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Chrome Exchange

Are you ready to upgrade your plain wheels to brilliant chrome wheels but do not want to wait for your wheels to be plated? California Chrome Wheel has offered Chrome Wheel Exchange Programs as a courtesy to its customers since 1986! With this program, you can receive a set of chrome wheels in advance and enjoy the beauty of your newly transformed vehicle without any downtime! Here are three great reasons to participate in the Chrome Exchange Program:

    • Convenience

You do not have to wait for your current wheels to be plated! You can receive your new chrome exchange wheels in advance! Upon receipt and installation of your chrome wheels, simply re-ship your silver-painted wheels back to us in our provided reusable packaging.

    • Savings

You only end up paying for the cost of the chrome plating and shipping! You do not have to pay for the cost of an entirely new set of wheels. Aftermarket wheels can cost up to five times the amount our Chrome Wheel Exchange Program!

    • Value

With chrome-plated original equipment (OE) wheels on your vehicle, it will retain its resale value much longer than with silver-painted or aftermarket wheels. Aftermarket wheels are often trendy and may go out of style in just a few months. OE wheels will always be popular because of their exact fitment.

With the Chrome Wheel Exchange Program, you get the wheels you want now for a fraction of the cost while increasing the value of your vehicle! You will not find a faster, more efficient way to put chrome wheels on your vehicle than with the Chrome Exchange Program.

How Does It Work?

Chrome wheels on Jaguar XJ

To participate in the Chrome Wheel Exchange Program, you must have the same wheel in factory silver (same size, design, the exact same). Currently chromed wheels are not accepted as return cores in this exchange program. Also, a refundable security deposit / core charge is required and is designed to cover our purchase of the stock wheels ahead of time to chrome plate. This makes the chrome exchange possible. The deposit is refundable once we receive back your stock, silver-finish OE wheels (like for like in the same style we sent you chromed) in good, not previously chromed and not damaged condition.

Upon receiving your new chrome wheels, you should make sure they are like for like (same size, design, the exact same) with your current un-plated wheels. After installation, the un-plated wheels should be repackaged in the same cartons that you received the chrome wheels in. Please be sure to use the protective rim rings that were originally shipped with your chrome wheels. Once this is done, simply return the wheels back to California Chrome Wheel freight prepaid with your request for core refund.

Chrome Exchange Cycle
1. Order Placed Invoice sent with total cost of the chrome plating plus two way shipping plus core deposit.
2. Payment Payment is made via credit card, COD, personal or business check (must clear prior to shipping).
3. Shipping The new chrome wheels are shipped to your location via UPS, or Cal-Overnight. Pickup by appointment is also available.
4. Installation Chrome wheels installed to the vehicle, usually utilizing existing tires. Local installation through CalChrome is also available if picking up.
5. Shipping Original, un-plated wheels are shipped back to CalChrome using provided, pre-paid shipping labels, and re-using packing materials.
6. Inspection Once original un-plated wheels are received at CalChrome, they are inspected for damage, and out of round conditions.
7. Core Refund Refund of core deposit is issued after wheel passes inspection. If repairs are needed, they will be deducted from the core deposit.

How Much Does It Cost?

The following formula determines the cost of a Chrome Wheel Exchange:

Chrome Plating (Depends on the style of wheel and type of finish requested.)
Shipping (Depends on location and how fast you wish the wheels to be delivered.)
(Depends on the year and style of the wheel, which determines this value, also known as the core value. This is refundable upon us receiving back your wheels.)

Your Gross Cost (Cost of plating, shipping and core deposit. Once you receive your Core Deposit refund, your NET cost is the chrome plating and shipping.)

* For wheel exchanges Call For Pricing 661-294-0170, but price is dependent on the year, make, and model of the wheel requested.

Please Note: In order to receive back full credit on your refundable core deposit, your core wheels must be returned to us within 15 days of purchase. When you take advantage of our chrome exchange program, you are using our wheel inventory (which is why we charge a refundable core deposit). If after 30 days you have not returned your factory original wheels, we may be forced to purchase new wheel cores to replenish our stock. If this is the case, your sale will become an outright purchase and you will not receive back your core deposit.

