How I removed clearcoat from aluminum wheels

I have recently been trying to refinish a set of wheels because the previous owner thought it would be handy to know that he was right up against the curb.  The wheels are polished aluminum with a thick clear coat.  Because they had been curbed so badly, water and salt had started to seep under the clear coat and corrode the aluminum.  Somehow, I needed to take off the clear.

I tried sandblasting, grinding, body prep, rust remover… nothing would touch them.  Then I found this stuff called Tal Strip.  It’s a pretty harsh chemical, and as soon as I saw the “may cause brain or nervous system damage” I knew it was the right stuff.

I just dropped a glob of it on each spoke and spread it around with a paint brush.  A thick coat is best.  You’ll want to do it outside.  After around 20 minutes, you’ll notice the surface will look like a sponge, and you can just wipe the wheel with a plastic scraper or something to expose the bare aluminum.

I can’t believe how well it works – it’s the most effortless way to clean the wheels!

Before you comment, I’ll mention that they are late model Audi wheels for my Passat wagon 🙂

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