Welcome to LA Wheel

Chrome & Winterchrome

All things chrome wheels and rims
  • How to Choose the Best Chrome for Your Car

    TiresChrome wheels are perfect for you if you have to drive through the elements. They are anti-corrosive, which means that they are free from being rusty. Moreover, they can enhance the look of any vehicle. More specifically, they have the ability to make your old car look pretty cool! But, before you purchase them, you need to understand which type of chrome wheel is perfect for your car.

    This article will help you choose the best chrome for your car.

    Types of Chrome Wheels

    In order to understand which chrome wheel will be perfect for your car, you need to have a clear idea of the different types of chrome wheels. Basically, there are two types of chrome wheels. The first one is the Standard Chrome Plated wheel, while the second one is the PVD Chrome wheel.

    The Standard Chrome Plated wheel is the typical shiny wheel that you have noticed in various custom cars. As the name suggests, the wheel is being plated with chrome before being plated with Nickel.

    The second type of wheel is “PVD”, which stands for Physical Vapor Deposition. It is a powder coated wheel, which is less shiny than the Standard Chrome Plated wheel.

    Which One You Should Choose?

    The Triple Chrome plated wheel adds a shine to your car. We use state-of-the-art technology, proven methodology, and the best-performing, most environmentally-focused chroming facility.  From our semi-bright and particle nickels (the most expensive part of chrome plating), to our special anodes that allow chrome to get into all nooks and crannies of the wheel, we spend on average 20-30% more to chrome plate a wheel than just about anyone else out there. That's a difference you can see, and as they say, "seeing is believing."

    The PVD chrome wheel is lighter than the Triple Chrome Plated wheel, which assists in reducing the rotating mass. PVD also helps against corrosion due to salt from the ocean or salted roads in the winter months. So, if you are living in wet regions or drive through conditions that are rough on your car PVD would be a great choice. Moreover, it can be used in all types of weather throughout the whole year. It doesn’t look as shiny as its counterpart, but that can enhance the look of your car.

    If you are looking to enhance the look of your car, then go for the Triple Chrome Plated wheel. But if you are looking to purchase a high performance wheel that can be used in any type of weather, try the PVD Chrome Wheel. If you have any questions, you can always call us and we’ll help you find the right chrome for your car!

  • All About L.A. Wheel and Tire's New WinterChrome™ Finish

    Black WinterChrome™ & SnowChrome™ Black WinterChrome™ & SnowChrome™

    L.A. Wheel and Tire is proud to announce our new WinterChrome™ finish!  WinterChrome™ comes in two styles: SnowChrome™ (standard WinterChrome™, looks like chrome) and Black WinterChrome™ (Black PVD Chrome, looks like black chrome).

    Unlike traditional chrome, WinterChrome™ is a very durable, lustrous finish because it uses a PVD process for application (otherwise known as "Physical Vapor Deposition").  This process ends with a protective clear coat and UV-resistant shielding, that ultimately means the chrome won't color shift like cheaper chrome processes, and won't peel after a few years.

    L.A. Wheel still offers chrome, because our chrome is the best in the industry.  But even at it's best, any traditional chrome process is made to be a show-quality finish. Ours lasts a long time and is more durable than others, but WinterChrome™ is simply the most durable finish that looks like chrome.

    WINTERCHROME™ TRAITS

    • More durable than traditional chrome!
    • Resists corrosion!
    • No color shifting!
    • Environmentally friendly process!
    • "The 5 Year Simple Warranty": no fine print and even covers corrosion!

    THE WINTERCHROME™ ADVANTAGE

    WinterChrome™ represents the 21st Century way to combine the brilliant look of traditional chrome with the durability of powder coated wheels. And, as a bonus, WinterChrome™ is a "green," environmentally friendly process, using no hazardous materials and producing no hazardous waste.

    Traditional chromed wheels, look gorgeous out of the box, just like our WinterChrome™ wheels. But, in traditional chrome, the metal is exposed to the atmosphere and environment. That can result in corrosion or oxidation, which can pit the wheel and ruin the finish.

