that drivers encounter when they get a little too close to the streets.

Hitting curbs and other road obstructions leads to unsightly marks, scratches, gouges, and chips on your wheels. While it seems like repairing curb rash is only for professionals, it can be repaired and restored by the average joe at home.

If you seek the help of professionals when repairing curb rash wheels it can cost you a pretty penny. Professional refinishing costs can range from $50 to $100 per wheel.

On the other hand, car owners can also fix the curb rash by themselves in a DIY setup. This can cut down the fixing cost from $15 to $25 per wheel. Now, that’s a deal.

If you plan to do the latter but are a little skeptical about your skills, don’t worry because fixing a curb rash isn’t that complicated if you take your time and follow directions.

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to repair curb rash.

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Table of Contents

Safety is a priority so please take the appropriate precautions. Before starting any project that involves chemicals or dust it is recommended to wear a respirator with the appropriate filters like the one shown below. If you don’t have one you can pick one up by clicking on the image.

Gerson Half Mask Face Respirator Large 9300L

1. Clean The Affected Area

Make sure to clean the affected wheel first before proceeding to the next steps. A good wheel cleaner like the Signature Series Car Wheel Cleaner from the Chemical Guys really is the key to getting a quality repair in the end.

A clean wheel promotes proper adhesion of fillers and paints and allows you to see the extent of the damage you need to repair.

While you’re at it you might as well learn how to clean the entire car properly by checking out this guide here.

2. Sand Damaged Area Aith Coarse Grit Sandpaper

When you have removed all dirt and grime, the areas that need to be sanded should be pretty clear. Coarse sandpaper with 40 to 80 grit on an orbital sander works well in clearing out imperfections and scratches.

Sanding by hand allows you to control the amount of material you remove but If your damage is more severe you might need to start with a metal grinder.

Make sure to only sand the damaged area. Going beyond the damaged area will just create more area to fill not to mention take your time and energy.

You want an area that’s below the metal surface of the wheel so when you add filler it becomes level.

3. Apply A Filler And Let It Dry

Apply a filler to fill in the sanded areas. Use a filler like Eastwood’s Metal To Metal Filler which has fine aluminum particles throughout to reinforce the repair but sands smooth to a fine finish.

Fillers with hardeners dry quickly so only mix up a little at a time to make sure you have enough working time. Drying time can be as little as 15 minutes but ambient weather makes a difference so be sure to read the label.

You want the repair as dry as possible before you start sanding.

4. Sand The Filler With Progressive Finer Grit

Prepare finer grit sandpaper to sand the filled areas. Starting with a 120 grit and working all the way up to 400 grit to get the smoothest finish.

Make sure to shape the filled area according to the wheel surface as you sand. Remember if you can feel imperfections by hand you will see them through the painted surface.

Sanding is the most time-consuming part but the smoother the finish the more imperceptible the repair. So take your time and do it right.

5. Sand The Entire Wheel Face In Prep For Paint

Use very fine sandpaper-like a 1000 grit and sand the entire wheel face to prepare it for painting.

We’re just trying to scuff the surface so the primer has something to adhere to. Without this step, the paint has a chance of flaking and chipping. This step prevents that from happening.

6. Clean Thoroughly

Clean off any dust and debris from sanding first with air and a dry rag. Then use a product like Eastwood’s Pre Painting Prep Aerosol which is designed to get a surface as clean as possible for paint.

It removes all kinds of residue from dirt, wax, polish, grease, even tar. This ensures that our paint will not be contaminated.

7. Mask Off Areas Not To Be Painted

Make sure to mask off or cover the areas that you don’t want to paint. The barrel of the wheel, the hub bore and the tire should be masked off.

Paint can be removed later but preventing it from sticking in the areas you don’t want it in the first place gets you the best result.

8. Use An High Build Primer

Spray two to three coats of a high-build primer to the rim. Instructions may vary from brand to brand so make sure to read them first.

A product like Eastwood’s High Build Primer has filling properties and is flexible enough that it ensures good level coverage. This will eliminate any uneven areas that would otherwise show in the paint.

High build primer should be sprayed in light coats with 15-minute intervals to allow the self-leveling agents time to settle properly. Spraying too thick will create runs that will need to be sanded again.

High-build primer is sandable should you need to. A 320-400 grit is the recommended level for this product.

After the last coat of primer let it sit overnight to ensure maximum adhesion.

9. Paint The Rim In Multiple Even Color Coats

Choose a quality paint that matches your wheel color. Aerosol cans work fine in this application and every color is available these days, even chrome. You can find all you need over at Eastwood so you can match your wheel color perfectly, or change the color entirely.

Once you have your paint selected it’s time to apply. Paint has to be sprayed in multiple light even coats to make sure that the paint will last and proper adhesion has occurred.

Spray the paint across at a consistent pace edge to edge about 8 inches from the surface of the wheel. Let the paint dry for about 10 minutes in between coats. You will need to apply three to four coats of paint depending on your discretion.

After the final coat, allow to fully dry overnight.

10. Apply Clear Coat

Just like the primer and paint, you will have to apply at least three coats of a clear coat to ensure a lasting finish.

The clear coat will protect the paint from damages from sunlight, weather, and even scratching. The better the clear coat the better the durability of the paint job so a quality product is important here.

Eastwood’s 2K AeroSpray High-Gloss clear coat is the best in the game. It comes with a built-in activator but mixes in the can to produce a 2 component mixture in single-stage use. The broad spray nozzle produces results like that of an HVLP (high-velocity low pressure) spray gun just like the professionals use.

Repeated even strokes across the surface will result in no streaks or runs. Remember less is more, so do light coats and more of them. Keep drying time to 10 minutes between coats and let the last coat dry overnight.

11. Allow To Dry 24 Hours Away From Sun

Let your wheel dry at least 24 hours before removing the masking.

Remember to not dry it under direct sunlight as the sun’s rays can affect the paint’s quality. The heat can also lessen the adhesion of the paint to the metal and cause bubbling.

How To Prevent Curb Rash Next Time

The only way to prevent curb rash is to make sure that you never hit any curbs or road obstructions. You should be fully aware of your surroundings and the location of your wheels in relation at all times.

Many drivers incur damage while parallel parking in the street. If you can, choose to park in a wide parking lot with much space and fewer curbs instead. Tilting your side mirrors down on the curbside can improve visibility and help ensure your wheels don’t scrape.

Difficult seasons like winter can also contribute to acquiring curb rashes. Slippery roads reduce traction making cars more prone to hitting a curb. Using winter tires can help you in this situation.

Aftermarket accessories are also available to lessen the possibilities of curb rash. These accessories include rim wheel protection strips and wheel bands. These products create a barrier between your wheel and any objects you may hit.

Damage like curb rash is a common problem often encountered by drivers over the course of their lives. While wheel scrapes don’t pose any concern for safety, they can still be very unsightly. Thankfully, they can easily be fixed even by amateurs who follow instructions accordingly.

As an Amazon Associate We earn from qualifying purchases. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.

We might receive commissions if you click on our links and sign up/make purchases. However, please know this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for your needs. Thanks.

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