Should I choose diamond cut alloys?
Having diamond cut alloys can make a lot of financial sense as well as making your car look good.
These ultra-shiny wheels are fast becoming popular with drivers who enjoy their cars and have been described as being to the alloy wheel what the alloy is to a plain old fashioned steel rim, the next step in wheel couture if you like.
A diamond cut finish has a much shinier and glossier look than a standard alloy and if you put them side by side the difference is immediately clear. The diamond wheel looks highly polished, almost mirror-like and much more reflective.
These days you can find them on most of the more upmarket brands and they’re beginning to filter down to mid-market makes too where they add a lot to the showroom appeal.
They are available as original fit equipment when the car is being built at the factory or you can have your existing alloy given a new finish and quite apart from the aesthetic value there is also a strong economic reason why having a diamond cut look makes sense.
Swansway Accident Repair Centre in Crewe recently invested a considerable amount of money in the kit, including acid baths, CNC equipment and lathes needed to produce diamond cut finishes. Mark Trevers, manager of the Accident Repair Centre bodyshop, said there’s already a strong demand for the service and that will only grow.
What he said about the cost makes perfect sense: “If you take an alloy on a big SUV for example, you can easily be looking at perhaps £800 a wheel and if you damage or kerb them that little knock then becomes very expensive. We can repair it with a diamond cut finish for around £100 so you end with something that looks great and is definitely a whole lot cheaper than buying a new one.”
There are several stages in getting a diamond cut finish. The wheel is dipped in an acid bath to strip the wheel back to the bare alloy, being computer measured and put on a lathe where a very fine layer is machined off the face of the rim and the top layer of the spokes, leaving an ultra-shiny surface.
If you look carefully you should be able to see tiny little grooves, almost like those on the back of a CD. Lacquer is then applied to this newly revealed surface and if you have a different base colour on the rest of the wheel the result can be spectacular.
And despite what you may read or hear elsewhere, they are no more prone to corrosion than any other wheel.
Mark said: “Unless they are kerbed and the lacquer broken, diamond cut alloys are no more prone to corrosion than anything else. It is simply not true and anyway, we give 12 months warranty on every wheel we do.”
One final point to make - because of the equipment and processes needed, refurbishing diamond-cut alloys is not something that can be done by a mobile alloy wheel refurbishment company.
The alloy can only be repaired at a bodyshop which has made the investment in the technology and training to take what was a lightly damaged wheel and turn it into something that makes your car look great saving you several hundred pounds in the process.