    Unlike traditional chromed or polished aluminum, our WinterChrome™ wheels will not oxidize, fade or discolor when exposed to road salts, the ocean air environment or brake dust. They cleanup easily with soap and water and make maintenance a breeze.

    SnowChrome™ vs. Triple Trivalent Chrome SnowChrome™ vs. Triple Trivalent Chrome

    Proven and Tested

    The WinterChrome™ process has passed each of nearly 50 tests prescribed by GM, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota for the quality and durability of painted wheels. [Many of these tests impose far more stringent requirements than OEMs require for chrome finishes.]

    In each case, the WinterChrome™ process met or exceeded the OEMs known requirements.

    This process was also tested against traditional chrome on board the USCG Cutter Barracuda, stationed in Eureka, California for more than a year. In this harsh environment, the traditional chrome fixtures pitted and flaked within months even with the professional care of USCG sailors. But, the WinterChrome™ fixtures still looked as good a year later as the day they were put into service.

    L.A. Wheel 's WinterChrome Process

    L.A. Wheel has implemented its WinterChrome™ technology process to provide a durable, bright, corrosion-safe finish. It also allows us to offer an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional electroplated chrome wheels. The WinterChrome™ process uses no hazardous materials and produces no hazardous waste.

    The WinterChrome™ process combines the best corrosion proofing features of powder coating with the shine and bling of real chrome to produce truly classic chrome finishes with a deep rich appearance much like our traditional triple plate show quality chrome.

    Black WinterChrome™ vs. SnowChrome™ Black WinterChrome™ vs. SnowChrome™

    The WinterChrome™ process creates a durable finish that enables the wheel to exceed the original equipment manufacturers ' warranties. As a result, L.A. Wheel can warrant the finish on the WinterChrome™ wheels for a full five years against pitting and de-lamination due to corrosion, something that is impossible to do on electroplated chrome. In more than 8 years using this process, not a single wheel has come back for warranty due to corrosion!

    The WinterChrome™ process should not be confused with cheaper PVD imitations. In the other processes, there is only a single alloy coating, consisting primarily of aluminum, one of the easiest metals to corrode and oxidize. In our two-stage WinterChrome™ PVD process, the first coating consists of a proprietary corrosion resistant alloy. Then, to get the shine and bling of real chrome, the second coating is pure chromium. This patented process has been field tested years longer than other PVD process with outstanding results. That is why we can offer the best warranty in the business, one which even covers pitting and flaking due to corrosion!

    1. First, we inspect the wheel to make sure it is round and true to factory specifications. Then,
    2. We strip any paint from the wheel and, if necessary, we polish the wheel to remove cosmetic blemishes and provide a smooth surface. Then,
    3. We clean the wheel in a soap bath to remove dirt and polishing compound. Then,
    4. We preheat the wheel to remove any gases in the alloy that might out-gas and form bubbles during the remainder of the WinterChrome™ process. Then,
    5. We apply and cure a special wheel grade hybrid powder coat to provide a smooth substrate that adheres well to the aluminum in the wheel and that will accept the metal coatings in the following steps.
    6. After all this preparation, the wheel is ready to be placed in to into a Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) vacuum chamber for the patented finish process.
    7. In the PVD chamber, after evacuating the atmosphere, we excite a special corrosion resistant alloy, and the excited molecules are vacuum deposited on the wheel.
    8. After the corrosion resistant layer has been deposited, the chamber is evacuated again, and then real chrome is added, excited and vacuum deposited.
    9. Next, we apply an acrylic powder clear coat to preserve and protect the finish.
    10. Finally, the wheel is inspected and polished to a high luster so we can ship a wheel with the best combination of beauty and durability available.
    BMW M5 with L.A. Wheel WinterChrome™ finish BMW 5-series with exclusive WinterChrome™
  • Chroming Wheels the L.A. Wheel and Tire Way

    Chroming Process

    Here at L.A. Wheel and Tire, we use state-of-the-art technology, proven methodology, and the best-performing, most environmentally-focused chroming facility in Southern California (a state that also happens to have some of the most stringent environmental policies in the world). From our semi-bright and particle nickels (the most expensive part of chrome plating), to our special anodes that allow chrome to get into all nooks and crannies of the wheel, we spend on average 20-30% more to chrome plate a wheel than just about anyone else out there. That's a difference you can see, and as they say, "seeing is believing."