Please remember that your Core Deposit is fully refundable. Refunds are issued once we receive and inspect your good, un-plated, like-for-like wheels.

What About Shipping

United States shipping time in days

Freight is responsibility of the customer for each direction. Shipping costs will vary by location. Please contact us for a custom shipping quote for your wheels. Return labels are available upon request. Simply tell your sales associate that you would like return freight added to your invoice and the shipping department will affix return labels to your boxes. That way, when you box your original wheels into our boxes, you only have to reverse the flaps, tape up the boxes, and drop them off at a FedEx Office.

When using your own carrier, we recommend using insured and trackable methods of shipping such as UPS or FedEx.

What About Accessories?

Picture of Mercedes-Benz Locking Lugnut

Upgrading to chrome wheels is a large investment not only in your vehicles appearance, but the value as well. CalChrome offers very cost effective ways to protect that investment. When ordering a chrome exchange, don't forget to order a set of wheel locks to go along with it. This simple and affordable anti-theft device has been proven time and time again to be the best defense against unauthorized wheel removal.

Link to the Nitrogen tire inflation section

If having your wheels installed locally at our Valencia facility, don't forget to request Nitrogen tire inflation. Again, a very cost effective way to protect your investment. By retaining the proper inflation longer, your vehicle will handle better, get better fuel economy, enhance the safety and reliability, and help your tires last longer. Not to mention that by purging most of the gasses and replacing it with nitrogen, almost all of the corrosive properties are removed from wheel, helping to maintain the life of your wheel.

Which Tire Mounting Lubricant to Use With Chrome Wheels

Corrosion to the bead seat of a wheel caused by water based lubricant.

The image to the right is unfortunately a common problem that people experience with chrome wheels which have been mounted using a cheap water based tire lubricant. This corrosion occurs because inexpensive tire lubricants are water based (and often further diluted) and traps moisture in the contact area between the wheel and tire on your vehicle as well as inside the tire itself. Through normal use of the vehicle this moisture over time corrodes the chrome plating and can eventually cause separation of the chrome from the wheel. This often leads to a wheel leaking air beneath the chrome, even though the tire is perfect.

Wax based Euro Tire Paste lubricant

The good news is, it is completely preventable! For years performance and luxury car manufacturers as well as aerospace and racing industries have used wax based, paste lubricant for tire mounting. The reason? There is no water in the solution to promote corrosion between the tire and the wheel. In fact, modern tire paste lubricants have added rust inhibitors to further protect against oxidation and ensure a long life for your chrome wheels!

Insist upon European Tire Paste lubricant and Nitrogen tire inflation to ensure the maximum protection for your chrome wheels!

Insist upon European Tire Paste lubricant and Nitrogen tire inflation to ensure the maximum protection for your chrome wheels!
Nitrogen Tire Inflation

To get the ultimate in protection against atmosphere based moisture for your wheels, insist on Nitrogen tire inflation as well as European Tire Paste mounting lubricant. Because nitrogen is dry and does not carry moisture, oxidation is reduced almost completely. When a normal compressor is used, the humidity in the air condenses in the form of water vapor in your tires, which can lead to the the same type of corrosion to the inner wheel or tire as outlined above.

Read more about Nitrogen tire inflation here.

Returning Your Un-Plated Wheels (core return / core refund)

When returning your un-plated cores to us, please utilize the same shipping materials that the chromed wheels arrived in. See here for details. If we have charged you for return freight shipping labels, simply reverse the flaps of the box your wheels came in so the return labels are showing. This is just another way CalChrome makes chrome exchanges as painless as possible.

Example of true round, un-plated wheels

Example of true, un-plated wheels.

Please send a copy of your invoice along with your good wheel cores indicating your request for a core refund. Be sure that the core wheels that you are returning to us are like for like, with the chrome wheels we sent you (same size, same style, same exact) and are in good condition with no damage or curb scrapes (some slight damage such as paint only scraping is permissible). Frequently wheels that have lower profile tires on them can have flat spots or out of round conditions. Most often we see this on the back side portion (inside lip) of the wheel. Please make sure you see them spun on a spin balancer at speed to make sure none of these conditions exist. Any questions, please refer to examples below, or call our sales department at 661-294-0170.

