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CalChrome Clear

What is CalChrome Clear Coat?

Salt corrosion to alloy wheels

Salt Corrosion

CalChrome Clear Coat is a decorative chrome finish for all seasons. Specially developed for vehicles in areas where inclement weather is prevalent, and the use of road salt is prone to cause surface rust; Calchrome Clear Coat is not subject to the types of corrosion and surface rust that standard electroplated chrome is vulnerable to. This is due to its proprietary formulation, deposition technique, and unique clear-coat finish.

For many years, customers in these locations have wanted chrome wheels, but have had the dilemma of what to do when the weather changes. Typically this has meant either storing the car during these months, or switching to painted wheels.

Lexus IS-350 wheel that has been processed in CalChrome Clearcoat

CalChrome Clear
Lexus IS350

CalChrome Clear Coat is the solution to this dilemma. A finish that looks as good in the summer as it does in the winter, without the constant worry of salt corrosion. To ensure the resistance of the product, CalChrome Clear Coat has been extensively tested in a salt spray bath for over 240 continuous hours. This goes well beyond the testing specification of standard OEM parts of only 66 hours.

CalChrome Clear utilizes a proprietary dry method of applying metals and clear coats. It is a combination of two processes, Sputter Deposition and Powder Coat.

Sputter Deposition is a Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) method of depositing thin films of metals by electro-statically charging the metals and sputtering or ejecting (vaporizing) metals from a target or source inside a vacuum chamber (to reduce contamination), which then deposits these metals onto the wheel or substrate.

After the metals are applied to the wheel in the vacuum chamber, a clear coat finish of finely ground particles of clear and/or colored pigments and resin is then electro-statically charged and applied on top of the metals. This powder coating is then baked in a curing oven until melted and fused into a solid and durable coating.

Due to the nature of the processing, some inclusions (air bubbles and/or fish eyes) may appear on each wheel in the clear coat. These inclusions are normal. Inclusions are not considered to be a defect and do not effect the longevity of the chrome finish. The Calchrome Clear Coat process works best on flat faced wheels with a small or no lip. It is difficult to get coverage on wheels with deep lips.

Below is an example of one of our test wheels. You will notice how the surface and bead seat areas of the wheel is virtually unchanged by the harsh testing. The back side of the wheel on the other hand, is a different story. The mounting pad of the wheel was intentionally left uncoated to show what will happen to unprotected wheels when exposed to this type of environment. The results are conclusive; high amounts of corrosion to the uncoated area, and no damage to the protected areas.

Photo of a test wheel from the front, no corrosion
Front, no corrosion.
Photo of a test wheel from the back, corrosion to uncoated area
Back, corrosion to uncoated area.

Calchrome Clear Pricing

» CalChrome Clear your alloy one piece wheels. «
Call For Pricing 661-294-0170

Due to the custom nature of CalChrome Clear Coat, and the method that is used to apply the finish to the wheels, process time is aprox. 10-15 business days NOT including transit time.

Payment is required prior to any work being performed. Payment for chrome work is accepted via Personal / Company check, PayPal, or Money Order. You may send payment along with the wheels attached to the Customer Instruction Sheet. This will help expedite processing time. If you are unsure of the work to be performed, we can upon receiving your wheels, send you an estimate once we have determined what work needs to be performed.

We do NOT offer CalChrome Clear on ANY
plastic accessory center caps, parts or trim pieces.
Chrome replacement caps are available for most vehicle models. Please call for details.

What About the Competition?

Throughout the R&D of CalChrome Clear Coat, we not only required that the finish have a high resistance to salt corrosion, but also have the unique visual qualities of electro-plated chrome. We spared no expense in developing the product, and the result proves it. When compared to the other all season "chrome" product, it becomes evident that CalChrome Clear Coat has a superior color finish. This is due to the fact that CalChrome Clear Coat uses true nickel-chrome deposition to achieve its reflectivity and luster. Other finishes use aluminum only, which creates a flat finish with little depth and no luster.

CalChrome Clear wheel on the left, Competitions wheel on the right.

CalChrome Clear on the left, the competition on the right.

Notice the surface quality in the comparison example below. CalChrome Clear Coat on the left has a smooth high gloss appearance, that flows perfectly with the contours of the underlying wheel surface. The wheel on the right quickly breaks down as it becomes evident that much of the uneven looking reflections of the other coating is due to the pitted and "orange peeled" surface texture.

Close up showing the difference between CalChrome Clears surface quality on the left, and the competition on the right.

How Does it Compare to Traditional Chrome Plating?

Its easy to see the difference between CalChrome Clear Coat, and a the other all season coating. It is however more difficult to spot the difference between CalChrome Clear Coat, and our standard, high quality electro chrome plating. This was our goal, and the most difficult task in the evolution of the finish.

Below is an example of two identical wheels, one in CalChrome Clear Coat, one in California Chrome Wheel Inc. standard high quality electro chrome plating. The two finishes look nearly identical, however the addition of a clear top of the CalChrome Clear Coat fninshed wheel makes it highly resistant to salt corrosion.

CalChrome Clear compared to an Electroplated wheel

CalChrome Clear on the left, traditional high quality electro plated chrome on the right.

CalChrome Clear FAQ

Q: Do I have to remove my CalChrome Clear wheels during winter? A: No, CalChrome Clear is an all season finish.
Q: How do I care for my wheels? A: Care and Maintenance
Q: What if I rub against the curb? A: Just like our electroplated chrome, if the outer shell has been compromised, corrosion can now get under the finish, and cause damage to the base material. We recommend ASAP that you remove the wheel and return to us for repair and re-finishing.
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