When I am parking my truck, it isn’t always easy to judge how far I am away from objects. I have, on occasion, bumped into the curb and other things from time to time. Once in a while, I scratch my rims on the curb. Even when I think I’m parking well, misjudging distance has happened.
To prevent your vehicle’s rims from getting scratched, you’ll need to practice parking, adjust the mirrors, and use sensors and various products to help you keep a safe distance from the curb.
The method that has worked best for me so far is using my mirrors. I make sure they are adjusted exactly how they need to be so I can see cars on the passenger side and be able to clearly see the curb and judge its distance to my rim.
Are Your Rims Protected?
The rims on your car can make the difference between your car looks nice or not. Too many scratches and bumps can impact the atheistic beauty of the car, and some may create problems for your tire.
Most budget rims will have a rim cover which can be helpful for getting your rim looking good quickly. All you need to do is replace the rim cover, and your car will look nice again.
Car owners with rims that have no covers need to be extra careful when parking because once a scratch is made, it may never be able to be removed. There are ways to get some scratches out, but deep scratches will leave a permanent mark.
To protect your rims, you can do a variety of things, but the first one is always to be cautious while driving and parking.
Parking and Maneuvering Safely
You go about your day, and your mind is focused on all the tasks that need to get done. You start to park while looking at your shopping list… Bang! You just bumped into the curb. Has this ever happened to you?
Being aware while driving is critical; even if everything seems fine, no one’s around, and you have plenty of room. I’ve had my fair share of driving and parking while being distracted. It can happen so easily.
In order to keep your rims scratch free, you will need to adopt a new attitude while parking. All that you may need to do is put up a post-it note on the dashboard or create a mental note. Once you are in the habit of parking and maneuvering carefully, you’ve all of a sudden reduced your chances of getting a scratch by 99%.
But we all have off days when we’re distracted and busy, so we just don’t take the time to park with as much care as we need to. What should can we do to protect our rims on days like that?
If you have been parking in the same place for a while and all of a sudden find that you need to park in new places, it might help to go over the procedures for parallel parking. Getting used to new situations can take some practice, so taking it slow is a helpful idea.
Check the Fit
- Will your car fit into the area of the space you want to park in? To determine if you can fit, pull up next to the space and make a stop when you can still see the bumper of the car in front of you or maybe its wheels, depending on how tall your car or truck is and its turning radius.
- If there is still at least 1-2 feet of space between you and the vehicle behind you, then this might be enough space for your car.
- Having about 3 feet in front and behind you is a good way to ensure you can comfortably maneuver into and out of a parking space.
- The easiest way to parallel park when you have a car in front and in the back of you is to first pull up next to the car (about 2 feet away) in front of the available space.
- Next, place the car in reverse and try to angle the car at about 25-45 degrees into the space, and turn the wheel when you’re about a foot away from reaching the curb. (This all depends if your angle is correct.) Make sure you watch carefully in the mirror and by turning your head over your right shoulder.
- Then, straighten out the wheel when both tires are parallel to the curb at about the same distance and before getting too close to the vehicle behind you.
- Last, you’ll likely need to adjust the car a bit more if the space is tight or your angle is off. Slowly adjust your car, so the wheels are about a foot away from the curb.
Check Your Space
- Try not to get too close to the curb or too far away. Any to ensure that you can get out of your parking space back up until you can see the bumper of the car in front of you. Then you usually have enough space to maneuver out if someone pulls too close behind you.
- If you’ve parked in a space with little room and find that you’ve trapped the car in the back or in front of you with no space to maneuver out of their parking space, try to find another space.
- It’s not safe, respectful, or responsible to trap another car, even if there’s no other space available. You will likely be towed away when someone can’t move their car out of a parking space.
Get Rim Protection
If you have nice rims, you might take some pride in making them look their best. In order to protect your rims, you can find various ways to help you meet your specific needs.
