So long story short, I was dumb and in a hurry and curbed the shit out of one of my wheels. Luckily for me, these wheels have a bare (no clear) polished aluminum lip on them. I figured I couldn’t make it look much worse, so I set out to fix it up DIY style.
Step 1. Stop crying about curbing your expensive wheel.
Step 2. Take wheel off car.
Step 3. Gather enough balls to take your $15 Harbor Freight orbital sander to your previously mentioned expensive wheel.
Step 4. Take the orbital with a reasonably abrasive paper (I used 100 grit) and start working on your curb rash. Make sure to keep moving and not dig into any one spot. Just keep moving side to side with moderate pressure. Keep away from stuff you don’t want sanded (the centers in my case).
Step 5. Switch to wet sanding at this point. I moved up to 180 grit here. Periodically wipe the wheel dry to check your progress, then re-wet your paper and get back to it.
Steps 6-8. I then did the same thing with progressively finer grit paper. After the 180 grit I went to 320, 400, then 800. Be sure to use plenty of water while doing this.
Step 9. After the final sanding with the 800 grit (you could go higher if you wanted), wipe everything good and dry and get ready to polish. I used my Mother’s Power Ball on a cordless drill and some 3M Perfect-It rubbing compound. This is more abrasive than your standard polishing compounds but will still give you a good shine.
Aside from my wounded pride, the wheel is now no worse for the wear. Hopefully I can avoid doing this again in the future. Start to finish, I probably had about 2 hours involved in this repair, and that included waiting for my drill’s battery to charge. Here is the final result:
I’m sure a good hand polish now with a less abrasive polish would improve the luster even more, but I don’t have any on hand at the moment, so it will have to wait.