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FAQ

  • MAIN FAQ

  • How much does it cost to chrome plate my wheels?
  • What is Aluminum Alloy?

    An alloy is a mixture of at least two or more metals and/or other chemical elements. A few of the metals commonly used to make Aluminum alloys include boron, copper, lithium, magnesium, manganese, silicon, tin, and zinc.

  • Why are wheels made from Aluminum Alloy and not just pure Aluminum?

    Aluminum alone has good corrosion resistance but is softer and more ductile then an Aluminum Alloy. Pure Aluminum metal but does not have the strength and durability needed for automotive wheels. Aluminum Alloys are typically lighter and stronger than pure Aluminum. The strength and durability of Aluminum Alloys vary widely not only as a result of the metals and/or other chemical elements components of the specific alloy, but also as a result of manufacturing processes and heat treatments.

  • Can Forged wheels have porosity or pitting?

    It can happen but it is rare. Typically forged wheels do not have porosity and do not pit when chrome plated. Sometimes the forgings can have a forging defect from surface contamination that can leave pit marks. These pits on the surface of forging are caused by improper cleaning of the stock used for forging. The contamination gets embedded into the surface during forging creating pit marks. The Aluminum Alloys itself may have contamination and impurities in it. The contamination and impurities may cause porosity voids or outgassing. Forged wheels with surface corrosion can have pitting. These forging flaws, porosity voids and corrosion pitting in the aluminum alloy base metal if large enough may not be completely filled in during finish or chrome processing and may show through the new finish as a pit.

  • What is out-gassing?

    Outgassing occurs when trapped gases are released. When the gas passes through the surface coating, it forms blisters or pits.

  • What causes out-gassing?

    Many things cause outgassing. Outgassing can be attributed to the metals and/or other chemical elements in the Aluminum Alloy metals and to surface contamination. Outgassing can occur for the following reasons. Both sand and die-cast pouring processes trap gases in castings. Mainly from solidification shrinkage, contamination and trapped air or hydrogen gases when molten metal solidifies. The addition of metals and/or other chemical elements such as Zinc and Silica in Aluminum Alloy can cause outgassing. Contaminants such as silica sand results in sand particles being embedded in the casting, oils, fluxes, water vapor, mold release, reactions to the mold, external components and or any other material that can vaporize during processing can cause outgassing.

  • Can out-gassing be eliminated?

    No, not completely. However, there are some things we can due to reduce outgassing such as heating and cooling the wheel in between each process.  This will help let the gasses escape and reduce the overall outgassing blisters and pits.  We typically dont know we are having outgassing issues until the finish is completed and the finish blisters or pits. When this happens, we may have to completely remove the finish and start over. Unfortunately, this delays the entire finish processing time. Occasionally, this happens more than once. At some point we have to say thats as good as we can make the finish because the base metal of the wheel is too poor.

  • Why do my wheels have some polishing marks that show?

    Polishing swirl marks may be visible in areas difficult to access and may vary due to wheel size and design. We cannot get a large buffing wheel into every location to polish the wheel so hand polishing tools are used in these difficult to access areas. Unfortunately, even small hand tools may be too large to properly detail polish the deep recessed areas such as windows or between the spokes. The same problem occurs after the copper plating process has been applied, as it too requires polishing to press the copper into the pours of the metal to eliminate porosity. This pressing is primarily done only to the face of the wheel utilizing upright polishing machines.  When required hand tools again are necessary to push the copper into the surface but achieving a perfect result is difficult due to the size of the area which the tools are required to work into. Years past these areas were left rough and would require painting to hide the undesired rough texture.  With years of developing better polishing techniques and the development of small hand tools, swirl marks have been minimized resulting in a better full detail polish that todays customers have come to expect.

  • Do you rechrome wheels?
  • How long does it take?
  • Do you do other chrome plating besides wheels?

    Yes, while our primary focus is automotive and motorcycle wheels, we do chrome metal parts as well.

  • Do you offer any finishes besides chrome?
  • I cannot be without my vehicle and send my wheels to you. What do I do?
  • I cannot find the chrome wheel I want on your site. Do you sell...?

