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How To Fix Curb Rash

While curb rash may seem like a minor cosmetic issue, it can lead to more serious damage if left untreated. 

Scratches and scuffs can weaken the structure of the wheel or rim, making it more susceptible to further damage.

 Additionally, curb rash can cause vibrations and uneven tire wear, which can negatively impact the performance and safety of the vehicle. 

It’s important to address curb rash as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of the vehicle. In this post, we’ll take a detailed look at how to fix curb rash.

What is Curb Rash?

blue car with a damaged bumper and curb rash

Curb rash is a type of damage that occurs when the wheel or rim of a vehicle comes into contact with a curb or other solid object. It can cause scratches, scuffs, or even dents to the wheel or rim, and can affect both steel and alloy wheels. 

Curb rash is most commonly found on the outer edges of the wheel, where it is most likely to come into contact with a curb.

How Does Curb Rash Happen?

Curb rash can happen due to a variety of reasons such as poor parking or driving habits, a sudden impact, or even a collision. 

Poor parking habits like not being careful while pulling into a parking spot, not being aware of the surroundings while parking, or not paying attention while reversing can lead to curb rash. 

Also, hitting a pothole or a speed bump at high speed can cause damage to the wheel.

Can Curb Rash Be Fixed?

Close up of a bumper scratch

Yes, curb rash can be fixed. The severity of the curb rash will determine the method of repair. 

The milder cases of curb rash can be fixed by sanding, polishing, and repainting. For more severe cases, it may require a full wheel replacement. 

It’s important to have a professional inspect the wheel and determine the best course of action. It’s also important to keep in mind that the repair will not entirely restore the wheel to its original condition and may not be completely invisible.

Assessing the Damage

tire repair men inspecting a damaged car closely

To determine the severity of the curb rash, you’ll want to inspect the wheel or rim for any scratches, scuffs, or dents. 

The depth of the scratches and the size of the scuffs or dents can give you an idea of the severity of the damage. 

For example, shallow scratches and small scuffs are considered less severe, while deep scratches and large dents are considered more severe.

It’s also important to check for any cracks or bending in the wheel or rim, as these can indicate more serious damage. 

If you are unsure whether serious damage has occurred to your rim, contact an auto body repair shop that can provide you with an accurate assessment of the damage. Failure to repair serious damage can make the vehicle unsafe to drive.

Can Curb Rash Cause Vibration?

Curb rash can cause vibrations when driving. 

When a wheel or rim is damaged, it can cause the tire to sit unevenly on the wheel, which in turn can cause vibrations in the steering wheel or the entire vehicle. 

This vibration can be felt at higher speeds and can be dangerous if left untreated. 

The vibration can also cause uneven wear on the tires, which can lead to a decrease in the overall performance and safety of the vehicle.

Can Curb Rash Damage Tires?

In addition to the uneven wear that vibration can cause, curb rash can result in damage to tires if the tire comes into contact with the curb or other solid objects at the same time as the wheel. 

This contact can result in punctures, sidewall damage, or other types of damage to the tire. A damaged tire should be replaced as soon as possible.

Preparing for Repair

A man taking out his car's tire

Before starting any repairs, it is important to properly clean the wheel and surrounding areas. This includes removing any dirt, dust, or debris that may have accumulated on the wheel. 

Use a mild detergent and a soft brush to clean the wheel, and then rinse it thoroughly with water. 

It’s also important to clean the surrounding areas, such as the brake caliper, rotor, and suspension components, to ensure that the repair is performed on a clean surface.

Safety is important when performing any repairs, so it’s important to wear gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from any debris or chemicals that may be present during the repair process.

How to Fix Curb Rash 

a techinician inspecting a tire's back rim

Painting and Repainting

Painting and repainting is a method of repairing curb rash by covering the damaged area with paint. 

This method is best for mild curb rash and can help to conceal the damage. 

After preparing the wheel for repair as outlined above, the following steps are used for painting and repainting:

  1. Sand the damaged area: Use fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand down the damaged area. This will help to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to.
  2. Apply primer: Apply a primer to the damaged area to help the paint adhere better. Allow the primer to dry completely.
  3. Apply paint: Apply paint to the damaged area using a paint gun or brush. Use multiple thin coats to build up the paint and achieve an even finish. Allow the paint to dry completely between coats.
  4. Apply clear coat: Apply a clear coat to the painted area to protect the paint and give it a glossy finish. Allow the clear coat to dry completely.

It’s important to note that the paint may not match the original colour of the wheel or rim exactly, and also painting and repainting is a temporary solution, it may not last as long as other methods like sanding and polishing or full wheel replacement.

Using Wheel Repair Kits

a man getting ready to repair his tire

For a better repair of minor damage, a wheel repair kit can be used. 

These kits are available for purchase from an auto parts store and will come with the tools you need for making minor repairs to the wheel at home. 

