How to Remove Chrome from Wheels: A Comprehensive Guide(sheet metal bending Gustave)

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Chrome wheels add a touch of sophistication and shine to any vehicle, making it stand out on the road. However, there may come a time when you want to switch up the look or repair damaged chrome. Removing chrome from wheels can be a delicate process that requires patience and precision. In this article, we will explore different methods and techniques to help you remove chrome from your wheels effectively.

Why Remove Chrome from Wheels?

Before diving into the removal process, it is important to understand why someone might want to remove chrome from their wheels. There are several reasons for wanting to take off the chrome coating:

1. Restoring Damaged Chrome: If your chrome has become scratched, chipped, or faded over time, removing it can offer a clean slate to restore or refinish the wheels.
2. Personalization: Some individuals prefer a matte black, painted, or polished finish over shiny chrome. By removing the chrome coating, car owners can customize their wheels to align with their personal style preferences.
3. Repair Surface Defects: Chrome plating can hide surface defects such as casting imperfections or porosity. Removing chrome allows easier access to identify and fix these defects properly.

Methods for Removing Chrome from Wheels:

Now that we have established the reasons behind removing chrome from wheels let's dive into the various methods available. Each method offers its own advantages and considerations based on factors like cost, accessibility, and environment safety concerns.

1. Chemical Stripping:

Chemical stripping involves using chemicals to dissolve the chrome from the wheel surface. This method can be an effective way to remove chrome but should be approached with caution due to the potential hazards associated with chemical use. Here's how you can proceed with chemical stripping:

Step 1: Begin by gathering the necessary supplies. You will need chemical stripper, gloves, old rags, a plastic scraper, and protective eyewear.

Step 2: Ensure the wheels are clean and free from any dirt or debris.

Step 3: Apply a generous amount of the chemical stripper to the chrome surface. Ensure you follow all safety precautions mentioned on the product packaging.

Step 4: Let the chemical stripper sit on the wheel for the recommended duration, usually around 15-20 minutes. This will allow the chemicals to penetrate the chrome layer effectively.

Step 5: Using a plastic scraper, gently scrape off the softened chrome. Be careful not to scratch the underlying metal.

Step 6: Repeat the process if necessary until the desired level of chrome removal is achieved.

Step 7: Once satisfied with the outcome, thoroughly wash the wheel with soap and water to remove any remaining chemicals.

Note: Always dispose of the waste chemicals according to local regulations and guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

2. Mechanical Stripping:

Mechanical stripping refers to removing chrome using mechanical force rather than chemicals. This method can be more time-consuming but is generally safer as it does not involve hazardous chemicals. Here's how you can mechanically strip chrome from your wheels:

Step 1: Collect the required tools for this process, including an angle grinder or sanding tool, various grits of sandpaper (ranging from coarse to fine), gloves, protective eyewear, and a dust mask.

Step 2: Begin sanding the chrome surface with coarse-grit sandpaper. The goal is to remove the chrome plating gradually without damaging the base metal.

Step 3: Continue sanding the entire chrome area evenly until the shiny chrome finish becomes dull and rough. Make sure to apply even pressure during this process.

Step 4: Progressively move onto finer-grit sandpapers to achieve a smooth surface. This helps prepare the wheel for further refinishing steps.

Step 5: After completing the sanding process, wipe off any dust residue using a clean cloth.

3. Media Blasting:

Media blasting involves using high-pressure air and a media material (such as sand, glass beads, or walnut shells) to remove the chrome layer from wheels. This method is commonly employed where large-scale stripping is required, such as in professional automotive shops. However, media blasting may not be suitable for all wheel types due to potential damage caused by aggressive abrasives.

Step 1: Ensure you have appropriate safety equipment, including gloves, protective eyewear, and a dust mask.

Step 2: Set up the media blaster with the desired media material and adjust air pressure settings according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Step 3: Carefully direct the stream of media at the chrome surface, starting from one corner and moving evenly across the entire wheel area.

Step 4: Continue until the chrome plating is entirely removed, ensuring no unevenness in the removal process.

Step 5: Clean off any remaining media material and residue before proceeding with refinishing steps.

Refinishing Your Wheels:

Once the chrome has been successfully removed from your wheels, it is time to consider how you want to refinish them. There are several options available based on personal taste:

1. Painted Finish: Apply a coat of primer followed by a paint color of choice, utilizing proper preparation techniques like sanding and degreasing.
2. Polished Finish: Use a polishing compound and buffing wheel to achieve a shiny, bare metal look.
3. Powder Coating: A more durable option, powder coating involves applying a fine powdered pigment electrostatically and then curing it under heat. This provides a uniform finish resistant to chips, scratches, and fading.


Removing chrome from wheels requires careful consideration and the right approach to protect both yourself and the wheels themselves. Whether you choose chemical stripping, mechanical methods, or media blasting, it is vital to prioritize safety by wearing protective gear throughout the process. After successfully removing the chrome plating, let your creativity shine through by choosing a refinishing method that best suits your personal style and preferences. Remember, this process may be time-consuming, but with patience, diligence, and attention to detail, you will achieve the desired results and transform your wheels into a unique statement on the road. CNC Milling CNC Machining