    We are able to sell you many types of wheels even beyond what you see on our web site. Contact us for more information.

  • How do I determine what kind of wheels I have?

    Please refer to our Wheel Type Guide guide.

  • What is the difference between CalChrome's chrome and the competition?

    There are many differences. Read more about the Quality of our Chrome Plating.

  • Does chrome plating make my wheels heavier?

    The weight difference is less than 1%. Read more in our alloy chrome section.

  • How can I make my wheels black?

    Our Fusion Coat process is perfect for anyone looking for either a Gloss Black or Satin / Matte Black finish.

  • Why are there no OEM wheel prices posted on the CalChrome website?

    Our OEM wheel inventory levels are constantly changing. This means we have to purchase new inventory to replace the sold items. Replacement costs for OEM wheels vary by available inventory and current market values so prices on one set may vary from the next.

    We offer thousands of OEM wheel styles including new dealer items, new dealer take-offs, used, refinished to OEM color and custom finished wheels such as Fusion Powder Coating, Chrome Electroplating, Black Chrome, Custom Paint work, Pin-Striping, etc. See link for finish options. Link to Services

    Not all wheels are interchangeable with all vehicle models. Some wheels may require special wheel adapters or wheel spacers and longer or different lug nuts or lug bolts for certain vehicles. The tire sizes may also differ from vehicle to vehicle with the same wheel.

    We want you to have the looks and performance you desire. Please call a California Chrome Wheel Inc. salesperson to discuss your vehicles specific wheel and tire fitment application, custom finish options and pricing. (661) 294-0170

  • My wheels are in perfect condition!

    You may think your wheels are in perfect condition when they have porosity voids you cannot see under the factory finish or just under the surface level of the base metal. All cast aluminum wheels including new wheels have porosity in the castings. Porosity in the casting may be covered by paint or other coating and fillers the factory used when manufacturing the wheels. This porosity may be just below the surface level and may not be seen before the polishing and plating process exposes them.

  • PREPERATION & INSTALLATION

  • Can you install the chrome wheels I buy from you?

    Yes, please see Installation Services

  • Are there any procedures recomended for installation

    Changing wheels and/or tires from the vehicles Original Equipment provided may alter the vehicles noise level, ride comfort, handling and stability characteristics.

    Careless installation is a major cause of wheel and tire problems. Proper wheel and tire installation will provide safe, longer tire life and better ride.

    We recommend using a wax based European tire mounting paste such as Hunter Engineering brand and not a water based tire mounting lubrication which may cause corrosion in the bead seat area. www.calchrome.com/mobile-installation

    We recommend using newer tire mounting equipment that does not use clamping teeth that may pierce through the chrome plating to hold the wheel in place and a “no touch” machine so the wheels do not get scratched during tire installation.

    We recommend using Nitrogen inflation to eliminate moisture inside the tire and wheel to help prevent corrosion and oxidation. www.calchrome.com/nitrogen-inflation

    We recommend using a Road Force Balancer with a wheel lift.

    A Road Force Balancer places a roller against the tire to simulate driving and can measure tire and wheel radial and lateral run-out as well as road force. Road Force balancing is the most accurate method of balancing if performed properly and can solve most balancing issues. www.calchrome.com/images/gsp9700a_big.jpg

    The wheel lift will help prevent damage or peeling of the chrome plating to the hub bore and cap area when installing the wheel and tire package onto the balancer.

    Wheel Lift: www.calchrome.com/images/gsp9700b_big.jpg

    Balancer Post: www.calchrome.com/images/damage_balance_machine2_big.jpg

    Post damage due to improper installation: www.calchrome.com/images/warranty_pic_8.jpg

    The lug nut/bolts should be hand tightened ¼ turn at a time and final torque with a torque wrench to vehicle specifications alternating using a Criss-Cross sequence with the opposing lug nuts/bolts. This Criss-Cross sequence will help prevent a misalignment of the wheel. Recheck Lug nut/bolt torque after 25, 50 and 100 miles of driving.

    Air pressure should be set according to each vehicles recommended air pressure located on the driver′s door plate or in the owners′ manual and the vehicle load requirement and not set by the maximum inflation pressure marked on the tire.

