Finish and coating—they’re two words that often get used interchangeably when it comes to describing the process and materials used in customizing automotive wheels. Problem is, a finish and a coating are two different things, which often causes confusion for luxury car owners when it’s time to consider customizing their original factory wheels.
At Wheel Craft, we focus on one thing, and one thing only: Delivering the highest quality, most beautiful and most durable hand-crafted finishes for BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and other luxury-brand original equipment (OE) factory luxury wheels. To help you make the best choice you can, we want to clarify the key differences between a finish and a coating.
The dictionary defines coating as: “A layer of any substance spread over a surface.” Finish, meanwhile, is dually defined as: “The surface coating or texture of wood, metal, etc.” and “A material for application in finishing.” When the word coating is used within one definition of finish, it’s no wonder the two terms cause confusion.
Allow us to clarify.
The techniques and materials used in wheel customization are wholly dependent on how the underlying substrate (i.e., the underlying alloy wheel) is prepared. After all, that’s the target on which the material is placed. For luxury wheels, that target is the aluminum alloy wheel itself—and how that wheel is prepared prior to application makes all the difference in terms of how united the material becomes with it.
Traditional PVD chrome providers, as well as powder coat companies, use thick coatings (sometimes as thick as the width of a penny) which are simply layered onto wheels. The wheels themselves are “roughed up” a bit to make adhesion of the first layer of coating possible—and it takes a lot of coating material to achieve an acceptably smooth surface. Consequently, the thickness of that coating, combined with the fact that it sits atop the wheel (and doesn’t truly bond with it), makes these types of coatings much more susceptible to chipping and peeling.
You might think that a thick coating is stronger and more durable than an ultra-thin finish. In reality, the exact opposite is true.
At Wheel Craft, our exclusive ICE™ ultra-thin finish technology connects with the fiber of the underlying alloy; it ties right to it, as opposed to a coating that merely sits on it. Moreover, our ICE finishes are no thicker than a piece of paper, which creates an inseparable bond across the entire surface of the wheel. This protective glove provides ultimate protection from:
- Brake dust burns
- Alloy wheel corrosion
- Car wash chemicals
- Seasonal street chemicals and salt
At Wheel Craft, we set the standard for OE wheel finishes. The proprietary process of applying our premier ICE finishes meets the exacting standards of durability, color and gloss our customers expect for their luxury wheels.
With regard to color, not only is ICE the most vibrant COLOR in the market, we scientifically match our color to guarantee consistency with every wheel we finish, delivering quality and perfection to our customers. You’ll experience wheels that look new, fresh, beautiful, sharp—and distinguish you wherever your journey leads.
Then there’s gloss. The gloss of ICE is the result of deep craftsmanship and extensive labor perfecting the wheel surface prior to applying our finish. Wheel Craft sets the standard for reflectivity in the automotive market— the geometry of your wheels will be more vibrant and accentuated by a finish that is scientifically measured to be 80 percent as reflective as a mirror. The reflective illumination we achieve for you is simply unmatched.
We hope this blog helps you understand the distinguishing characteristics of a wheel finish over wheel coatings used by other providers. If you’re looking to Arrive in Style wherever the road takes you, visit wheelcraft.com or contact us for more information on our custom wheel and rim finishes for factory-installed luxury car wheels. For dealers, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how Wheel Craft can deepen customer loyalty and drive unit sales, productivity, revenue and CSI.
Please contact Wheel Craft at 833.639.4231 or email Ed Hollinshead, company President.