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A car wash or detail might revive the shine on sullied chrome, but that mirror-like material isn’t just for looks. Check out Groupon’s guide to the purpose and process behind a chrome finish.
A car’s gleaming grill or a motorcycle’s shining exhaust pipes sure look pretty, but chrome plating is just as much about function as it is about style. True to its name, chrome contains chromium—a hard, rust-resistant metal element that, when overlaid on another material such as nickel, steel, copper, or plastic, results in a bright and durable finish. This combination of a radiant, bluish-white sheen and resistance to corrosion has made chrome a popular coating for appliances, industrial tools, and—of course—automotive trim.
Chrome is applied using a process called electroplating. After a quick dip in acid to remove any oxides from its surface, the material is coated with copper and nickel and transferred to a solution of chromic acid and another catalyst. There, an electric current attracts charged chromium ions to the material’s surface, locking in the bright, silvery shine much as a coat of varnish locks in the pioneer spirit of a Lincoln Log.
Appointment required, 24 hour advance notice required. Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as gift. Limit 1 per visit. Valid only for option purchased. Extra fee of $20 for vans, trucks, and SUVs.