  • How will changing my wheel size affect my ride?

    Changing wheels and/or tires from the vehicles Original Equipment provided may alter the vehicles noise level, ride comfort, handling and stability characteristics.

  • Why do you polish the wheels before chrome plating?

    Polishing is a surface smoothing process so the so the chrome plating will be shiny. During the polishing process, we can blend in some minor damage and remove some surface imperfections.

  • Can you polish out porosity?

    No. We only want to polish the surface area smooth and not remove the metal. Polishing can remove high spots but does not fill in porosity. Excessive polishing can open up porosity that lies just below the surface.

  • What causes porosity?

    Porosity formation results from the effect of many occurring mechanisms. Mainly solidification shrinkage, contamination and trapped hydrogen gases.

    Hydrogen gas porosity is an aluminum casting defect under the form of a porosity or void in an aluminum casting caused by hydrogen gas (H2) dissolved in the aluminum at liquid phase. Because the solubility of hydrogen in solid aluminum is much smaller than in liquid aluminum, when the aluminum freezes, the dissolved hydrogen gas creates porosity in solid aluminum.

    There are many potential sources for Hydrogen gas porosity in aluminum including the free Hydrogen from incomplete combustion of the furnace atmosphere, charge materials such as ingot scrap and foundry returns, burn-on occurs when metallic oxides interact with impurities in silica sands results in sand particles being embedded in the casting, oils, fluxes, water vapor, external components and reactions to the mold.

  • How does the porosity cause pits in the chrome plating?

    Porosity are holes or voids in the base metal. When the porosity is large enough, the plating material can not completely fill in these areas and they show through the chrome plating as a pit.

  • Why do you copper plate the wheel?

    All cast aluminum wheels including new wheels have porosity in the castings. The copper plating provides excellent leveling and surface smoothing. Much like a primer coat on a paint job, this thin layer of copper helps to fill in the microscopic porosity.

  • Does the copper plating completely fill in the porosity?

    No. The copper plating is not a molten copper that the wheels are dipped into. The copper plating is copper metal particles that are suspended in fluid and drawn on the wheel or part with electricity. Coverage of the copper is distributed fairly evenly across the surface depending on the wheel or part shape, size, design and anode placement. The larger porosity will be only be partially filled in.

  • Cant you just add more copper plating

    No. Excessive copper can cause adhesion problems. Years of experience is needed to know how much copper is best between proper adhesion and filling in as much porosity and pitting as possible. Sometimes porosity is going to be too large to be filled in.

  • How will changing my wheel size affect my ride?

    Changing wheels and/or tires from the vehicles Original Equipment provided may alter the vehicles noise level, ride comfort, handling and stability characteristics.

  • Why do you copper buff?

    Copper buffing helps to force the copper into the porosity. The larger porosity will be only be partially filled in.

  • Why do rechrome wheels pit more often than first time chrome wheels?

    When we rechrome a wheel, the original chrome plating has to be removed first. The chrome plating is embedded into the porosity of the base metal of the wheel or part. When these metals are removed, the porosity the metal comes out of becomes slightly lager. So every time the wheel is rechromed, this process is repeated and the porosity becomes larger.

  • Can you weld the pitting on the wheels?

    No, Welding can cause it′s own porosity. Porosity in aluminum welds are caused by hydrogen gases that becomes trapped in the weld pool when the metal freezes before all of the hydrogen gas in the weld pool has a chance to escape. Porosity in welds are caused by trapped hydrogen gases, contamination such as oil, moisture or other or loss of gas shielding. The reason for this is that a number of conditions relating to material, consumables, welding technique and / or equipment can cause porosity.

  • CARE & MAINTENANCE

  • How do I care for my wheels?
  • How often should i rotate my tires?

    Tire life may be increased if the air pressure is properly maintained and if possible, the tires are rotated every 3000 miles for the first 50% of tread life and every 6000 to 8000 miles thereafter or any signs of uneven wear. Tire pressure must be adjusted to their new positions after rotation. There are many types of “TPMS” Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors. Some TPMS are auto learn and some require a reset or relearn procedure and some an activation or trigger tool after tire change or rotation. Some tires can not be rotated. The wheel alignment should be checked and corrected if misaligned.

