Every year, NICOclub attends the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and each year, we see products that are new, innovative, and creative… including some that make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
We bumped into the team from WheelBands, a company out of Michigan that has come up with a brilliant solution to preventing curb rash and scrapes on modern wheels. With the advent of lower-profile tires and increasingly-expensive alloy wheels, even good drivers are bound to check a wheel at some point – and that damage is expensive to repair. The WheelBands solution puts a layer of high-strength, sacrificial plastic in between your shiny alloy wheel lip and the curb. Like a car bumper, they are intended to absorb some of the impact with road hazards in an effort to avoid more serious damage to what is behind them.
Here’s how the track and band works:
If you’re “stanced”, “hellaflush” or just running a tire that doesn’t quite protect the wheel rim, this might be the answer you’re looking for… They can also be used to cover up prior minor curb rash damage.
Plus, you can get them in colors to match your car! Select a track color AND a band color to complement your ride…
For those of you with a leased vehicle, did you know curb scrapes are NOT covered under the “typical wear and tear” allowances? That’s right – You can deduct a few hundred dollars from your bank account when you turn in that leased car with a scraped-up wheel.
We wanted to give WheelBands a try, to show you guys how easy the installation is. For this article, we’re going to install a set on the NICOclub Project Frontier. It does all the dirty work around NICOclub Headquarters, from hauling our Datsuns to shows, to transporting parts, to pulling up stumps and moving furniture. (NOTE: Obviously, due to the wheel and tire package we have on Project Frontier, the risk of curb rash is almost nil. However, ALL of our cars are running tires wider than the wheels – but we realize most new cars and aftermarket combos might not have this advantage.)
Here’s the kit as it comes – We chose black tracks with a red insert:
The plastic track and insert is SUPER-tough, but even if you scrape one, you simply remove the insert, flip it around, and reinstall it – Good as new!
The first step is to give the wheels a good wash and dry with detergent, to remove any and all oils, waxes and road funk that will prevent a clean installation. Follow that up with the supplied alcohol wipes until the lip of your wheel is squeaky – Take your time and do a good job. The better you do here, the better they’ll adhere and the longer they’ll last.
Here’s the wheels we’re working with…
The entire install took me about 40 minutes, start to finish. Here’s the installation process, as demonstrated by the guys at WheelBands:
While I was installing these, a neighbor strolled by… I’m pretty used to people stopping by to ask what I’m building. When I explained what I was doing, he said: “Holy crap – GREAT idea! I bought my wife a Lexus IS350 in August and ALL FOUR of the wheels are scratched up already!” I sent him on his way with the website address (I have no doubt he’ll stop by again and ask me to install them…)
Anyway, here’s how they turned out on Project Frontier – Click pics for larger view:
These really set off the look of the wheels, and for $119 a set, that’s WAY cheaper than repairing a scuffed wheel. Check out the close-up pics:
If you have any questions about WheelBands, their website is really informative… Check it out here: WheelBands.
Have fun installing them, and make sure to post up some pictures on the forum when you do!
Happy motoring, and look out for curbs.