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Performance Wheel Touchup - Alloy Paint


New Member
Aug 27, 2020
Manchester, UK
Hi! I’m a long time lurker, first time poster. And apologies in advanced for long post...I’m terrible for it on forums!

As a tiny bit of background, I’m from Manchester UK and I’ve had my Model 3 Performance since March 2020, and got it brand new. - not sure if this changes anything regarding wheels and colours etc.

I eventually did the inevitable, and curbed one of my alloys slightly. Being somewhat of a tinker, I figured I’d give it a go at a small repair myself. I knew the basics, but just wanted to get the colour right.

I did what anyone would do and went straight to google. Wasn’t long before I found a thread from this forum dating back to 2018, and then a few more recent threads all relating to the same question: “what colour should I use?”

Doing some more digging online lead me to find more and more places referencing the same colour over and over: Sonic Carbon (Code NEU-106E). So I decided to get some from a seller on eBay.

I got a little touchup pen that has a brush and a nib. But the colour seemed way too light. I’m talking 4 or 5 shades too lights. I mixed it with some black touch up paint and brought it a few shades darker and it looked loads better, but my paint job was just plain awful!

Being the tinker that I am, I wanted to give it a go with a spraycan, doing the entire front of the alloy. And being from the UK, I have a local Halfords (This is a big retailer that sells car parts etc.). So so popped in and asked if I could compare a few cans against my wheels. I grabbed all of the greys I could find off the shelf and took them out to my car, the staff found it very funny!

I found that a much closer match to my Tesla wheels was the Toyota colour “Decuma Grey” (Code 1G3). Doing some browsing shows that this is also sometimes called Toyota Magnet Grey. And it was dirt cheap for a can. Why not give it a go? So I bought a can and was on my way.

I did the lot, sanded, primed, painted, and lacquered (matte finish) the alloy and there was absolutely no way you could tell it was “technically” a different colour to the other alloys. Then I noticed a problem with my paint job. I’d gone too thick and there was some drippage going on. Not the paints fault - completely my fault being over excited and trigger happy with the spraying!

I had fun doing the job so wanted to do it again but get it right. This meant sanding down the alloy to the original finish and going again. Not a huge problem.

Thinking that maybe the original Sonic Carbon that I’d bought was maybe a bad seller or a bad mix, I bought some more (as a spray paint this time) from an online store. And today I did another job of the alloy and without a doubt it’s just too light! I’m annoyed because the (much cheaper) Toyota paint was so much better that I wish I’d done that one again!

And even more annoyingly, my paint job is even worse, with more dripping than the first run. This is something I’ll just have to perfect with time. Note to self (and to anyone else attempting this in the future): - light coats, long cure time between coats, don’t rush.

So once the weather clears up and I have a few hours free I’m going to give it another go with Toyota Decuma Grey. Hopefully this time I’ll see some results I can be proud of! Failing that, I’ll throw in the towel and have a specialist repair it. It’s all a bit of fun anyway.

I’ve posted some pictures, one of an original undamaged wheel (you can also see my charger cable making an appearance!), and another with the Sonic Carbon paint. You can just see how much lighter it is. A good reference point is comparing the alloy to the plastic cap on the front.

The third picture is of the Toyota Decuma Grey attempt. However this photo was taken in completely different lighting conditions so the metallic looks wacky and it’s hardly comparable. But you can hopefully see that it was a better match than the Sonic Carbon.

Things to note and tips about the Toyota Decuma Grey:
  • It’s a body paint, so naturally glossy. It needs a matte clear coat over the top.
  • It’s metallic, so re-shake the can every 5 or so seconds to keep the “sparkle” evenly mixed.
  • It may not suit for all climates, so check with the manufacturer that it can withstand high and low temperatures.

This post is really to share that maybe Sonic Carbon isn’t the best colour of choice for a touch up. I’d highly recommend the use of Toyota Decuma Grey to do repairs for a Tesla Model 3 Performance Alloy.

OG: 115DA6BB-7C73-4753-BB11-D3C1BD66AB77.jpeg
Sonic Carbon: AAE92662-D383-4B66-9743-0A6BCDC78DCF.jpeg
Toyota Decuma Grey: 0BC25DEC-A1E8-47E0-8A2D-ED4C1D479267.jpeg

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