I finally got my Tesla Model 3 a few weeks back.  Driving in an unfamiliar parking area, I did an over correction avoiding a pedestrian and ‘crunch’, I scrapped the rim on my M3.  Sigh.  So here is how you can repair the damage without taking the wheel off or paying $200 to a shop.

First, lets have a look at the damage.  It’s not major but heart breaking non the less.  So there are a few ways we can go about this.  With advise from my friend Norman Woo I looked the problem this way.  How far away do need to be before you notice?  So I thought about it and decided on the 3-6-9 rule.  At 9 feet I should not be able to see it.  At 6 feet I should have to look carefully for it, and 3 feet I should be able to see it but it should not ‘stand out’.  Now that is for me.  Most people, unless you say something will not see anything.  And even if you ask them to look for it most will do not find it.  You will see what I mean at the end.  So now that we know what we are trying to achieve, lets get started.

First, lets assess the damage.  It looks worse then it really is, but there are a few pretty deep cuts in the metal.  Now we could take a hand sander and smooth it all the way until it’s perfectly flat, but because the aero caps are almost flush with the edge of the rim, it could be noticeable since the fit will vary from the repair area to the rest of the rims edge.  So instead we decided to smooth down only enough to give us a clean surface and we will let the paint fill the remaining divots.

Step one.  Tape off the area that will not be worked on.  We used duct tape here.  (BTW, its really good for shirts too, ( How to get name tag off a shirt  ).

Next we grab a sander (if you do not have one I think you can borrow from the city or just rent one).  The rim is pretty soft so it only took about 3-5 min of sanding to get to a nice clean level.

(Shame.  We forgot to take a pic here)

Next, we grab some emery-cloth (type of sandpaper, (medium) 100 grit I think, followed by 200 (I think) and sand it smooth, making sure to keep the same shape as the rest of the rim.   20-30 min of this I think.  This was the hardest part.  Take your time… Get it right.

This step we skipped but upon reflection, we should have done it.  You can get primer that is pretty good at filling divots.   Ah well…

Ok. Now we get some windex (yes windex) and clean the surface.  DO not touch it!  Let it dry!  Good thing it was a bright warm day so we did not have to wait that long.

Here is where I owe Erwin Lara a bit of thanks.  He found a REALLY good match that is made for Ford.  The pen (link) was around $15 bucks I think.  Shake that think up a lot!!!

And now let the artist flow.  The first coat will not look good (again because we did not buy primer) but keep at it.  We did 5 coats over all.  Be sure to let each coat dry!!  No short cuts.  Plan to take time.  15min per coat minimum depending on weather.  Long strokes!

Finally, we put on some clear coat.  We only did 2 coats, could have done 3 but it’s good enough for the 3-6-9 goal we set out earlier.

And that’s it!!  The pictures we took were purposely at the worse angle to show the damage.  The third pic was with clear coat and the last picture was taking at a good angle.  Even at 3 feet you cannot see it.

Now we put the aero cap back on.  Nice!  Looks even.

And there you go! Around $30 bucks for pen and sandpaper, a few hours time, and lots of patients and its fixed.  So for those not used to low profile tires, sooner or later this going to happen to you.  If you are obsessed will trying to keep you car looking brand new as possible, you will want to invest in the tools listed here.  Worth it!

Good Luck!!   If you end up doing a repair to you rims like this, send me pics and I will add it to this post.

…and remember…