Many manufacturers powder coat wheel and there is no suggestion that this has any detrimental effect on new wheels. Problems appear to arise when the powder coating procedure is repeated, during the wheel refurbishing process.
Some powder coating refurbishers will heat wheels up to four times during their refurbishing process.
- Stage 1 – the wheels are heated to the required temperature to apply the powder coat primer;
- Stage 2 – the wheels are then re-heated to dry the primer;
- Stage 3 – the wheels are heated again to dry the powder coat colour; and
- Stage 4 – the wheels are re-heated a fourth time to dry the lacquer.
In most cases the aluminium wheel will need to be heated to a temperature of about 210 degrees centigrade before the powder coating process can begin.
With our considerable knowledge and experience of all types of wheel restoration, it is our opinion that this four stage process can cause premature ageing of the metal.
Common magnesium alloys can begin to soften and weaken appreciably on exposure to temperatures as low as 90 degrees centigrade (200 degrees Fahrenheit)
Exposing aluminium wheels to 190 degrees centigrade (375 degrees Fahrenheit) for thirty minutes can have a negative effect on the strength of the alloy it will overage the alloy and begin the annealing process; the result will be that you will no longer know how strong your wheels are. Since wheels are usually weight optimised for the vehicle, reducing the strength is clearly potentially very dangerous and it could result in your warranty being voided.
Powder coating can also hide developing cracks that you would be able to see on painted wheels.
There are many differing opinions over powder coating however our opinion is, the possible risk of compromising safety, is not one we are prepared to take.