How to Paint Alloy Rims


Remove the wheels from the vehicle if they are still installed. Loosen the lug nuts, lift the vehicle with a floor jack and support it with jack stands while you remove the wheel. Have the tires removed by a tire shop. Though this is not absolutely necessary, the paint job will look better if the tires removed.


Apply paint stripper to the wheels to remove the old paint. Let the stripper soak in until the paint begins to bubble and then wipe off the paint with a rag. Use 120-grit sand paper to remove stubborn spots. Wear rubber gloves and a respirator when stripping the wheels.


Fix any gouges or scratches in the wheels by filling them in with liquid metal. Sand the filler in after it has dried so it is level with the undamaged areas of the wheel.


Sand the entire wheel with 120-grit and then with 220-grit sandpaper. Clean the wheel with mineral spirits until the surface to be painted is entirely free of grease and residue. If you left the tires on the wheels, mask off the tires with masking tape and paper so the tires do not get paint on them.


Spray on a light coat of primer and let it dry for a minute. Spray on a solid coat and let the primer dry for about 10 minutes. Hold the can 6 to 8 inches from the wheel and spray in a smooth back and forth motion. Apply more coats until the entire wheels is covered solidly with primer. Allow the primer to dry for several hours.


Wet-sand the wheels with 400-grit and then 600-grit sandpaper. Sand in one direction. This should give a smooth surface to spray the color onto. Wipe the wheel down with mineral spirits and a clean, dry, lint-free rag.


Spray a light coating of the color of your choice on the wheels. Let the paint dry for a minute or so and then spray on a solid coat. Let the paint dry for an hour and apply another coat. Spray on three or four heavy coats. Let the paint dry for several hours.


Wet-sand the paint with 600-grit and then 800-grit wet sandpaper. Wipe the wheels down with mineral spirits. If you want to the give the wheels a more shiny appearance, spray on a clear coat in the same way that the color coat was applied.


Let the paint dry overnight. Reinstall the tires if they were removed. Reinstall the wheels onto the vehicle and lower it to the ground.

Alloy wheels not only make a vehicle look better but can also contribute to the value of it. Over time though, wheels can begin to look faded, scratched and dingy due to their vulnerable location near the road, where they are subject to dirt and debris being thrown onto the wheel. A set of wheels can be painted in a weekend with the right tools and approach and can result in a far better looking vehicle.