Kwicksilver Systems is now offering wheel repair franchises throughout the United States and master franchises abroad. Kwicksilver® services include repair and reconditioning of all steel, aluminum and chrome rims, custom wheel painting, chrome exchanges, wheel polishing and tire/wheel sales. The company has patented its wheel straightener and repair methods.
The ratio of aluminum to steel wheels is growing at an ever-increasing rate. Today, approximately 60% of vehicles use aluminum wheels. Some high-end manufactures have a ratio of nearly 100%. Virtually all aftermarket wheels are cast or forged aluminum. This is a natural transition, as the aluminum wheel is lighter, providing better performance, handling, and improved gas mileage.
The ability to manufacture low profile tires has radically increased the wheel size on many vehicles. At one time, 16″ wheels were only available by special order. Now, 17″, 18″ and larger wheels are common. Aftermarket wheels are often 20″, 22″ – even 24″. As wheels increase in size, their durability is reduced. “These larger, softer, aluminum wheels are also prone to curb rash, gouges and damage caused by potholes,” says Jeff Smith, founder of Kwicksilver®.
Replacing a damaged or bent aluminum wheel with a new one is becoming less of an option these days. “With the escalating cost of these new wheels, owners and their insurance carriers are looking for alternatives,” says Smith. A bent wheel can generally be repaired for $75 – $200. A cosmetically damaged wheel can be reconditioned for $50 – $175. The work can be performed in 15 – 45 minutes. Wheel repairs are conducted at a Kwicksilver® shop or by a mobile technician. The replacement price of performance OEM rims range from approximately $400 – $2,000 each. Aftermarket aluminum alloys and chrome rims can cost even more. “The numbers clearly favor repair over replacement,” says Smith.
Kwicksilver®’s wheel repair methods are so exact there is no discernible difference between the fully reconditioned rim and a new replacement rim from the dealer. “Kwicksilver® has brought wheel repair to a whole new level. Most customers think they’re looking at a new rim – they’re just amazed,” says Smith. With many aftermarket wheels the only solution may be repair. Many aftermarket rim styles are discontinued after a year or so. Consequently, if you bend an aftermarket rim on a pothole you’re faced with buying four new wheels. Now Kwicksilver® is providing an alternative for a fraction of the cost.
According to SEMA, a trade organization dedicated to the automotive aftermarket, “wheels are the first modification consumers make to their vehicles,” by a wide margin. “Rims are becoming very much a fashion statement. This is a growing trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing down,” says Smith.