The aesthetic value of wheels has always been considered a valuable feature of any vehicle. However, as we subject our wheel to extreme conditions, including rough terrain, friction, and extreme temperatures, that aesthetic value tends to decrease over time. Over time, corrosion will start to set in and slowly damage your alloy wheels. The question is, can alloy wheels rust and corrode? Let’s explore some of the possible answers to this question.

Do Alloy Wheels Rust?

This is a question that often gets asked, but the answer isn’t a simple one. Technically speaking, alloy wheels don’t actually rust since rust comes from a process called oxidation. However, alloy wheels can corrode over time, which isn’t exactly the same as rusting. Both are different chemical processes, but they can become a serious problem if left unchecked.

Rust takes the form of those brownish stains. When corrosion sets in, you instead see white marks on your alloy wheels. Alloy stock wheels are coated with a polished and protective finish designed to prevent the wheels from corroding at all. However, corrosion can still get through due to constant use, inflicting some damage on your wheels.

Why is Corrosion a Problem?

There are two primary concerns when it comes to alloy wheel corrosion. First, corroded alloy wheels can look really unsightly. While it’s not overly bothering to some people, it can cause you trouble, especially if you plan to sell your car. Prospective buyers are likely to haggle and ask you to lower your price because of your alloy wheel’s condition. It won’t make a good impression on anyone looking to buy your car. 

The second problem with alloy wheel corrosion is that it can compromise the seal’s integrity between your tire and your rim. Even a relatively small amount of bubbling corrosion on your alloy wheel can lift the rubber away from the wheel itself and allow air to escape. That could be a real dangerous problem if not addressed immediately.

What are the Causes of Alloy Wheel Corrosion?

Since your car’s wheels experience a lot of wear and tear every time you use them, corrosion can happen at any time and is usually caused by different factors. Some of the common causes of corrosion are:

  • Physical Damage – Perhaps the most common way for alloy wheel coatings to be compromised is because of physical damage. Even the most experienced drivers can’t avoid scratching or damaging their wheels whenever they catch a curb when parking.
  • Brake Dust – If you regularly clean your car, you’re probably familiar with brake dust. Brake dust is produced when conventional brake shoes make contact with rotors whenever you step on the brake pedal. Because of the intense friction between the rotors and the brake shoes, some pieces of the brake shoe material wears away into a fine dust that could easily stick to your alloy wheels.
  • Corrosive Chemicals – Some cleaning solutions used by professional details contain low levels of ammonia or acid. These products are used to remove brake dust from the surface of alloy wheels. However, if left too long, it will burn away the protective coating on your wheels, causing corrosion to start taking hold.


Alloy wheels are a great addition to any vehicle, but they are still vulnerable to the wear and tear of everyday use. While alloy wheels cannot rust, they are quite susceptible to corrosion if not treated properly. By following this guide, hopefully, you lessen the risk of corroding your wheels.

Wicked Rims is the go-to place for alloy wheel refurbishment in Essex. We offer a complete set of services, ranging from aluminium welding service, alloy wheel refurbishment, powder coating, and straightening services. Contact us today and let our highly trained technicians service you and your vehicle.