    *****

    It all begins with a simple aluminum wheel...

    Each one is individually inspected on a high speed balancer to make sure it's perfectly straight and round and within factory tolerances. Any wheel that fails this inspection is scrapped. Wheels that are cracked, corroded, have been welded or involved in an accident are also automatically scrapped. Once a wheel passes this inspection, it is engraved with a unique number for tracking purposes and is then sent off to get stripped. All of the dirt, grime, brake dust, paint, clear coat, and any other finish is completely removed, so you're left with a totally bare, "raw" aluminum wheel.

    This "raw" wheel is hand polished in our own in-house polishing shop. Most companies outsource their polishing due to lower cost, but we do it ourselves to make sure the end result is a perfect wheel, one that has a mirror-like appearance. Hand polishing removes any imperfections on the surface of the wheel and prepares it for the plating process. Plus, we are very picky (because we know you are) and it's very hard to control quality of another polishing shop.

    At the first stage of the actual plating process, the wheel is cleaned in a special soap bath to remove any polishing compound and then rinsed again in an alkaline bath. After this, the wheel is placed into a zincate bath, after which it is rinsed again to prepare it for a second zincate bath. All of our wheels go through a double zincate bath in order to achieve the tightest, most uniform application of zincate, which will then result in the smooth surface.

    (Continued after the break)

    After the second  zincate bath and subsequent rinse, the wheel then goes to the  Sulfamate nickel strike bath. This is a very important step, and also the step most companies skip, since this special type of nickel is very expensive (some use the less expensive Watts nickel). We do not dilute this solution with any other chemicals, and we also keep the nickel strike bath very clean to ensure the best possible bond of nickel to the aluminum surface of the wheel. Compare this layer of nickel to a primer paint laid down first. If this step is not done properly, the chrome finish will not stick to the wheel, just like paint won't stick to the body of your car if it's not primed first.

    Coming out of the nickel strike bath, the wheel is placed into a copper bath. This bath is filled with a special type of copper called "Acid Copper". Acid Copper helps fill any imperfections in the metal of the wheel. Then this copper layer is hand buffed to smooth out the surface to a high luster finish.

    After this bath, the wheel is ready for the most important step:

    Nickel bath (or actually baths)!

    This is what makes or breaks the chrome wheel. L.A. Wheel and Tire uses FOUR types of nickel!  The wheel is first submerged in a semi-bright nickel bath for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size). Most companies will only leave a wheel in this bath for 5-10 minutes to save money on nickel, and then completely skip the other 2 nickel baths (more on that later). Nickel is very important, since it's the only thing that gives a wheel it's corrosion resistance.

    Imagine yourself going to the beach every day, in the blazing heat, without any sunscreen. Sooner or later you will get sunburn...or worse (hopefully not, though). Nickel is like a sunscreen for the wheel:  it protects it from the elements such as brake dust, car wash chemicals, harsh weather conditions and much more. The semi-bright nickel bath is then followed by 14-16 minutes of bright nickel and then 1-2 minutes of micro-porous nickel. These last two are the ones most companies skip altogether, leaving you with a wheel that's prone to corrosion and peeling.  In order to give you a 5 year warranty, all of our wheels go through ALL 3 of these nickel baths.

    Believe it or not, the wheel is still not ready yet...

    Following two more rinses, the wheel finally goes into the chromium bath! This is what you know as the "chrome" look and is what gives the wheel that amazing "bling bling" shiny appearance.

    This step is quite easy, since it was all the preceding steps that had to be done right in order to prepare the wheel for it. Just 1.5 minutes in this chromium bath is all you need. Of course the wheels are still rinsed twice again, and then hand polished and inspected for any defects before being boxed up and shipped to your door step.  Ta Da! All your neighbors will run over and ask you where you got your wheels from.

    We hope you enjoyed the tour!

    *****

    Want wheels like these? Please visit us at:

    www.LAWHEEL.com or call

    1-800-584-2832 (toll free in the U.S.) or (818)-626-8867

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