If damage does exist, partial refunds are possible once we inspect and determine the amount of repair required to recondition the wheel to be sold again. These repair charges will be deducted from your core deposit. In order to receive full credit for a refund, wheels must be returned with a copy of the original invoice, within 15 days from the date of that invoice. If this final step is not done, the sale may be considered an outright purchase and no refund will be given. If longer than 15 days is required to return the cores please call for a return confirmation number to allow for more time.

Have Your Wheels Spun

Insist upon European Tire Paste lubricant and Nitrogen tire inflation to ensure the maximum protection for your chrome wheels!
We understand that it can be disconcerting to learn that the wheels you returned to us were bent (out of round) or warped, especially if you noticed no problems with the handling of your vehicle. This is why it is every important for you to have your wheels spun on a high-speed balancer after the tires have been removed, and visually inspect the condition of the wheels.
Link to an example of a good core return

Good Core Return

Link to an example of a bent core return

Bent Core Return

Link to an example of an unacceptable core return

Unacceptable Core Return

Tire balancer capable of run-out measurement.

Tire balancer capable of
run-out measurement.

Once your existing wheels have been taken off of the vehicle, have them spun on a wheel balancer in the shop where the new chromes are being installed. Spinning the wheels will make apparent most damage that is not visible when viewing the stationary wheel. In order to receive a full core refund, there must be no flat spots or out of round conditions to the wheel, or repair costs will be subtracted from the refund.

Click the videos above to see how we test wheels that are returned. Notice on the two damaged wheels that the wheel appears to "hop" when compared to the background. These are examples of how a wheel can appear round just from looking at it, but when spun at speed reveals it's true condition.

What If My Wheels Are Damaged?

  • Curb Rash - Curb Scrapes
  • Heavily Damaged
  • Bent

Your original wheels must not have any severe accident damage, flat spots, curb scraping, or lip damage. Prior to returning the wheels, you should have them spun by themselves on a spin balancer to make sure they are true (no lateral up-and-down or side-to-side movement). Although, if you do have repairable damage (please contact us), we can perform the repairs and deduct the costs from your core refund / security deposit. In order to receive a full core refund for your security deposit, wheels must be true, although we can repair and deduct charges from your deposit.

Check Both Sides Of The Wheels

It is important to check both the front and the back of the wheel for damage. Pictured below is an example of a core return set of wheels. The facial portions of the wheels appear to be ok. Upon further examination of the back side of one of the wheels, there is an out of round/damage condition. However, this damage is repairable. These repair costs will be deducted from the core refund/security deposit. For repairs Call For Pricing 661-294-0170 it depends on the severity.

Wheel Front
Wheel Front looks normal
Bent wheel (back view)
Bent wheel (back view)

Minor Damage (acceptable)

If your wheels have sustained minor curb damage (scraping), more often than not, your wheels will be able to be plated. The photos below are examples of acceptable curb damage that we are able to blend in during our polishing procedure at no additional charge.

Example 1 of a Curb Scrape Example 2 of a Curb Scrape
Example 3 of a Curb Scrape Example 4 of a Curb Scrape

Facial paint scratches or slight curb scraping may or may not require repair. This may be an opportunity for you to upgrade to chrome-plated wheels without the added expense of repairing possible damages such as curb scrapes to your wheel. Slight damage does not rule out the possibility for you to participate in the program, although repair charges may be deducted from your core refund. If you have more extensive damage, please call us for more information.

Moderate Damage (acceptable - minus repair cost)

If your wheels have sustained more substantial damage from curb scraping or curb hit, it is best to contact one of our sales reps and provide a picture of the damage. In most cases this type of damage will still qualify for a core refund, however, the repair costs will be deducted from the total.

Example 5 of a Curb Scrape

As you can see in these examples, the actual metal of the wheel has been
damaged in a curb hit, rather than just a surface scratch.

