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How Much Does a Scratched Rim Repair Cost?

  • Car Care Tips
  • Natasha Young
  • 8 minutes

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No matter how well we care for our cars, we can’t escape from damage forever. It can be major and obvious, like a battery replacement. Or something less evident, like a scratched rim or curb rash. In this case, you can get the rims replaced or fixed. But how much does a scratched rim repair cost? Read to know more. 

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Different types of rims 

If you want to figure out how much it will cost to fix curb damage, you need to know what kind of rims you have. 

Steel wheel rims 

If you have an alloy wheel, you may need to sand it down and repaint it. Steel is strong and can take a lot of wear and tear. If your steel rims are bent, you might want to have a professional fix them. Most of the time, they can be fixed.  

Chrome-plated wheel rims  

If you have a chrome wheel, you may need to re-plate it or get a new one. They may need to be sandblasted and re-plated, which is usually very expensive. Most of the time, it’s cheaper to buy a new chrome rim than to fix the old one.  

Aluminum alloy wheel rims 

If you have an alloy wheel, you may need to sand it down and repaint it. These wheels are often included in new cars made from an aluminum alloy. Most of the time, they are painted, and a clear coat is often added as well. If they are bent, it can be hard to fix them in a safe way. They can be sanded and repainted if they have been scratched or dinged up.  

Plastic-clad wheel rims 

If your wheel is made of plastic, you probably only need to replace it. Plastic cladding often looks like chrome, but it is much lighter and cheaper for the manufacturer. Most of the time, fixing plastic that has been broken is impossible. Instead, you can either replace the whole wheel or try to remove and replace the plastic cladding, which isn’t always possible. 

Scratched rim repair cost  

Damaged wheels and rims often get scratches, curb rash, bends, and cracks. It can be expensive to buy a new set of wheels. But getting each wheel fixed in a shop could cost you between $50 and $400. The cost varies based on the size, type, and amount of damage to the wheel. 

Rim type   Scratched rim repair cost   
Steel wheel rims  It costs between $50 and $150 to sand, putty, and paint steel wheels, but most people don’t bother. 
Chrome-plated wheel rims    Damage repair and re-plating can cost as much as $500 and usually no less than $200. Because of this, chrome wheels that have been scratched or scuffed are often just replaced. 
Aluminum alloy wheel rims  Sand, putty, and paint will cost $50–$150. It can be hard to match the original color. 
Plastic-clad wheel rims  Plastic can’t be fixed well, so plastic-clad wheels are usually replaced. 

Factors influencing the repair cost    

Most of the time, the wheels are one of the easiest parts of a car to break. How much it costs to fix them tends to vary. It depends on things like the size of the wheel, the type of metal, any damage, and any extra services that need to be done. 

Size and type of wheel 

Alloy wheels 

Most cars have wheels made of alloy. They are light but strong and nice to look at. They are mostly made of aluminum, magnesium, or a mix of the two. When they tell you how much it will cost to fix your wheels, they will assume you have alloy wheels. The size of the wheels is another thing that can change how much it costs to fix something. Most of the time, smaller wheels cost less. While fixing bigger ones would cost a lot more money. 

Steel wheel 

Steel is another material that is often used to make wheels. They are much cheaper and stronger than regular alloy wheels. But most shops that fix wheels don’t fix steel wheels. If they do, they’ll charge about the same as repairs to alloy wheels. How well a shop can fix steel wheels depends on how skilled its technicians are. Also, it will depend on how good their weapons are. 

Customized wheels 

There are also custom wheels with a lot of detail, like chrome finishes and the like. Most shops that fix wheels don’t usually work on custom wheels, which is a shame. Some shops can fix chrome wheels, but they will charge you more. Buying new custom wheels would be a much better deal for you. Or even better, try fixing them yourself. 

Type of damage 

Your wheels could have minor damage, like scrapes, scratches, and curb rash. But it can also cause bends, breaks, and cracks, which are much worse. 

Other possible types of wheel and rim damages 

Cracked rims 

They are the hardest to fix when a wheel is damaged. Most places that fix wheels abandon cracked rims. Those who do will only know how much the repairs will cost after a consultation. To fix cracked rims, you would have to go through a long process: Welding, shaping, smoothing, repainting, and refinishing. 

If your wheel is cracked, it’s probably best to get a new one. The wheel has lost its structural integrity even if it can be fixed. It might be dangerous to use. If you still want to fix it, it will cost you between $80 and $125 to fix a small crack. But replacing the rim will cost between $200 and $500. 

Bent wheel 

The exterior part of the wheel is the bent wheel. It tends to bend and dent when it hits something hard enough to change its shape. To fix it, you must hammer on the bent wheel until it returns to its original shape.  

If the wheel doesn’t need to be repainted or refinished, simple repairs would average cost about $75 per wheel. If not, you would have to pay up to $200 for painting, refinishing, and extra services. 

Painting and refinishing wheels 

Most places that fix wheels also charge for repainting and refinishing when they give you a price. On the other hand, some shops will charge extra for these things. I think that after you fix your wheels, you should have them repainted and refinished. 

For refinishing and either paint matching or powder coating, you can expect to pay at least $50 extra per wheel. Some shops can re-chrome wheels that have already been chromed. This can cost between $150 and more than $200. 

Tire removal 

Taking your wheels off the tires is another service that can add to the repair cost. Most shops would charge an extra $10 per tire for the work it takes to take it off the car. 

When should you fix your wheel instead of getting a new one? 

Most people decide whether to replace a wheel that has been damaged by a curb or just fix it based on how much it will cost. The good news is that many simple wheel repairs are cheap, but you should always think you act.  

Insurance vs. Cash 

The first step is to get a quote from a trustworthy and licensed auto repair shop. Their technicians can give you an accurate estimate of how much the whole thing will cost, which you can then use to decide whether you want to use your insurance company. If the price is fair, paying cash may be the easiest and fastest way to get what you want. If the damage is bigger and more expensive, have the shop send your insurance company a quote. 

Replacement process  

Unfortunately, sometimes curb rash causes so much damage, like a cracked or bent rim, that you have to replace it. The good news is that when you bring your car in for the first quote, the technician will probably be able to look at it.  

They will examine how your wheel and axel look and how safe they are. Once a mechanic has completely reviewed your car, you can make an appointment for service and ask your body shop about rental car options based on your needs. Once your car is in the shop, it shouldn’t take long for the wheels to look as good as new and for you to be back on the road. 

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