Alloy wheels are now commonly seen on all types of vehicles. This is due to their increase in performance quality, their overall cost and the fact that they are easily customisable. Here we discuss how you can modify your alloy wheels to maintain a specific aesthetic and to protect your alloys. You have plenty of choice when it comes to modifying your alloy wheels, from a change in colours and style to unique finishing options.
What are alloy wheels?
Alloy wheels are wheels made from a mixture of metals (an alloy), typically aluminium, magnesium and nickel.Alloys (metal mixtures) are usually:
- Much stronger than pure metal;
- Lighter than pure metal;
- Better at conducting heat;
- Easier to modify and produce a better overall cosmetic finish.
Many people prefer alloy wheels over steel wheels, due to better performance and ease of customisation. Our guide to alloy wheels explains more about why people choose alloy over steel and what benefits they have.
What does it mean to modify an alloy wheel?Alloy wheels can be modified in a range of different ways. Unlike a steel wheel, alloy wheels can be fully customised to suit the aesthetics of your vehicle. There are plenty of different paint options to choose from; these can be glossy or matt, smooth or textured and match or differ from the colour of your car.
Some methods of modification can actually improve the health and performance of your alloy wheels. Through the use of protective colour coating and lacquer, your alloy wheels could be made stronger and less prone to scuffs, chips or scratches.
If you are concerned about chips or scuffs on your alloy wheels, get in touch with us and let our specialists help you today.
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Are alloy wheels considered a modification?
Typically, standard alloy wheels that aren’t customised, are still classed as a modification. If your car didn’t come with alloy wheels and you have since added them, you will need to declare this to your insurance provider. Anything that is non-standard on your vehicle in fact, will be classed as a modification.
If your car came factory-fitted with alloy wheels, then you don’t have to class them as a modification. If you were to then have these alloys customised through painting, powder coating or diamond cutting, they then become modifications.
If you modify your alloy wheels in any way, even simply repainting them a basic colour, you should notify your insurer to ensure that your cover isn’t invalidated in the event that you claim for an accident, theft or damages.
Non-standard alloy wheels are actually the most common modifications that drivers make on their vehicles - every insurance provider will be aware of this, so it makes good sense to be honest with them.
Types of alloy wheel modifications
Our team of specialists will discuss your alloy modification options with you and help you to choose the best process for your desired outcome. This could include:
Painting and recolouring
Probably the most basic form of alloy wheel modification, painting or recolouring your alloy wheels can be done as a whole or in localised areas to cover damage. Some people choose to have their alloys repainted with colour-matched paint to keep them looking fresh and consistent, but as to not affect the premiums on their insurance.
Most modification options end with a lacquer coating to protect the new colour and design. There are options to use a tinted lacquer which can further alter the aesthetics of your alloy wheels, on top of painting them.
Alloy wheel wrapping
Alloy wheels can be wrapped with a non-permanent vinyl that covers the original alloy surface. This can protect the wheel whilst also allowing you to change the colour, style and finish of your alloys.
Alloy wheel wrapping is also a common choice for people wanting to change up the look of their vehicle due to the fact that it’s easily removable. Vinyl wrapping can be removed with ease to either:
- Return alloy wheels back to their original state (they will maintain factory condition if they were new before being wrapped), or
- Change the colour or style to something different without leaving any residue.
Alloy Wheel Powder Coating
Powder coating is a common technique used to modify alloy wheels through using a spray-on paint formula that fully coats the alloy. This powder dries onto the alloy, is then heated to form a solid gel coating and is finally lacquered to protect the new design.
Powder coating is relatively durable and can protect your alloys from scratches and scuffs. It also offers a much wider range of finishing options, including two-tone colour, glitter effects and paint fleck patterns.
Diamond Cut Alloy Wheels
Diamond cutting is a more thorough and complex process that requires the use of CNC machinery to cut away the thin surface layers of an alloy to leave a shiny finish.
People often view diamond cut alloys as a sign of prestige, mainly because many of the leading high-end car manufacturers do this as standard on their cars, such as Audi and BMW.
Diamond cut alloys boast an unbeatable shiny finish, but they don’t offer as many customisation options as the other modifications do.
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Will customising my alloy wheels affect my insurance?
Most likely, yes. Alloy wheel modifications are viewed by insurance companies as value increasers, making your vehicle more prone to theft or intentional damage. Your premiums may increase should you choose to modify your alloy wheels, but it’s always worth notifying your insurers about this to ensure that your policy isn’t invalidated, should you need to claim.
Are alloy wheel protectors any good?
There are a lot of different types of alloy wheel protectors. Some protect specific elements of a wheel and are bespoke-made to prevent scratches from high kerbs. Others seek to protect the colour and finish.If you are considering modifying your alloy wheels, it’s probably worth protecting them and keeping up with standard alloy wheel care and maintenance. Most customisation options include the use of lacquering or coating to protect the new design and therefore, protect your alloy wheel.
For extra protection, you can invest in alloy wheel protectors to sit externally on your wheel.
What are alloy wheel spacers?
Alloy wheel spacers are metal plates that alter your vehicle's profile and add additional space between the wheels and the hub by pushing out on the alloy. This can affect the performance of your car, but many people choose to do this for aesthetic reasons.
Where can I get my alloy wheels modified?
Get in touch with us today to chat about how you can modify your alloy wheels and we’ll get you booked in for a change. If you have an idea in mind, don’t hesitate to mention this to us and we’ll see how we can best match that.If you are wondering what to do if your alloy wheels are damaged, we can help with that too. We can repair, refurbish or replace alloy wheels should you need it.