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The rims on my 2002 Rav4 are rusting out rather badly. I did clean them up, adding a rust binding agent (two coats) and painted them with two coats of a high quality silver primer/paint but within 6 months the rust started coming through again.


I am of the opinion nothing I do short of sandblasting them, repriming and repainting will solve the rust issue. Should I just but a new set of rims or does anyone have any suggestions for curing the rust issue. I am fairly certain the second option (rust removal and repaint) will be more expensive than buying new (or a good set of used) rims.


Thoughts?
 

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We bought a mint 2008 Limited v6, last summer / everything was rust free, except the steel winter spare rims.

It would probably cost $150 to get them sandblasted and another $50 in spray can paint - not very cost effective / they do rust fast, possibly through a combination of cheap steel &/or primers.
- good for the scrap bin


3 Season Setup - rim 17x7.5"
So I purchased 2013 takeoff alloy rims off a 2013 4Runner, for $800 Cdn / for all-season summer tires.

Test Fit


Winter Setup - rims 17x7"
- the original 6 spoke RAV4 alloy rims, were reserved for my winter tires
- so I still keep the rust free look
 

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The rims on my 2002 Rav4 are rusting out rather badly. I did clean them up, adding a rust binding agent (two coats) and painted them with two coats of a high quality silver primer/paint but within 6 months the rust started coming through again.


I am of the opinion nothing I do short of sandblasting them, repriming and repainting will solve the rust issue. Should I just but a new set of rims or does anyone have any suggestions for curing the rust issue. I am fairly certain the second option (rust removal and repaint) will be more expensive than buying new (or a good set of used) rims.


Thoughts?
Hi Forteatwo. I am not sure if you are referring to steel wheels or alloy wheels but if you are having rust on factory steel wheels here is my experience.
I repainted my winter steel rims with Dupli color wheel paint but after one winter the rust came back big time. The next winter I used Rustoleum hammered paint (don't use the spray can not as strong). I read that the one in the can you use a brush was tougher than the spray can. (sanded & prepped) I also got wheel skin covers. After one winter I have minor rust on the inside welds but none anywhere so just very minor touch up. This has to be the best paint for salty areas so it works very well. The wheel skin covers prevent salt from touching the front of the wheel spokes but the back is still exposed. You need to clean the wheel skin cover with wheel cleaner (Simoniz wheel cleaner) as the salt stain is very hard to remove with just soap.

There are wheel skins on Ebay and other sites. They are made of plastic and only available in chrome color. Wheel skin covers are not universal fit so they only fit on factory steel wheels for your specific model only. (some may fit other models ie Highlander, Suzuki etc).
 

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Many folks confuse iron oxide rust with ferrous chloride salt water corrosion because they look similar. The only sure way to get rid of salt corrosion before repainting or powder coating is by electrolysis which on rims is an easy diy.
 

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Many folks confuse iron oxide rust with ferrous chloride salt water corrosion because they look similar. The only sure way to get rid of salt corrosion before repainting or powder coating is by electrolysis which on rims is an easy diy.
Electrolysis works great for severe rust or chloride salt impregnation issues. I tried repainting 70's vintage Yanmar marine engine without blasting or electrolysing the casing ( I used a wire wheel and scotchbrite to clean it up ) some time ago, within weeks the salts were blowing through the epoxy enamel I used. complete waste of time.

easiest method I have found for prepping really rusty wheels is to find a foundry that has a shot-blasting machine, and pay them a small fee to throw them in and shot-blast them clean with steel or stainless steel shot.
 
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[...] easiest method I have found for prepping really rusty wheels is to find a foundry that has a shot-blasting machine, and pay them a small fee to throw them in and shot-blast them clean with steel or stainless steel shot.
Shot-peening (properly) tends to close surface pores and also helps prevent surface cracks. How effective it is depends upon how thoroughly it is done.
 

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Shot-peening (properly) tends to close surface pores and also helps prevent surface cracks. How effective it is depends upon how thoroughly it is done.
Heard a lot about this process too and will have excellent result when done properly.
 

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Shot-peening (properly) tends to close surface pores and also helps prevent surface cracks. How effective it is depends upon how thoroughly it is done.
Thats actually a really good point, my first factory job for 7 years was in a foundry, we used to shot peen a lot of cast alloy brackets that had been diecast and looked pretty damn nice right out of the die, but I guess where they were cut off the runner, the saw and linisher marks would create crevices for fractures to follow, hence the long peening cycle. they looked a bit dull after, but I bet they never broke!. they were for Volgren Bus bodies. the cargo doors along the side.

I took more than a few foreigners in to shotblast, or take into the sandblasting booth where I cleaned up the dies (i was a die-setter and general machinist/fixit guy), works great on rims, engine casings etc :D.
 

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Stock rims are junk and will leak at the welds on some variants.

I recommend getting used aluminum rims and be done with the high maintenance junk rims.
 

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The paint is bubbling on the alloy wheels on my wife's 2010 RAV4. I showed the dealer several years ago and they blew me off. I see this happening a lot on older Asian vehicles. My 2009 Avalon wheels do not have even a hint of this condition, so perhaps it is the the wheel manufacturer and what they use to make the wheel.
 
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