Skip to content

How To Remove Scratches From Bike Rims?-Here’s what you need to know

Scratches are common in bike rims, continuous rotations of the wheel on the terrains or in the standing condition in home or garage, if a small line of scratch caused in rims, then it will starts spreading and expanding, due to the water, atmospheric conditions, trail conditions, and chemicals also affect the dented area of the rim, the reason is that smooth and better area of the wheel is not affected highly as compared to damaged and ruined areas of the wheel, which are mostly small scratched linings in bike rims.

Rusting and chemicals would easily make room in the damaged area of the rims as compared to a smooth surface, when the bike is serviced or if the dirt remains for a long time in the deeper sections of the rims, then it will stuck and make their space permanently within the rims, which will attack the damaged places of the rims easily, there are many sections of the wheels which got scratch much easier which are the edges and areas near the spoke nipples, brake areas and the lower ends of the spoke head which are inserted within the hubs, all of these places got affected from scratches almost in every bike rims.

Those bikes which have installed rim brakes, scratching or rim damage on the contact areas of the rim with the brakes would also decrease the lifespan of the brake pads and the same result for the disc brakes if scratching is under the disc brakes on the surface of the rim. the difference in the materials of the rims would also matter a lot for filling the scratched part of the rim, there are permanent markers that are used to fill the scratched area of the rim, but these are not applied on all the rims depending on the rim materials.

There are many possible methods which are used to cover the rim scratching, alcohol also works and performs better as a cleaning purpose for the removal of the scratches, but not individually, you have to rub the scratched area with a rough cloth or sandpaper, all the small scratch lines would easily remove with these products by unmounting and uninstalling the tire from the rim.

How To Recognize Small Scratch (1mm to 2mm) On The Rim Surface?

If the scratching is a lot small then it is also measured easily with the help of a fingernail of the fingers of our hands. place the fingernail on the surface area of the rim brake tracks and also on any place of the rim, where you are confused about the small scratches, you can easily feel the availability of the scratch on the rim surface, if the scratch is longer than 1 to 2mm then it can easily be felt and seen on the rim surface, but if the scratches are not bigger( not more than 5mm) the on a normal basis it is not a big problem, you can still ride the same wheel with the scratch but more than 5mm needs to be removed permanently.

But if the scratches are too small and you are buying new wheelsets for yourself which are in used condition, then you can find a small-sized microscope to recognize the size and availability of the scratch on the rim. sometimes the scratch is on the outer black coat of the rim, it can be repaired because it is not a metal layer’s surface, by using permanent markers and nail polishes, you can easily hide the above decorative coat of the wheel.

Safer Way For Removing Rim Scratches:

Scratches are smaller and the right and left sides of the scratched area have a smooth rim, you have to replace the scratch by protecting the other places of the rim, you have to mask the rim to avoid further scratches while removing the present scratch, there are many stickers and glue masks which would cover up entirely the rim surface and with the sandpaper or other products which are used for removing the scratch would easily repair the scratch without affecting and damaging the rim.

There is also another major point, the rim side is small from the rim beads where the tires are hooked within the rim, and if you rub for a long time on the sidewalls of the rim the removal of the scratch, the durability of the metal which is present within the rim decreases and becomes thin as compared to other surfaces of the rim, it only happens if you are rubbing for more than 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Use Of Nail Polish For Rim Scratching:

Nail polish is simply lined on the scratched surface of the rim, it finishes all the irritating noises of the scratch which arise from the rim when brakes are applied by touching the brake pads on the rim brake track places. nail polish is enough strong to stay on the wheel and it cannot be removed from the water or any other liquid when the wheel dip in wet and muddy terrains, but if you want to remove the nail polish from the wheel for look purposes, then it can easily be removed from rubbing by using soft and flexible brushes.


Using paints is also a valuable and useful method for covering the scratches on bike wheels, but you have to check the quality and the product material of the paints before using and applying on bike rims, use thin paint instead of thicker paints, and also you have to find the better and expensive formulas of paints so that these would not expand in hot and sunny weathers on the terrains, and also there are many chemicals in lubes, greases and oils, you have to use those paints which are non-compatible with these chemicals, I have listed below the better products and paints for the removal of the wheel scratches.

  • VHT Engine Paint
  • Black Heat Resistant Paint
  • Touch Up
  • Q-tip

Do Scratching Affect the Price Of Rim?

Yes, your wheel price will drop around about 5 to 10 dollars, although this is not a big amount it also decreases with consistency if the wheel starts getting much more scratches, it does not matter if the scratches are on the brake tracks or any other surface of the rim, many times it happens when building a new wheel, you have to do the job kike an experienced builder, especially when inserting the spokes within the rim holes, you have to bent the spoke to change its perpendicular angle to avoid the scratching with the center line of the rim.

Wheels Need Protection To Avoid Scratches:

Those bikes which do not have kickstands installed in them, riders lean them on the floor and ground surface, which contains hard rocks and rough material and the beads of the rim would constantly hit the rough surface, if you are repeating the same process of leaning your bike with your home, garage or any trail surface, it means you are not protecting the wheels from getting worst and you are offering the scratches.

Hanging of bike from the roof or any bike stand can also give small scratches to the outer coat of the rim, you have to prevent the contact point of the wheel and the stand or hook, you can wrap a flexible tape or any rag cloth on the hook of the stand to prevent bike wheel from large scratches.

Do Rim Scratches Darken With Age?

Yes, if the scratching is small and you have not polished it properly with paint or any other recommended products, then it will go deeper as time passes due to the expanding nature of the metals as compared to steel rims, after a few months you will find a bigger sized scratch.

What To Look For When Buying A Paint For Wheel Scratch Removal:

All the materials and products of paints are described above in the post for compatible and non-compatible qualities of the paint with the rim, including all those qualities, rims have different colors which have got scratched and also paints are differentiated with much more colors, if you want to cover the scratched surface full without any judgment, even the mechanic would not know about the wheel scratch then buy the same and exact colored paint which should resemble with the color of your bike wheel, after applying it won’t leave any hint of recognizing the scratched rim, this step will increase the price range of the rim and old used wheels look new same as that of expensive and branded quality wheels.

Scratches On Carbon And Aluminum Rims:

Scratches on carbon rims are a little bit dangerous as compared to the aluminum rims, the reason is that carbon material is plastic which is hardly recovered and repaired and it will expire over time, but dents, cracks, and scratches on the aluminum rims are easily recovered because of the higher stretching value of the alloy metal as compared to steel and carbon fiber wheels.

Sanding Painted Rims:

The sanding process is good for scratches and worst wheel paints, wheen wheels become older and you want to remove the old paint, but is also dangerous and risky, you have to cover and mask your bike wheel thoroughly to avoid all the other areas of the rim which needs an experienced skill level, if you are a beginner never do it by your hands, maybe you would ruin your rim.