Most alloy wheels are painted or powder coated with a top layer of powder coat clear. Powder coat is far more durable compared to paint. The wheels start out with a primer sprayed onto the prepared bare metal, followed by an automotive style paint and then a final clear coat that seals the wheel and finish against water and air that can cause corrosion.
Powder coated wheels can come in many different colors and shades. Each color can give off a different effect when applied. Many people like to powder coat their wheels in different colors - often an anthracite grey, gun metal gray, or even a plain black. Some of our customers have had their wheels powder coated the exact same color as their car! Using even a slightly different silver, for example, tends to make the car stand out! It's often surprising what an effect power coating has on the "look" of the car!
Most wheels that come to us have been damaged from brushing up against a curb or other road hazard, scraping the finish off the outer edge of the wheel and damaging the underlying metal, a condition we call "curb rash". Other types of damage include scrapes across the spokes and damage from improper use of mounting machined or torque wrenches.
Unfortunately, there is virtually no way to touch up such damage. Proper application of paint and clear coat means that both must go onto the wheel as one coat. To simply touch up a single damaged area will leave a discontinuity between the different applications of clear coat, which will eventually allow corrosion to enter. Aluminum alloy that has been exposed to air begins to corrode almost immediately, leaving a microscopic layer of corrosion on the metal, which will prevent the finish from sticking correctly.