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Wheel Refinishing; Tire Storage


Finish Coatings for Steel Wheels
Reconditioning a heavy-duty steel wheel will not only improve its appearance, it will increase its useful life, as well. There is one condition: This kind of work must be performed carefully and correctly. Fortunately, the makers of steel wheels have some guidelines. Here are some from Accuride:


First, check all metal surfaces thoroughly, including both sides of the wheels and areas between duals. Watch for excessive rust or corrosion buildup; cracks in metal; bent, broken flanges or stud holes; and incorrectly matched rim parts.

Replace an assembly that is damaged or has damaged components. Excessively corroded or cracked wheels are dangerous, especially during removal of the tire/wheel assembly. Deflate the tire (both tires of a dual assembly) before removing the wheel. Insert a wire through the valve to ensure that debris has not prevented deflation. Also, take the time to look for rust streaks, which indicate loose nuts or improper nut fit. After tightening the nuts to the recommended torque level or replacing them, remove the rust streaks.


Be sure to replace broken studs as well as each unbroken stud next to the broken stud and determine the cause of the damage before installing another wheel. This is the time to completely remove rust, dirt and other foreign material from all wheel surfaces. Especially important to clean are the areas used for mounting the wheel to the vehicle and the rim area where the tire is seated.

Use hand or electric wire brushes, light sand blasting or solvent baths for this job. Remove any metal projections, burrs at bolt-hole chambers and paint buildup. Wire brush at the base of each stud on the hub or drum only. Avoid cutting into the metal; aggressive blasting media is not recommended, says Accuride.


Re-inspect the wheel after cleaning. Fatigue cracks or rust pitting may only be seen after cleaning. Wipe off any excess particles with a clean, dry rag. Prime the rim/wheel with a quality primer, and allow to dry thoroughly.

Next, add a topcoat when the primer is dry. Ideally, this will be a fast-drying acrylic, enamel or powder coat. For air-dry paints, the typical time required for complete curing is three days. Baking the painted rim/wheel will speed curing time. Always be sure to follow the cure temperatures recommended by the paint manufacturer. Undercured paint will have the same effect as excessive paint.


Says Accuride: The total amount of paint on the rim’s disc face should not exceed 0.0035 inches. Excessively painted rims/wheels can cause nut loosening, which could result in loose wheels or premature wheel failure, which could then cause accident or injury.

Some Key Thoughts About Tire Storage
At this very moment, there are upwards of 250 to 300 lines of automotive parts being stocked on a regular basis. That’s roughly 70,000 to 80,000 part numbers that will continue to increase every year. So says Western Pacific Storage Solutions (WPSS). Storing these parts for quick access and safety from damage is absolutely critical to profitability.


Tire dealers, parts distributors, aftermarket retailers, heavy-equipment dealers and trucking companies all share in this dilemma. According to WPSS, the automotive industry is plagued with the consequences of outdated warehouse design and space constraints. Such companies tend to run into poor inventory accuracy, poor order-picking productivity, shipping errors and excessive labor costs.

Here’s one example of a tire dealer who worked with WPSS because he needed to store more than 2,000 tires in a very small area with uneven floor levels. Additionally, the shelving (tire racks) needed to be built around an existing wood structure the dealer did not want to demolish.


WPSS recommended that the floor be shimmed to level. It designed oversized footplates to anchor the system and ensure stability. The new shelving was designed around existing structures, and catwalks were provided with seven levels.

According to WPSS, the significant cost of demolition was eliminated, and the company was able to store 2,600 tires without compromising employee safety or the integrity of the tires. Also, the need to relocate tire inventory was eliminated. The system was installed in four weeks after the order was placed.

Many tire dealers are turning to heavy-duty tire storage units like WPSS’ RiveTier tire shelving systems. The company says its steel units are as economically priced as wood units and attractive enough for the showroom, yet durable enough for bulk tire-storage applications. The heavy-duty, all-steel construction and solid, welded uprights ensure these units are built to last, says WPSS.


Racks from this company range from to two to six tiers high, allowing for add-on units to be installed easily. In fact, the company says, its tire racks can be integrated into multilevel catwalk systems to maximize storage space. Wall mounts and portable units are also available from this supplier.

Angled beams hold tires in place without the need for locking devices, so tires can be easily removed. Many tire storage units on the market are available with adjustable footplates that allow you anchor the system to the floor.

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