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physical vapor deposition

  • 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™

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