Example 6 of a Curb Scrape

Wheels That Are (unacceptable) Are:

  • Replica / reproduction and all other non-factory wheels
  • Steel wheels
  • Chrome wheels
  • Wheels that have been previously plated, remanufactured
  • Chrome clad wheels
  • Pitted / corroded wheels (including chrome wheels)
  • Wheels that have been previously repaired, machined, or welded
  • Wheels that have been modified in any way
  • Wheels bent / damaged beyond repair (including all center-bent wheels)
  • Cracked wheels

Replica Wheels (unacceptable)

Wheels that are not factory or OEM (Original Equipment Manufactured), such as replicas will not qualify as a core return. Replica wheels may look identical to the factory wheel, but in the exchange, we send you the factory OEM part and expect the same back. Factory wheels can be identified by the manufacturer part number or logo on the back of the wheel. Some replicas are very similar to the example shown below. Ask one of our customer service associates for assistance if you are unsure.

An example of a replica wheel and markings

Out Of Round Wheel (unacceptable)

Out of round conditions can happen to virtually any wheel. Keep in mind there is a very big difference between an out of round wheel and a wheel that has been flat spotted (as shown). Most often an out of round wheel cannot be repaired because the bend originates at the hub and through the spokes of the wheel. Whereas a wheel that has been flat-spotted is bent only in the barrel section of the wheel, which can be heated and pressed round again.

Example shown of bent back of the wheel

This is an extreme example of an out of round condition on a Land Rover wheel. Normally the damage is not this noticeable until the wheel is spun on a wheel balancer. This is an example of a wheel that is acceptable, minus a repair fee.

See the videos below for an example of an out of round condition that was not visible until spun.

Below are video examples of out of round wheels that are not acceptable as a core return.

Example 1 of an out of round wheel

Out of Round

Example 2 of an out of round wheel

Out of Round

Shown is an example of a severely damaged wheel

Severely Damaged

Heavy Damage (unacceptable)

If a wheel has sustained a heavy amount of damage, as in a very hard curb hit, or accident, resulting in the lip being heavily damaged, the wheel will not qualify for a core refund. Again, if there are any questions as to if this applies to your wheel, please contact us and provide pictures so we can help in determining if it is repairable.

Photo example 1 of a heavily damaged wheel lip Photo example 2 of a heavily damaged wheel lip

Examples of heavily damaged wheel lip.

Previously Chrome Wheels (unacceptable)

If the wheels have been previously polished or chrome plated. They will not be eligible for credit towards the core refund. We can, of course, re-chrome your wheels. Some vehicles may have a full-size spare which you may be able to use if it is a good un-plated wheel, and is like for like with the wheels on the car.

If you have any questions, please contact us for more information before choosing to install the new chrome wheels.

Example photo of corrosion around the lugnut holes of an aluminum alloy wheel Example photo of corrosion to the inner barrel of an aluminum alloy wheel Example photo of corrosion to the bead seat of an aluminum alloy wheel

Examples of corrosion damage. These wheels are not eligible for core refund.

Corrosion Beneath The Paint (unacceptable)

If the wheels were previously painted, from the factory or otherwise, please check for sub-paint corrosion as seen in the pictures to the left. This may look like nothing more than paint bubbling, but the material beneath the surface may have been seriously degraded.

Please keep in mind, that the surface quality of a chrome plated wheel is entirely dependant on the condition of the base material.

Photo example 1 of corrosion beneath the paint of an aluminum alloy wheel. Photo example 2 of corrosion beneath the paint of an aluminum alloy wheel. Photo example 3 of corrosion beneath the paint of an aluminum alloy wheel.

When Do I Receive Back My Core Deposit?

Upon receiving your core return, we will inspect the wheel to ensure there are no conditions as listed above. Processing of the refund takes approximately 5 business days once we have received the wheels, for us to process the paperwork internally. Please make sure you have returned a copy of the deposit invoice along with the same like for like wheels we have sent you. Also, make sure you witness the wheels spun at speed on a balancer to ensure there is no out of round conditions. On vehicles that have a low profile and/or run flat tires, we are finding more and more damage to the backsides (flat spots) of the wheels. If we find during our inspection any of these conditions, we will contact you and send photos if needed to prove such damages. We will then deduct the repair cost to correct the damages from your deposit.

If you have paid your deposit with a credit card, we must refund to that same credit card, and hard copy receipts will be mailed to you. If you paid by cashiers check / money order, we will refund you via our company check.

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