3 Easy DIY Steps To Fix Curb Rash On Your Tesla Wheels
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Want to know how to fix your curb-rashed Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, or Model X wheels... without spending hundreds of dollars in the process? It's quite easy once you know how to do it.
Unfortunately, curb rash sometimes happens. It can be quite a painful experience to grind the wheel of your beautiful Tesla against a concrete curb or barrier... especially the first time it happens... ESPECIALLY if it's SOMEONE ELSE'S Tesla.
When you curb your wheel, you basically have four options:
A. Do Nothing: This costs you nothing but your pride... but who wants to drive a beautiful Tesla with a scraped-up wheel?
B. Buy a new replacement wheel from Tesla or a third party: This costs several hundred dollars... including the cost and hassle of hiring someone to re-mount and re-balance your existing tire on the new wheel.
C. Hire a wheel repair specialist: This typically costs $100-$200, and involves scheduling an appointment with a mobile specialist or taking your wheel to their shop for the repair, where they grind away most of the damage and re-paint the wheel.
D. DIY Repair With Wheel Touch-Up Paint: This costs $30-$40, and involves prepping the damaged wheel and concealing the scrape with a bottle of specially-formulated wheel touch-up paint.
The do-it-yourself option to repair your curb-rashed Tesla wheel is a great way to save yourself a bunch of money... while getting some quality hands-on time with your car. Once you have everything you need, you should be able to finish the job in 1-2 hours.
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The process described below works for:
...fixing Tesla Model 3 curb rash.
...fixing Tesla Model Y curb rash.
...fixing Tesla Model S curb rash.
...fixing Tesla Model X curb rash.
Follow these 3 steps if you want to try fixing curb-rashed wheels on your own:
Step 1: Get Ready
Before you start your curb rash repair project, you'll need to take care of a few things.
First and foremost, you'll need to buy a bottle of wheel touch-up paint that matches the color of your wheels. Tesla wheels come in several different colors, so you'll want to get the right color of paint for your car model and wheel style. For example, the Tesla Model 3 vehicle has been available with a few different stock wheel styles... and each style has a different color. The Tesla Model Y is also available with different stock wheel styles... and each style has a different color. Unfortunately, Tesla does not sell wheel touch-up paint, and they do not openly publish the paint colors for their wheels, so you'll need to purchase the touch-up paint from a third party who has used other methods to determine the correct paint colors for the stock Tesla wheels.
If you haven't already found the right paint color that matches your wheels, Zink Wheels sells color-matched, professionally-mixed automotive touch-up paint for Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X wheels:
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Next, you'll need some other supplies such as clean cloth rags or towels to clean the wheel before painting, as well as some sandpaper and a sanding block if the curb rash needs to be smoothed-out before painting. You could simply apply the wheel touch-up paint over the damage, but depending upon how deep the grooves are, you may want to remove any sharp / rough edges with a piece of sandpaper before painting.
Finally, for best results, you'll want to have a clean, warm, dry, dust-free work area for painting. You're not doing high-quality body work on a classic show car, so you don't need a professional-quality paint booth... but in order for the paint to stick to the wheel and produce a good-looking result, you should work in a relatively controlled environment. If you can work inside a relatively clean garage instead of working outside, then that is preferred. Warmer temperatures are better than colder ones for painting, and working in a dry, dust-free area is best.
If you have the tools and the know-how to safely remove the wheel from your Tesla, then you may want to consider bringing the wheel indoors to a climate-controlled environment where you can place the wheel on a horizontal surface (floor, table, workbench, etc.) for more comfortable work.
Step 2: Prepare the Damaged Wheel
Once you've gathered everything you need and set up your work environment -- whether it's outside, inside your garage, or elsewhere indoors -- it's time to prepare the wheel for painting.
If you're fixing curb rash on an 18" Model 3 Aero wheel, a 19" Model Y Gemini wheel, or a 19" Model S Tempest, then you should remove the plastic wheel cover which is snapped onto the wheel. This will make it easier to remove any rough spots with sandpaper without accidentally scratching the wheel cover, it will make it easier to apply the touch-up paint to the edge of the wheel. When you're done with your repair, you can snap the wheel cover back into place.
If you choose to use sandpaper and a sanding block to smooth the damaged area of the wheel, then carefully do so... but take extra care not to scratch the surrounding area of the wheel with the sandpaper. Usually only the edge of the wheel near the tire is damaged, so you should be able to hold the sandpaper and sanding block at a 45-degree angle to only sand the wheel's edge... without touching the sandpaper to the other flat surfaces of the wheel which can cause scratches.
Zink Wheels Curb Rash Repair Kits include everything you need for curb rash repair, such as a sanding block, sanding discs, and wheel touch-up paint. You can check out the Curb Rash Repair Kits available for Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X vehicles here:
Find Tesla Wheel Curb Rash Repair Kits
Once you've removed any rough edges from the damaged area of the wheel, clean and dry the damaged wheel area thoroughly in preparation for touch-up paint.
Step 3: Apply Wheel Touch-Up Paint
It's finally time to paint! Shake your bottle of Tesla wheel touch-up paint vigorously for 1-2 minutes to thoroughly mix it, then start carefully applying the paint to the damaged area of the wheel.
If your touch-up paint bottle comes with an applicator brush, then use the brush to carefully apply a thin coat of paint to the damaged area. Wait 5-10 minutes for the paint to dry, mix the paint again, and repeat with additional thin coats of paint until the damaged area is fully concealed.
Once the final coat of paint is dry, you're done. You can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy your beautiful wheels again!
Bonus Tips For Repairing Tesla Wheel Curb Rash
Here are some extra tips for best results when repairing curb-rashed wheels on your Tesla:
Consider Removing the Wheel First: If you have the tools and knowledge to safely remove the damaged wheel from the car, then consider bringing it into a climate-controlled space and laying it flat for better results.
Practice First: Before jumping into your wheel repair job, get some practice by applying some paint to a piece of cardboard or a plastic or metal object.
Preparation Is Key: For best results, remove any rough edges of the damaged area with sandpaper or other abrasive tool, then clean the wheel thoroughly. Be careful not to scratch the surrounding area of the wheel.
Larger Damage May Require a Pro: Sometimes curb rash damage is too much for touch-up paint to conceal. If you feel that this is the case, contact us for a referral for a local wheel repair professional.
Although it might be a bit easier to buy a new wheel or hire a professional to repair a wheel curb rash on your Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, or Model X... it will cost you a lot more money to follow one of those routes. If you're willing to spend a bit of time collecting the items you need and don't mind rolling up your sleeves, then you can usually conceal your curb rash and make your wheels look great again in a couple of hours... and save a ton of cash in the process.
-- Tony Zink