A Physical Barrier
There are some ways to physically protect our rims from scratches. One of the best ways is to get a hub cap. Another option is to use rim trim protection. This is a good option for cards with Aluminum alloy rims.
(click on pictures to learn about products on Amazon.com)
Protective Rim Cover
Not all rims can accommodate a wheel cover, but many can. A rim cover will work with most factory standard steel rims.
If your car has aluminum alloy rims, you will need to search around, but you may find ones that attach to the lug nuts or will fit your style of the rim edge.
When you apply a rim trim, it helps prevent scratches from occurring along the outer rim.
This thin layer of material will be enough to save your rim from minor scratches should you bump the curb.
Another way to protect your rims is by using your mirrors effectively.
If you use your mirrors when parallel parking, you’ll need to make sure they are adjusted the same each time to prevent mixing up your perspective. As you adjust your mirror, ensure you can see both cars and the curb clearly.
If you find it difficult to see objects behind you as you drive, consider getting a blind spot mirror. It can help you see a wider angle of view behind you.
Adjust the Mirror
Sometimes a small adjustment is all you need to do to get a good perspective when backing up.
If you can see the curb clearly, then you can likely carefully back up and see when you are close enough to the curb.
Blind Spot Mirror
When you back up, you may not see everything clearly. The mirrors or your viewing angle could cause issues.
Some people find that a blind spot mirror is very useful when backing up to the park.
Use a Backup Camera
A backup camera can help guide you as you try to parallel park. Once you learn where the curb is in relation to where it is showing up on the backup camera, you can back up next to the curb without bumping into it.
The first few times using the backup camera, you can ask a passenger for help to look out for you and guide you regarding how close you are to the curb. You may also want to get out of the car, look at the distance between the tire and the curb, and reference what the camera is showing when you are parked just right.
If your car has a stereo with a backup camera option, all you’ll need is the camera itself. Otherwise, you will need the camera and the monitor.
Just the Camera
Installing a camera is fairly easy, although wiring the cable may take a long time.
A good camera will be able to help you see a wide angle and have lighting to see at night.
Camera and Monitor
Getting a camera and monitor may be a bit easier than just getting a camera because you won’t need to take that stereo out for wiring.
Many of these systems work great at providing clear views of the area behind the car.
In some cases, you already have a system that works to help you park easier. Some cars have parking assistance, while others have sensors. You can even buy some sensors that may be able to be installed on your car to help guide you when parking.
Can I Get Rid of Scratches?
Many rims with no rim cover are made of aluminum or chrome-plated aluminum. These metals can be sanded and buffed to help reduce and get rid of scratches. It will take some time, but your rim will likely look like new if you do it right.
Here’s a good video to help you take the steps you need to make your rims look great again.
As we see in the video, you will need to have some patience and go through several steps to ensure your tire looks new. It will cost less than buying a new rim, but it depends on how interested you are in restoring your rim to look brand new again.
Another option that might work temporarily is to thoroughly clean the rim, especially the scratched areas. Any grim that has gotten into the scratches will be removed, and the scratches will not be so apparent. Unfortunately, it only lasts as long as your rim is clean.
Here’s a before and after shot of a scratched rim. It just takes a minute to clean, and the rim looks OK from a distance.
If your rims are painted, you can try a scratch-and-swirl remover product. These work well up to a certain point when trying to remove scratches, but if the scratch is too deep, you may want to try to get some paint to fill in the scratches.
One more option is to sand, fill in the scratches, and paint over everything. This can give you good results and will likely take you less time than what was required by the video above about removing the rim scratches.
When we take our time packing, we can prevent most scratches on our rims. It can take practice parking in new areas and getting used to new equipment we use to make our lives easier when parking, but with some patience, we choose a technique that works for us in order to park almost perfectly each time.
If you want to remove your scratches after scraping into the curb, you can choose a method you feel best works for you. Getting good results can be a matter of patience, but it may be worth it for those who enjoy keeping their car looking its best.