Over the Fourth weekend I attempted to repair some road rash on my M5. The wheels are in very good condition, but there was one pretty big gash on the rear passenger side rim. So I checked out my DIY options.
There are different kits on the market, but right off the bat I hit a complication. The E39 M5 came with shadow chrome rims, a rare color for BMW wheels. It’s a combination of black, silver and chrome that is very hard to replicate, unlike the standard silver of most BMW rims. In fact, the kit I ended up buying from BavAuto only came with silver paint and specifically said not for shadow chrome wheels.
But the repair process is exactly the same — file and sandpaper the damaged area, fill with epoxy, file and sand that down, then repaint. So, I bought the kit and then a shadow chrome paint stick (code A56 for those scoring at home), and figured that would be a good match.
I originally thought that using a paint stick rather than spray would be an advantage, but unfortunately it was the reverse. It’s extremely hard to be precise by hand, unless the area is very small. But by far the biggest issue was the shadow chrome — it was not a close color match at all.
So the message of this post is — don’t go this route if you have shadow chrome rims.
Beyond the color match, a few tips for others tackling their curb rash with this kit:
- Remove the plastic rim guard as soon as you apply the epoxy – if you let it dry it can pull the epoxy off (the instructions that come with kit say leave it on)
- Download the instructions from the BavAuto site, included in their Spring 2010 newsletter, and compare to kit instructions — there are some differences
- You don’t need the actual files much at all, can get most of the filing done with the sandpaper
I have to keep it real on this blog and report when a DIY project doesn’t go well. I’ve already got a call into the guys at getbmwparts.com, Evan and Jason, to see about having this area resprayed. There must be a service they provide to owners who come into the dealership with shadow chrome rims that need to be touched up.
If anyone reading this knows where I can get a can of spray, PLEASE let me know. Hopefully I’ll be updating this post soon.
UPDATE 7/13 – OK, I’m psyched to report a happy ending to this story. Thanks to Evan and Joe at getbmwpart.com, and Joe and Tom at Alloy Wheel Repair, the look of my repaired rim has been saved.
Joe and Tom only work in Montgomery County, but it looks like AWRS has franchises in many states. Based on Tom’s work on my rim, I recommend them.