Ceramic Polishing

Ceramic polishing is the process of achieving a high luster finish through the use of large vibratory tumblers, rather than with traditional hand tools and semi-automatic machines by a human operator.

First, wheels with any existing finish such as paint, powdercoat, or plating are chemically stripped to bare metal. Any spot imperfections in the wheel itself (rash, dings, etc) are addressed by hand at this time.

Next, the wheel is secured inside the first vibratory tumbler for the cutting stage with the most aggressive media and compound. This mimics the effects of a low grit sandpaper and works the surface smooth.

Then, the wheel is moved to the next tumbler with finer media to further smooth out high and low spots and prepare it for the final finish.

Finally, the wheel enters the finishing tumbler which brings out the highest shine possible with the finest media and compound.

Ceramic polishing of a set of 4 wheels or centers starts at $880.

Why should you choose Ceramic Polishing?

  • High luster shine: First and foremost, ceramic polishing gives you a bright finish that is devoid of polishing lines that you get from traditional hand and buffer machine polishing. Furthermore, many people want a high luster finish that is bright but not exactly the "too-perfect" bling finish that you get with chrome plating.
  • Lighter in weight: Since there is no coating, a polished finish is lighter than paint, powdercoat, or plating. When compared to the original painted finish, the Volk Racing TE37SL wheel pictured weighed 6 ounces lighter. That is because premium paint finishes can often have a base coat, main, and clear coat. In addition, the polishing process removes a fractional layer of material.
  • Durable shell-like barrier: Even though a ceramic polished surface is bare and unprotected; because the finish is devoid of buffer lines, it develops a shell-like barrier that makes it temporarily resistant to outside elements, like how water rolls off a car's paint that has been buffed to perfection. Over time, as the wheels get scratched, this effect wears off. You can protect the finish by using wheel ceramic coating. Also, because there is no actual finish, the wheel is not susceptible to chipping from road debris.
  • Easy to touch up: Damaged a wheel? Whether you curbed your wheel, had a bend repaired, or simply want to bring back the original shine, this is easy to do without worrying about not being able to match your other wheels.
  • Complete finish and shiny barrels: Because the entire wheel or modular center is submerged into the tumbler media, all surfaces end up with the same bright polished finish, giving you shiny barrels, even on the tire side! This also means that complex surfaces including hard to reach areas such as engraved spokes and embossed lettering also get polished where traditional hand tools and human labor either cannot access or risk removing too much material and compromising design detail.

Tempering Expectations

Like the polishing of a car's paint, the final results can only be as good as the material being worked on. A cast or flow form wheel that is by nature quite porous, will not yield the same shine you'd get from a forged wheel.

Unlike buffer polishing which allows the incorporation of more sanding and buffing stages, the ceramic polishing process we offer is currently limited to the 3 tumbler setup. This means that even with more time input, the results beyond a certain point are quickly diminishing. In other words, you get 90% the shine of expert hand polishing, but with 100% uniformity and all of the aforementioned pros.

If you are in search of a mirror-like finish, please go with Chrome Plating.