  • How often should i clean my wheels.

    We recommend washing your wheels when they are cold at least once per week with clean water using a mild detergent such as dish soap and a soft clean cloth such as microfiber cloths.

    No chemicals are needed if cleaned on a regular basis. Abrasive polishes and cleaners can wear out the chrome plating and acids in some cleaners or some waxes can dissolve and damage the chrome on your wheels. If you desire to use a wax, there are specialty waxes designed for chrome wheels or you may be able to use the same type of wax you would use on the paint. Make sure the wheels are cold, clean and dry before waxing. Read the ingredients to make sure there is nothing in the wax such as acids that may dissolve and damage the chrome. You may want to test in an inconspicuous spot first.

    Brake dust is highly corrosive and destructive contaminant and if not washed on a regular basis will cause damage to the chrome plating. Road salts, snow melting chemicals, ocean, sea, salt water and especially chlorides can penetrate the metals in the chrome plating and cause a corrosive attack which corrodes, oxidizes or rusts the metals. Damages caused from these environmental and chemical processes are from external factors and influences and not a manufacturer′s defect. Properly maintaining and cleaning is critical for longevity and the beauty of the chrome plating.

  • How do i maintain my wheels during winter?

    We recommend proper removal, cleaning and storage of your Chrome Electroplated wheels during times of climatic conditions in areas where there is the presents of snow melting chemicals or salt such as Sodium Chloride, Halite Rock Salt, Sodium Acetate, Sodium Formate, Sodium Sulphate, Ammonium Sulfate, Ammonium Nitrate, Calcium chloride, Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA), Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Acetate, Potassium Chloride, Urea, Ethylene glycol, Propylene glycol, Alpha Methyl Glucoside, etc. are used.

    Proper cleaning and storage is critical for maintaining the chrome electroplating during these winter climatic and chemical conditions. Driving in these winter climatic and chemical conditions even with regular washing or simply removing the wheels from the vehicle may not be enough to prevent damage from occurring to the chrome plating and wheels. If driven in these conditions or if you live near an ocean, sea or salt water, increased care and maintenance should be used.

    The wheels should be removed from the vehicle and the chrome should be thoroughly washed with plenty of clean clear water, a mild detergent and a soft clean microfiber cloth, rinsed with clean clear water and dried to remove any chemical residues and brake dust that may be on the wheels before storing the wheels in a clean dry area until the snow melting chemicals are cleared from the roads. The wheels should kept dry but not be covered or stored in plastic or other non breathing materials because plastic may trap moister inside which may cause damage to the chrome.

    Damage, corrosion, rust, pitting and separation of plating such as peeling or blistering determined by us to be caused from these climatic conditions and chemical damage are not covered under the California Chrome Wheel Inc. warranty. We offer our Fusion Coat, Calchrome Clear Coat PVD and Black Chrome PVD for vehicles that are operated in these types of climatic all season conditions. See links.

    Fusion Coat:
    www.calchrome.com/Fusion-Coat

    Calchrome Clear Coat PVD
    www.calchrome.com/calchrome-clear

    Black Chrome PVD
    www.calchrome.com/black-chrome

  • Why do raw or chrome wheels get corrosion?

    Corrosion is the chemical reaction of a metal, in this case aluminum, with its environment, which leads to the deterioration of the properties of aluminum. Aluminum is a very reactive metal, but it is also a passive metal. This contradictory nature is explainable because nascent aluminum reacts with oxygen or water and forms a coherent surface oxide which impedes further reaction of aluminum with the environment.

    Aluminum corrosion mechanisms of attack increases as humidity or moisture goes up.

    The acidity or alkalinity of the environment significantly affects the corrosion behavior of aluminum alloys. At lower and higher pH, aluminum is more likely to corrode but by no means always does so. For example, aluminum is quite resistant to concentrated nitric acid. When aluminum is exposed to alkaline conditions corrosion may occur, and when the oxide film is perforated locally, accelerated attack occurs because aluminum is attacked more rapidly than its oxide under alkaline conditions. The result is pitting. In acidic conditions, the oxide is more rapidly attacked than aluminum, and more general attack should result.

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