Have you ever wondered what REALLY goes into chrome plating a wheel? Well, today is your lucky day. Take a peek behind closed doors to see how it's really done.
It all begins with a simple aluminum wheel...
Each one is sent off to get stripped. All of the dirt, grime, brake dust, paint, clear coat, and any other finish is completely removed, so you're left with a totally bare, "raw" aluminum wheel.
This "raw" wheel is hand polished in polishing shop. The end result is a perfect wheel that has a mirror-like appearance. Hand polishing removes any imperfections on the surface of the wheel and prepares it for the plating process.
At the first stage of the actual plating process, wheel is cleaned in a special soap bath to remove any polishing compound and then rinsed again in an alkaline bath. After this, wheel is placed into a zincate bath, after which it is rinsed again to prepare it for the second zincate bath. All of our wheels go through a double zincate bath in order to achieve the tightest, most uniform application of zincate, which will then result in the smooth surface of a wheel.
After the second zincate bath and subsequent rinse, wheel then goes to the nickel strike bath. This is a very important step. Nickel strike bath should be kept very clean to ensure the best possible bond of nickel to the aluminum surface of the wheel. Compare this layer of nickel to a primer paint laid down first. If this step is not done properly, chrome finish will not like stick to the wheel, just like paint won't stick to the body of your car if it's not primered first.
Coming out of the nickel strike bath, the wheel is placed into a copper bath. This bath is filled with a special type of copper called "Acid Copper". Acid Copper helps fill any imperfections in the metal of the wheel. Then this copper layer is hand buffed to smooth out the surface to a high luster finish.
After this bath, wheel is ready for it's most important step:
Nickel bath (or actually baths)!
This is what makes or breaks the chrome wheel. Wheel is first submerged in a semi-bright nickel bath for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size). Nickel is very important, since it's the only thing that gives a wheel its corrosion resistance.
Imagine yourself going to the beach every day, in the blazing heat, without any sun screen. Sooner or later you will get sunburn...or worse (hopefully not). Nickel is like a sunscreen for the wheel...it protects it from the elements such as brake dust, car wash chemicals, harsh weather conditions and much more.
Believe it or not, the wheel is still not ready yet...
Following two more rinses...and believe us, these are just as important as the baths, the wheel finally goes into the chromium bath! This is what you know as the "chrome" look and is what gives the wheel that amazing "bling bling" shiny appearance.
This step is quite easy, since it was all the preceding steps that had to be done right in order to prepare the wheel for it. Just 1.5 minutes in this chromium bath is all you need. Ta Da!!! Of course the wheels are still rinsed twice again, and then hand polished and inspected for any defects before being boxed up.
We hope you enjoyed this little "tour".
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SET OF 4 NEW 17" MERCEDES BENZ S430 S500 S600 S320 S350 CHROME WHEELS RIMS 65307
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