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How to Paint Car Wheels

For most people, their car is their most prized possession. So, it is very important for them to take care of their car and maintain them.

And there are many things that go into making sure that your car looks as good as new; painting is something you must look into if you are planning to make your car look good.

Just as it is important to paint the whole body of your car to make it look nice and shiny, you also have to paint the rims of your wheels so they match the rest of the car. If you don’t know how to paint car wheels, then don’t worry; we got you.

Keep reading to find the whole to-do list for painting your wheels.

how to paint car wheels

How to Paint Car Wheels

In most cases, before starting some type of work, we have to make some preparations and make sure we have all the things available right in front of us to make the job as easy as possible.

First of all, you need to make sure whether you have the car trim. The trim is basically a mix of all that you need to get the painting job set.

This includes the primer, base coat, body panel as well as clear coat. All of which is needed to ensure the paint stays on and looks good for a long time.

The primer and body panel are the ones that are going to help the base coat (paint); the primer is especially required if you are painting over old wheels. And finally, the clear coat will help it look smooth and shiny.

Along with these items, you are going to need a few more things,

  • Wheel Cleaners
  • Boxes, bags, and tape to protect the car’s body
  • Safety gear (mask, goggles, and gloves)

Once you have everything aligned, you are now going to have to determine where the paint job is going to take place. Make sure you do not have valuable or important items close by because the spray from the paint might easily get on them.

how to paint car wheels

Another thing you have to keep in mind is that the indoor setting, like a garage, would be a better option as the weather will have an impact on how the paint dries. If it starts raining or there is too much wind, then you will have a lot of problems getting the job done.

Now that we have all our prep work done, we can finally get into the actual task at hand!

Step 1: Clean the Car Wheels

The first thing you should do before you start painting the wheels is to make sure they are clean. Your car goes over different types of roads and is very likely to be covered in mud and dirt, and there is no way for you to paint over them as the paint will come off from various areas.

So, use the wheel cleaner you bought or the one you already had beforehand, and take a brush to make sure all the edges and corners are gunk-free and ready for the new layer of paint.

Cleaning just the front is not enough; in this case, you have to go in with the brush to make it squeaky clean.

Step 2: Cover the Car’s Body, Brake System, and Tires

how to paint car wheels

Your job now is to color the rims of the wheels, not the whole car. But with spray paint, you don’t really have 100% control over where the paint goes, so rather than having to worry about how to take the paint off a certain part of the car, it is better to have it covered properly, so nothing gets on in the first place.

For masking, you probably already bought tapes, boxes, and bags; those are what you will be using to make sure the paint doesn’t go in the wrong spot.

Open the boxes and cut them in a way so that they work as a shield, and insert them in the space between the tires and the car’s body. This will stop the spray from getting to the car.

Then use the bags by putting them strategically between the holes in the rims so that the brake system is also safe from the paint. Make sure you don’t slack off while doing this and actually go cover the inside well.

And lastly, you don’t want to paint your tires with spray paint, so make sure to use tape and cover up the entire surface and ensure nothing gets sprayed on it.

Step 3: Spray the Primer on Body Panel

how to paint car wheels

This is a very crucial step of the whole process, but sadly many people don’t pay enough attention to it. Primer is a must if you are painting over an old wheel, just like you would use a primer when you are painting the body of the car or even when you are painting the walls. The primer will help the paint adhere better to the wheel.

Now, before you start spraying the primer, give the can a good shake because the important content might be at the bottom of the can; testing it out on a piece of paper will also be good, as you will know whether it comes out smoothly or not.

Start spraying from about a foot distance, and make sure you spray all over. However, don’t go overboard, as it might take a very long time to dry. After 20 minutes of drying, you can repeat the process again with the second coat of primer.

Step 4: Paint the Wheels

how to paint car wheels

I’ve already mentioned that the base coat is the actual paint in the whole car trim; this, too, comes in a spray can like the primer, so you have to shake the bottle to properly distribute the pigments inside. You don’t want this to look patchy and bad.

Now, with the help of about a foot away from the wheel, start spraying the base coat onto the wheel, and make sure you get to all the corners, so nothing looks out of place.

Also, don’t go in with a heavy hand, as the paint might crack or look lumpy in certain spots.

Let the first coat dry for 20 minutes like you did with the primer, and then go over it a second time.

Step 5: Spray the Clear Coat

The last step you must take after you have let the second layer of the base coat dry for 20 minutes is to go over the paint with a clear coat to seal everything in and to make sure the wheels look new and shiny.

Now, the spraying method here is the same as the one you followed for the primer and the base coat; shake the bottle, spray the first coat, then let it dry before going in again for the second coat.


And with that, we are done painting our wheels. It wasn’t so hard, now, was it? If you did end up making a mistake or two, don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

You could add a paint remover to your shopping list to clean up all the mistakes.

So, let us know how much you liked our guide on “how to paint car wheels.”

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