A Little About Chrome Finishing
Although chrome hit its high point in the 80s and 90s, nothing elevates rims more than the gorgeous mirrored finish of chrome. What is Chrome?
Chrome, or Chromium plating, is the process of electroplating the material chromium onto a metal object. And yes, this means only objects made of metal and be chrome plated, such as rims and wheels. Aren’t we lucky? This also means only metal center caps can be chromed, replica chrome center caps have to be used in place of the original plastic ones.
The process can be difficult and leaves behind a lot of hazardous material which has to be disposed of properly, which is why it is actually illegal in most parts of the country.
Chrome plating is not a lifelong service; a quality chrome plate should last 4-5 years without peeling or corrosion. What is corrosion? Corrosion happens to an aluminum wheel that has been chrome plated and has started to pit and peel. From there the chrome begins to corrode and causes the tire to leak air.
Because chrome does not last forever, re-chroming is an option. But beware the more times a wheel is stripped and re-chromed, the less perfect it will look every time! This is the case no matter who the chrome plater is.
Keeping Chrome Looking Perfect
Taking care of chrome to keep it looking pristine is easier than you might think. Chrome can be damaged by harsh chemicals and cleaners used in most wheel washers, so it’s best not to use them at all! Just stick to plain soap and warm water.
Life’s a Beach
A big tip not commonly known is that salt just eats away at chrome. If you live in a cold climate where the roads are salted often, chrome probably isn’t the ideal choice for you. Or if you live right by the beach the salt in the air will slowly eat away at the chrome and cause pitting and peeling, so better to have a garage!