How to Paint Chrome Rims


This article will advise you on how to paint chrome wheels. It will be easier if this is done with the tires dismounted from the wheels and the valve stems taken out.


You have two choices at this point:
1) Take the wheels to the local sand blasting company and have wheels blasted.
2) Rent a sandblaster at your local equipment rent store and buy the media for blasting the wheels yourself. Always use approved safety goggles and a respirator when using a media blaster.
It is necessary to blast the chrome completely or else the paint will not stick well and will flake off later, rendering an ugly looking wheel later.


After having the wheels blasted, wash them with soap and water to remove any dust left on them. At this point you can go one of two ways.
the DIY way is to paint them. Or, you could look into having them powder coated. Powder coating will hold up to the elements of weather and road grime better, but cost more than doing it yourself with spray enamel.


To paint these wheels you will want to apply an even coat of primer/sealer to the bare blasted wheel. Allow the primer/sealer to dry according to the product's directions. After drying, apply the paint of your choice to the wheel in even light coats. You don't want to apply the paint too heavy too quickly or you will have runs in your paint. After allowing the color to dry, apply at least two coats of a urethane clearcoat. Urethane holds up better than standard enamel clear.


Allow to dry for 24 hours or longer and have tires remounted and new valve stems installed. They should look pretty good and have a unique appearance to them. You can get creative and apply chrome trim rings or center caps. Or, maybe just a nice pinstripe around the rim..
Enjoy your new wheels!!!

Tips and Warnings

  • Make sure that the wheels are free of any existing "shiny" chrome
  • Make sure the blasted wheels are clean before painting
  • Have the wheels dismounted before attempting to paint (it will be easier and look better)
  • This article is written pretaining steel wheels that have been chromed.Most of this article will also work for aluminum alloy wheels, but you will need to be careful of the type of blast media that is used when blasting aluminum. It is softer metal than steel.
  • Always use the appropriate eye protection and respirator for breathing when using sand blasters and using paints and solvents.
  • Protect your hands from coming in contact with the paint or solvents.
  • Read and follow all safety precautions before using sand(media) blaster.
  • If you have rusty or pitted chrome wheels that are bad enough that it will be necessary to paint them to save them, then this article is for you.