We all know that eventually your classic car’s original chrome bumpers and trim will slowly become pitted. For some buying new or re-chroming is not an option, but there is a free and easy tip to mute those light scratches and pitting so they are much less apparent.
What is this secret you may ask? Well if you go to your kitchen I’m sure you’ll have a roll of tin foil, it’s crazy to think something as common as tin foil could be used to polish chrome but its true.
In addition to the foil you’ll also need some sort of lubricant. A wide range of products can be used for this such as, Spray degreaser, WD-40, PB Blaster, cutting compound, automotive polish and thats just to name a few. Pretty much any liquid that will not evaporate and cause direct metal to metal contact can be used. If you do end up using a spray for this you may have to go back over the piece with polish because the foil may dull the surface which will easily shine back up. On this Corvair Bumper I used a medium grade Machinist polish meant to take of swirl marks left in metal.
You’re probably wondering how this works but the concept is pretty simple. When the foil is rubbed across the chrome tiny amounts of the foil get into the scratches and pits and lightly polishes out any of the rust embedded inside. The Polish aids in this by buffing out the very light scratches as well as getting rid of any oxidation within the pits and scratches. Since the aluminum foil is less dense than the outer layer of the chrome you can put some force onto the piece and do not have to worry about leaving scratches.
Vigorously rub the foil in one direction making sure there is a thin layer of polish at all times. For more severe areas rub in small circular movements in that area then follow going back and forth in the original direction.
Above you can see the line where I taped off the section on the left. The difference is not huge but this will make your bumpers and trim look much better overall by removing the light scratches and getting rid of any surface rust and oxidation. This quick tip not only saves your wallet, it also makes your ride look that much better when cruising into a show.