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Love Your Car is a minor accident and repair body shop in Cardiff that also specialises in alloy wheel repair and refurbishments.

The company offers customers a range of services for their alloy wheels, such as colour changes, diamond cutting, split rim refurbishments and SMART repairs. Love Your Car also uses the latest cutting edge technology, and has recently purchased Vixen’s Aqua Wheelblaster.

The Aqua Wheelblaster uses wetblasting technology to simultaneously blast, wash and etch the wheels ready for painting in one simple step, and produces the perfect keyed surface on the alloy for paint to adhere to in the next stage of the SMART alloy wheel repair process.

All paint processes in modern cars, whether on bodywork or wheels, are chemically etched prepared prior to painting, so there is little benefit in removing well adhered paint from new alloy wheels. The wetblasting process used in the Aqua Wheelblaster does not strip the wheel right back to bare metal; instead, it creates a key. This is ideal for same day repairs, and is becoming more and more popular with customers.

The Aqua Wheelblaster has an internal spigot to hold the wheel in place during the blasting process, and has the option of a pneumatic lift to help load wheels into the machine, some of which can weigh over 40kg.

Leigh John, wheel technician at Love Your Car, said: “Before we got the Aqua Wheelblaster we had an old sand blaster which was very messy and required a lot of clean up due to all of the dust it created. It was also a massive risk to other paint jobs.

“We also used scotch pads on the alloy wheels to get the perfect key, and that used to take us an hour just to prepare one – we sometimes struggled preparing four in one day.”

After investing in the Vixen machine, the staff at Love Your Car instantly noticed an improvement in productivity and efficiency, and are now able to blast up to 30 wheels in one day.

Leigh said: “With the Aqua Wheelblaster, we can etch wheels and wash away the oil and break dust in one machine, it’s made my life so much easier, I couldn’t imagine working without it.

“After the wheel has been blasted it comes out perfectly etched, without being stripped, and ready for repair and painting.”

Before using the Vixen machine, the process for SMART alloy wheel repairs at Love Your Car was as follows: Tyre removal, scotch pad or dryblast the wheel to create the key, jet wash to remove dust and abrasive, dry, repair and finally paint.

Now, the Aqua Wheelblaster can cut this process down to: Tyre removal (now optional), blasting in the Aqua Wheelblaster, blow off, repair and paint.

Aidan Mallon, managing director at Vixen Surface Treatments, said: “It’s really good to hear that the staff at Love Your Car are seeing the benefits of the Aqua Wheelblaster and the profitability of quick, same day alloy wheel repairs.

“It’s great that more and more garages and bodyshops are bringing SMART repairs into their premises, and seeing the benefits that the Aqua Wheelblaster has to offer.”

Love Your Car has also purchased a Silver Care Plan from Vixen for their Aqua Wheelblaster, which entitles them to four services per year and 10 per cent off spare parts fitted at service. The operators feel that this is important to have as their machine is used every day, and is heavily relied on in the bodyshop.

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