There’s nothing quite like the sound of metal against concrete. We try our best, but eventually the unthinkable is likely to happen to you – the dreaded curb rash.
If you happen to curb your Tesla Model 3 18″ Aero wheels, fear not, because the repair is actually easier than you think, and you can do it yourself.
It happened to me while navigating a parking lot and taking a corner too tightly to fit into a parking space. The car jumped as contact was made, and the loud noise from the rear passenger side wheel made me think the damage was going to be worse than it actually was.
While the damage wasn’t as bad as I thought, it was obviously still very noticeable and needed to be repaired. After some research, I purchased the following items attempt my DIY repair. You will also want to wear some protective gear like gloves and a face mask (depending on how much sanding you have to do).
- Bondo Spot Putty – $9.98
- 200 and 800 grit sandpaper (my local Canadian Tire was out of 200, so I got 180) – ~$10
- Dupli-Color AFM0360 Dark Shadow Gray Ford – $20.99
Step 1 – Wipe down and prep area for sanding
Take a wet cloth and wipe down the area that was damaged, removed any leftover debris. As you can see from my damage, there was some yellow paint from the curb that I hit that needed to be removed. Not all of it came off with just a cloth, but most of it did.
Depending on how large the area you’re working on is, you may also want to tape off the area. I did not, and there was no collateral damage.
Step 2 – Sand down damage on rim
Now you want to smooth out the damage to the rim. You can do this using 400 grit sandpaper, and going back and forth over the damaged area until it is smooth with no jagged edges. Be careful with the sandpaper to ensure that as you go back and forth, you’re only making contact with the damaged part of the rim. You don’t want to scratch up your rim even more.
Step 3 – Apply Bondo
After the sanding is complete, you can move on to applying the Bondo to fill in the damage. It doesn’t have to be perfectly applied, and don’t be afraid to apply a little extra here because you will be sanding it down in the next step. Leave the Bondo for at 30 minutes to 1 hour to dry, depending on the outside temperature.
Step 4 – Sand down Bondo
Once it has dried, you will now sand it down with 800 grit sandpaper. Go back and forth until you have created a smooth surface, matching the level of the rest of the rim. Again, be careful to make sure the sandpaper is only touching the area of the rim you want it to. You can see some very fine scratches on the spoke, that fortunately were able to buff out.
If after sanding it down the surface isn’t perfect, apply repeat steps 3 and 4 until you are satisfied and have a level finish.
Step 5 – Apply touch-up paint
Now that we have our finished surface complete, wipe down with a cloth to remove any dust that has remained after sanding. Once clean, apply the touch-up paint as instructed to do so on the box.
Once dried, inspect your handy work for any imperfections. If you’re not satisfied, repeat any of the steps until you are.
Step 6 – Apply the clear coat
Once you’re happy, apply the clear coat included in the touch-up paint to protect the new paint on the rim. And you’re done! Can you spot where the repaired damage is?
If you couldn’t spot it, it’s here.
Remember to take a step back to inspect the rims. If you can still notice the damage standing a few feet away, you might want to have another go at fixing it. If you can’t spot the damage from that distance, then you’ve done a good job on repairing it and 99% of the time you and other people won’t know you once curbed your rim.