Electroplating Your Vehicle

Electroplating is an overall name for various processes which produce a metallic layer on a solid surface by the passage of an alternating direct and alternating current through it. It can be used to make all kinds of metals, but is primarily used in automobile and aircraft surfaces because of the low cost, durability, and endurance. Electroplated products are much harder to dent, scratch, or damage. This is primarily because the metal is protected by an electrochemical charge, which keeps the metal from being negatively charged when impregnated with paint or grease, preventing pitting of the metal from occurring. Electroplating can also be done in an electrochemical process using zinc, tin, copper, or lead, though these are not widely used.

How to Find Electroplating Your Vehicle


There are two types of electroplating, mechanical and cathode. Mechanical electroplating, also called contact electroplating, uses two metal pieces that are touching one another to create a mechanical effect, creating the electroplating on the surface of the second metal piece. When done properly, the appearance of the product will appear similar to that of iron, nickel, or aluminum, though some variation may exist such as a smooth or textured surface.

Cathode plating on the other hand uses a consumable material such as a small amount of gold or silver (usually less than 0.1%), to create a thin layer of metal around the other material to prevent corrosion. Typically the corrosion resistance is far greater than that of mechanical plating, though if the corrosion resistance is too great the result can be very dangerous – a hot piece can overheat, for instance, and create a chain reaction that can explode in a very dangerous manner. If you are considering electroplating your vehicle, check the vehicle’s warranty or ask your dealer for more information regarding the warranty.

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