Which Aluminum Oxide Blasting Grit is Best for Wheels?

For your next automobile project, you may want to remove rust or buff out the surface of your wheels. Abrasive blasting is a great method to do that, but before you start, it’s important to consider the grit size.

Abrasive blasting makes use of an air compressor to propel blast abrasive grains through a nozzle at high velocity onto your chosen project surface. It has various applications, such as treating aluminum wheels.

A popular blast media is aluminum oxide, which is often used because of its general strength and effectiveness. It’s durable and stronger than a lot of other blast media, like glass beads or garnet, which are less abrasive.

For wheels, however, aluminum oxide is likely not the best choice—softer media like glass or plastic beads, corn cobs, or walnut shells are more likely to remove paint, rust, or other automotive coatings without damaging the wheel itself. An even better choice is superoxalloy (explained further down).

Before you start a blasting project, it’s important to consider the grit size. When you want to penetrate thick layers of paint and rust, it’s best to go for a small grit size, which means the particles are very coarse and rough . The grit size has an inverse relationship with the particle size. For example, if you have a blasting media that has a grit number around 220, then the particles are very fine. This is best used when you don’t want to damage your surfaces. 

When blasting aluminum wheels, using a finer, less abrasive grit—like 200 or 220—will be better for the wheels. If it were to be blasted with a rough, abrasive grit on the other end of the abrasive scale, the aluminum is more likely to become textured or warped. 

The Best Blast Media to Use 

10X Engineered Materials has created a line of superoxalloy abrasives that will get the job done and leave the surface of your wheels smooth and clean.  Products include KinetiX (high-production grades) and EpiX (precision grades), both of which perform in finer grit sizes, as well as or better than expensive, clean, ultra-high-performance media.

These abrasives are made up of polymorphous particles, meaning they can perform multiple functions at one time, removing the layers quicker and more efficiently in just one step. Additionally, these abrasives are strong but gentle and will leave the underlying surface unharmed. 

Currently, KinetiX and EpiX are available from distributors around the US. If you don’t see a distributor near you, contact 10X and we will work with you to get you what you need. EpiX abrasive, which is best for precision applications such as powder coating and medical applications, is also available to purchase directly from the 10X Engineered Materials website.