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Heat-resistant overlay for an automotive steel wheel

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #5630654.

A method for providing a decorative surface on a standard steel wheel, without requiring the use of the wheel in the production of the decorative surface. The decorative surface of this invention is provided by an overlay composed of a panel which is assembled to the surface of the wheel and which closely conforms to certain portions of the wheel, while being spaced apart from other portions of the wheel in order to form exterior surface contours which contribute an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the wheel. The overlay further includes a spacing feature disposed on the inboard surface of the overlay. The spacing feature is configured to mate with portions of the axial surface of the wheel so as to fill voids between the inboard surface of the panel and the axial surface of the wheel. In doing so, the spacing feature prevents moisture and dirt from becoming trapped within the void between the overlay and the wheel. The spacing feature can be formed as a discrete spacing member which is attached to the panel, or formed by depositing an adhesive material onto the panel, or formed as an integrally-formed surface feature projecting from the inboard surface of the panel. The resulting overlay is a unitary member which can be subsequently assembled as a discrete unit to the wheel.

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