Will scratched alloy wheels rust? Alloy rust and corrosion

Alloy wheels have many advantages, mainly due to their light weight, but one of the reasons they are so well loved is that they look great as well as improves performance, fuel consumption and tyre durability – if you're tempted by alloys, upgrade your vehicle with premium Alloy Wheels in Lisburn, available at Tyre Safety Centre. But will alloy wheels rust, and if so, what does it mean for your expensive, good-looking, efficient tyres? Let's take a look.

Not Rust

Rust is the specific name given to iron oxide which attacks ferrous metals – that is to say those that contain iron. Rust is instantly recognisable from its reddish brown colouration and the way it makes the metal surface feel rough and abrasive. Left untreated, rust can actually eat its way through the metal, leaving it very weak and holey with dramatically reduced structural integrity. As alloy wheels are usually not made using ferrous metals, rust is not usually a problem for them.

But Corrosion

However, alloys can suffer from a type of corrosion under the right (wrong) circumstances. This usually appears as bubbles under the paintwork, eventually bursting into white patches which will crumble if rubbed with a firm finger. This corrosion is also a form of oxide, and if left untreated, it will begin to damage the integrity of your tyres and wheels, causing slow punctures, weaknesses and more.

How Does Corrosion Start?

Alloy wheels are not as strong as steel wheels, but they are usually absolutely fine for regular commutes on good roads. However, over time, your wheels might sustain light damage, such as scratches or scrapes. These are not a problem in themselves: the problem lies with the protection coating which has now been removed by the light damage. The removal of this coating means that your alloy wheels are now vulnerable to oxygen, water and so on – and this can be enough to start the corrosion process.

So What Should I Do?

Keep an eye on your alloy tyres – you want them to keep looking good so make sure you check the condition of your tyres whenever you clean them. As soon as you spot a patch of corrosion beginning, take it to your local garage and ask them to fix it for you. Corrosion begins as a purely cosmetic problem, and if sorted quickly (with sanding and the application of a new coat of varnish), your wheels will be pristine once more and resistant to corrosion for the time being.