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December 08, 2015

Chrome and Chrome Clad

Your Factory Original Buick Wheel may have a mirror like finish. Without careful inspection, it may not be clear what is giving it that finish. Most people would say that chrome is the only way to achieve such a reflection on the stock original Buick rims. They would be correct...sort of. There are two kinds of chrome finishes that will provide that mirror like reflection; chrome and chrome clad.

Traditional chroming plating of a Buick wheel refers to a technique of electroplating a thin layer of chromium on top of a copper layer, which is on top of a nickel layer. This process is time consuming usually takes about a week to complete.

The other technique is "Chrome Clad". In this case, the chromium layer is vacuum metalized on top of a plastic mold and then glued to the face of the Buick wheel. Once applied to the Buick wheel it can be difficult to tell the difference between a chrome clad finish and traditional chroming.

An advantage to having a chrome clad Buick wheel is its resistance to corrosion unlike the traditional chromed counterpart. There is also a disadvantage to chrome clad wheels. The greatest of which comes when there is damage present. When scratched or marred, many times the traditional chrome surface can be stripped and reapplied making it like-new again. Chrome clad wheels however cannot be repaired when scratched or damaged. OEM Buick chrome clad skins are not available by themselves as a replacement and a completely new wheel must be purchased.

A Buick wheel has a shiny surface that is desirable by many. If you are not sure which you have, a simple way is to knock on the surface. Chrome clad wheels will have a plastic sound whereas traditional chrome will sound like metal. If you have any questions as to which came stock on your Buick , contact us and we will assist you with what came stock on your Buick.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) California Tire Dealers Association Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)