Not All PVD Chrome is Created Equal
If you own a Lexus, BMW, Infiniti or other luxury brand vehicle, you may be aware that you can customize your wheels with a variety of wheel finish and coating options. And as wheel customization has grown increasingly popular among luxury vehicle owners, a near countless assortment of aftermarket wheel coating companies have sprung up to serve this market.The great majority of aftermarket wheel coating companies utilize a process to coat their wheels called physical vapor deposition, or PVD for short. Widely known as PVD chrome, it was initially formulated for aerospace applications; yet for decades, it’s been used as an alternative to traditional chrome plating for automotive applications.
Lots of aftermarket wheel coating companies tout their PVD chrome as best-in-class, so it’s not surprising that many luxury car owners believe that to be true. Yet, our experience, combined with the results of industry testing, paint a different picture.
As we’ve said in previous blogs, 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 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
So, if you’re considering custom wheel finishes for your Lexus, BMW, Infiniti or other luxury brand vehicle, what’s the smartest decision you can make?
At Wheel Craft, we think our custom wheel finishes are the obvious answer. Why? Six primary reasons:
1.) Factory wheels perform best. We designed our custom wheel finishes specifically for original factory-installed wheels. And like the term implies, factory-installed wheels are designed specifically for the vehicles in which they’re installed. Automotive manufacturers invest considerable time, money and testing to ensure a perfect fit between wheel and chassis. Installing aftermarket wheels is basically a roll of the dice, which we don’t think is a wise bet.
2.) Price. From an acquisition standpoint, Wheel Craft’s custom wheel and rim finishes are on a par with what dealers charge. You can purchase wheel coatings from online distributors, but quality can be lacking, and oftentimes, there is no warranty support to be found. If you own or lease a luxury vehicle, you want the best; with Wheel Craft, you can get it at a very affordable acquisition cost.
3.) Cleaning and maintenance. Your vehicle should always look its best, in all conditions. With Wheel Craft custom wheel finishes, it can. Our custom ICE™ finishes for original equipment (OE) factory wheels are incredibly easy and inexpensive to clean and maintain. In fact, all you need is soap, water and a soft car wash cloth or sponge to clean them. That’s it! No expensive chemicals, no four-step processes, no scratching of the clear-coat…just soap and water.
4.) Warranty. Wheel Craft offers a 5-Year Limited Warranty for all wheels installed at an authorized Wheel Craft partner. Our warranty is the most comprehensive automotive wheel finish warranty available in the market and offers ultimate protection against chipping, peeling, color separation, corrosion, brake dust burns and finish damage caused by road salt and car wash chemicals.
5.) Ease of installation. Wheel Craft offers a seamless, hassle-free process that makes acquiring your custom wheel finish of choice quick and easy.
6.) Customer service you simply won’t find elsewhere. Wheel Craft finish specialists are always available to answer questions about our products or the status of your order. Help is a simple phone call away. We put you first, and we truly want you to be our customer for life.
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. We hope this blog helps you understand how our custom wheel finishes compare to PVD chrome and are the best option for Lexus, BMW, Infiniti and other luxury brand factory-installed wheels. 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.