The instructions on the kit will provide you with detailed usage information for the particular product you’ve purchased, but the typical steps are listed below:

  1. Prepare the damaged area: Use fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand down the damaged area, this will help the filler to adhere better.
  2. Apply filler: Use the filler provided in the kit to fill in the scratches, dents, and scuffs. Follow the instructions on the kit and make sure the filler is applied evenly and smoothly.
  3. Paint or repaint the wheel: The remaining steps are the same as steps 2-4 in the previous section.

Like before, the paint might not match the wheel exactly. Also, the quality of the repair will depend on the quality of the kit and the skill of the person doing the repair. 

It’s important to read the instructions carefully and to follow them exactly to achieve the best results.

Sanding and Polishing

a man sanding his bumper

Although some light sanding was done in the painting and repainting process, it was primarily to prepare the surface for paint. 

To get out deeper scratches than paint alone can conceal, deeper sanding must be used. 

After preparing the wheel for repair, you can remove mild to medium scratches with the following steps:

  1. Sand the damaged area: Use coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the damaged surface and create a smooth surface. Start with a coarse grit (60-80) and gradually work your way up to finer grits (150-2000). Sand the area evenly, taking care not to sand too much of the surrounding areas.
  2. Apply polishing compound: Apply a polishing compound to the damaged area and use a polisher or buffer to work the compound into the surface. This will help to remove any remaining scratches and scuffs and restore the shine of the wheel.
  3. Apply wax: Apply a coat of wax to the wheel to protect it from further damage and to keep it looking shiny.
A man polishing his tire

It’s important to note that this method takes time and patience, and it’s important to use the right grit sandpaper and polishing compound to avoid damaging the surface more. 

Also, the results will depend on the severity of the curb rash, and it may not be able to remove deep scratches or dents.

Replacing the Wheel

Sometimes, the damage to the wheel is too severe to adequately restore its beauty. In these cases, it’s best to replace the wheel. 

If the damage is severe enough to threaten the safety of the vehicle, replacing the wheel is often your only safe option. Here are the steps for replacing the wheel:

new tire with polished rim
  1. Purchase a new wheel: Purchase a new wheel that matches the make, model, and year of the vehicle. It’s important to purchase a wheel that is the same size and style as the original wheel, as using a different size or style of the wheel can negatively impact the performance and safety of the vehicle.
  2. Remove the old wheel: Remove the old wheel from the vehicle by using the appropriate tools such as a lug wrench and jack. Make sure to follow the proper safety precautions when doing this.
  3. Install the new wheel: Install the new wheel onto the vehicle by following the proper torque specifications. Make sure that the wheel is properly aligned and balanced. If you don’t have the equipment to properly align and balance a wheel, have a professional do it. Proper alignment and balance are and important part of ride quality and safety.
  4. Test drive: Take the vehicle for a test drive to ensure that the new wheel is working correctly and that the vehicle is handling and braking properly.

It’s important to note that this method is the most expensive and time-consuming, but it is the most effective way of getting the wheel back to its original condition. 

After the Repair

newly repaired tire rim

It’s important to keep in mind that the repair will not entirely restore the wheel to its original condition, so you may need to perform regular maintenance to keep the wheel in good shape. 

Depending on the repair method used, it may be necessary to perform follow-up procedures or maintenance to ensure the curb rash stays concealed.

For example, if the wheel was painted or repainted, it may be necessary to reapply the paint or clear coat to protect the wheel from further damage. The paint may start to fade or peel over time due to exposure to sunlight, temperature changes, and other factors. 

Touching up the paint or reapplying a clear coat can help to prolong the life of the repair and keep the wheel looking its best.

man polishing his tire

If the wheel was repaired using a wheel repair kit, you may need to reapply the filler and paint after some time. The filler may start to shrink or crack over time, which can lead to the reappearance of the curb rash. 

Regularly inspecting the wheel and reapplying the filler and paint as necessary will keep the curb rash from becoming a problem again.

In addition to these follow-up procedures, regular cleaning and protecting the wheel with a sealant or wax can also help to prolong the life of the repair and keep up the wheel’s appearance. 

It’s important to always consult with a professional repair shop to determine the best course of action for your specific case.

Getting Professional Help

New tire mags

While not all cases of curb rash pose a threat to the safety of the vehicle, it can be difficult to get the high-quality results you want on your own, even for mild scratches. 

Although you now know how to fix curb rash on your own, you may want a greater guarantee that the results will turn out as well as possible. 

To ensure your vehicle looks its best after the repair, it’s best to choose a quality auto body repair shop with the know-how to provide beautiful and long-lasting fixes to your curb rash problem. 

At CSN JD Collision, we make it our goal to treat our repair shop as though it were yours. You’ll get the same high-quality care that we’d give to our own vehicles. 

If your vehicle has a case of car rash that you’d like fixed, contact us today.