Corrosion on aluminum it an issue?

Jun 13, 2006
Hi everyone,
I recently cleaned up a set of OEM Nissan wheels for my Maxima that I had saved from a previous Maxima. I was originally going to have the wheels reconditioned, but for the $650.00 cost I would rather clean them myself.
The outside face of the wheels cleaned up nicely from the heavily baked on brake dust. They are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they look very presentable.
The question I have is related to some corrosion on the inside of the wheel. There are some areas that have developed corrosion and I am not sure if it's an issue that needs to be addressed or will it be fine leaving it alone. The areas that have developed corrosion will not be visible once the wheels are installed on the car, so aesthetically its not an issue.
Will leaving the corrosion "untreated" compromise the structural integrity of the wheel?
Would quickly sanding the areas and spraying them with silver spray paint be useful?
I also noticed a bit of corrosion in the bead area on one of the wheels, but I assume that has been there for a very long time and I never had any air leaking from the tires.

Thank you everyone!
PROBABLY won't hurt anything, but posting a picture would really help.

Sanding won't typically hurt and wet painting them could work and adhere well, but maybe not.

Please post some pictures.

Aluminum wheels are typically an alloy, and maybe factory powdercoated and/or anodized - but regardless don't use any harsh chemicals. Anything with a pH over 10 or so, will etch the wheels and strong acid like hydrochloric acid could cause hydrogen embrittlement - especially where corrosion has already started and could cause catastrophic failure.
Here are some pictures.
Thank you everyone for your help!





That's some serious road rash!! /s

If you want the new paint to last buy Wurth paint and clear coat. It' the best. It ain't cheap but it is the best.
I would not expect "structural integrity" to be a thing. From your original post I didn't realize you had the rubber off of the wheels already.

IMO - you're this far, why not keep going? Now is the time. You clearly don't need to wrap up this job so you can put the wheels back on to get to work tomorrow.

Smooth down those nasty spots and repaint. The bead surface needs to be in good shape for a good seal, but won't be seen. The really rough sections in the barrel won't be easily seen so your paint job doesn't need to be perfect, but "sanding" (or wire wheel, or nylon wheel, or....) and painting will smooth the appearance and protect from repeat corrosion. You may not even need to paint the visible outer surfaces at all, but you can repair and protect the inner surfaces.

Afterwards clean it all more regularly, especially at the seasonal switch over (if that applies to you) or after exposure to winter road salt (if that applies to you) and the finish will last longer. IMO the key is cleaning salt off when the weather turns warm so you're not carrying residual salt around in the heat of summer when it will become most active.