HOW TO POLISH FORGED OR BILLET ALUMINUM WHEELS USING OUR EASY FORGED WHEEL POLISHING KIT
Looking at a dull set of forged wheels can be depressing, so this article will walk you through the proper way to to asses and polish your wheels to give them that mirror shine. You need to remember that forged wheels use a very soft aluminum and do not take much sanding (if needed) to correct any scratches or pitting. Additionally metal polishing is definitely a skill and something that you should not expect perfect results if it is your first time. That being said - our forged wheel polishing kit and sanding supplies were designed to make your job as easy and simple as possible.
SANDING FORGED WHEELS
As a general rule of thumb, sanding only really needs to take place when you have curb rash, pitting, scratches or deep water spotting. In almost all other cases a simple cut & color & final show shine with airway buffing wheels & buffing compounds is all that is really necessary to fully restore the shine on your forged wheels.
IF you need to sand here are the items you will need which are NOT included in the forged wheel polishing kit:
Makita 9237C, Makita GA7021, or DeWalt DWP849X when it comes to polishing machines.
1. Full Face Respirator - Don't skimp on these, you don't want metal dust and polishing products in your lungs! This is the best respirator for metal polishing.
2. Random Orbital Sander - This is your workhorse sander that you will use in combination with your 400 or 600 grit sanding discs which we will go over below.
3. Heavy Duty 50 Foot Extension Cord and 20 Ton Air Jack - The extension cord for obvious reasons as you want to be away from your home or anything that would get dirt on it, as well as the air hack which will help you rotate the wheel with your foot and get a nice even sand on the wheel.
Now that we have been over the items you need to sand your forged wheels, lets go over some common problems.
1. How to fix road rash on your forged wheels / American Force wheels etc - Road rash on the outside lip of your american force or forged rim typically happens in fast food drive throughs due to the large complexity of your vehicle and the curvature of the drive thru's. To fix road rash on the outside lip of your forged wheel / rim it is very common that a 600 grit sand will be all that you need to do to fully restore this, although if it is REALLY bad you will sometimes have to step down to a 400 grit sand. We always recommend starting with the least aggressive grit possible that way you aren't creating more work for yourself because you will always need to go through the full grit sequence to get back to a place where you can polish using the rotary and airway buffing wheels. A good rule of thumb is that a Tripoli bar and a Pink or Yellow Airway can full take out 400 & 600 grit sand marks. Tip: If you sand too deep you will bevel the edges which is BAD!
2. How to fix pitting or scratches on forged or american force wheels - When it comes to getting rid of scratches or pits on forged wheels, there is only one way to get them out, and that's by sanding. If we follow the same rule as above we should be able to remove scratches and pitting using 400 or 600 grit sandpaper, although you MIGHT see some cases where you need to step down to a 320 grit, but that would be for rare, heavy scratches. Again we don't want to create more work for ourselves as this leaves us open to more errors, more sanding and more polishing down the line.
3. How to fix water spot etches on forged wheels - when water spots are left on your wheels for too long, baking in the sun, they can erode and etch into the aluminum which SUCKS to say the least. While we wish there was an easy fix to this with a liquid metal polish, in most cases this is simply not the case. You will need to sand these out using a 400 or 600 grit sandpaper yet again that will remove these etch marks. From there you can go into your metal polishing using your rotary, airway buffing wheels & compound bars using our forged wheel metal polishing kit
HOW TO GET A MIRROR SHINE ON YOUR FORGED BILLET WHEELS
When it comes to getting a mirror shine on your forged aluminum wheels, there are many ways to skin the cat. We have three main ways this can be done:
1. Rotary polish using a right angle grinder in conjunction with buffing wheels, buffing compound and some liquid metal polish.
2. Using a rotary polisher or a porter cableand a soft foam pad and bottle of liquid metal polish made specifically for forged wheels like our Rebel Forged Red Metal Polish
3. You can use a simple liquid metal polish designed for forged wheels with a microfiber applicator and simply work into the wheels until polished.
While there are three ways to brighten and polish your billet wheels as i mentioned above, the rest of this article will focus on the rotary polish using our Rebel Forged Mini Kit and a rotary polisher.
First thing you will need to is that since you are probably a noobie at polishing we recommend using the right dewalt 3,500 RPM polisher, while many professionals can manage the full 6,000 RPM fixed speed polisher, this does come with more skill and ability to ruin your polish or burn your metal.
What products go with what from the forged polishing kit?
1. STEP 1: Pink Airway buffing wheel pairs with the Tripoli (brown) compound bar.
2. STEP 2: Yellow Airway buffing wheel pairs with the Green Rouge compound bar
3. STEP 3: The soft UBM Airway buffing wheel pairs with our ultra high luster competition purple compound bar.
4. STEP 4: Lastly you can use our Forged Red liquid metal polish for maintenance OR for as a last and final step after your UBM/ purple wheel.
5. Dont forget to use the safety flange with all buffing wheels on your rotary polisher.
Additionally, to avoid an uneven polish we recommend using a jack to lift up the axle and spin the wheel with your foot while slowly moving your polisher from the outside of the lip towards the inside to get a nice even polishing pattern. If you do not do it this way, it is possible to get what's called zebra patterns which look like an uneven or unconnecting polish spots.