How to Paint Aluminum Wheels Properly

Aluminum Wheels on cars and trucks easily collect dirt and grime and need to be thoroughly cleaned or polished to give them an almost new look and extend their lifespan.

Corroded or oxidized aluminum rims can be the cause of sticky road dirt and brake dust to much grosser damage such as pitting. The time and effort needed to paint them mainly relies on how the painter is experienced.

Although it is possible to polish them manually, the process is very time consuming and requires a lot of effort. One of the best alternatives is to seek the professional aluminum wheel polisher.

You do not have that cash to hire an expert Aluminum Wheel polisher. You will only remain with the option of doing it by yourself.

All you need is the right tools and the know-how to paint aluminum rims. Lucky enough, this article will give you some of the steps to take.

With these simple steps, you will quickly learn how to paint your lovely rims easily.

Why Paint Your Aluminum Wheels

Paint Your Aluminum Wheels

You must be aware that air is one of the worst enemies for aluminum.

When you expose your aluminum rims to air, they become dull, old and weathered. Also, people who live in colder climates and expose them to road salt, they get harmed even faster.

Other enemies are dirt, brake dust, and other contaminants. All these external components can greatly affect the gloss and shine of your aluminum rim.

Therefore, if you have invested in a brand new or gently used set of aluminum rims, you need to ensure that they are far away from the contact of moisture.

Below, follow some steps to help you paint your rims.

How To Prep Aluminium Wheels For Paint 

remove all the contaminants and oil

To prep your wheel for painting, you have to remove all the contaminants and oil. You can apply aluminum-safe cleaner or a good solvent that can remove all the residues.

After residue removal, blast the wheel with #60 or fine media. Again, remove all the residue with an alloy safe industrial cleaner or good solvent.

At this point, you should be well clothed to avoid contact with contaminants.

The next step is to treat with a phosphoric acid solution. Blow off to remove excess and don't let it dry. Watch for fumes; ensure your mask is well fitted.

Then treat with chromic acid or any other alternative chemical. Prime with urethane or non-etching epoxy. I recommend epoxy.

Now, your aluminum wheel is ready for the next step.

Step By Step Guide On How To Paint Aluminum Wheels

Here, you have the steps to follow orderly to color your aluminum wheels yourself. Scroll down, and keep following them.

Step 1: Cleaning The Rims

Cleaning The Rims

First, park your car in a secure place. Using a garden hose, spray your rims with a robust and steady stream of water. Then add a small amount of liquid dish soap or other rim cleaning fluid in a bucket of water and mix thoroughly.

Apply this mixture on each edge and let it soak for about five minutes and then spray with a pressurized jet of water.

Using a good, soft microfiber cloth or rug, wipe them to dry. This first step alone should remove any dirt and allow you to get closer to the painting tasks.

Step 2: Sand-Grind The Surface Of The Cleaned Wheel

Sand-Grind The Surface Of The Cleaned Wheel

Grind the wheel with 220-grit sandpaper; be sure to grind the entire side of the wheel, even deep in the spokes. For the wheels that have deep scratches, sand-grind first with 80 sandpaper. 

Step 3: Mask The Wheel 

Mask The Wheel

Mask the wheel to protect it from over-spray. Now, tape the tire. Insert playing cards between the wheel and the tire. Stick the nuts tightly. Cover your brake discs with some masking paper.

Step 4: Apply Primer

Apply Primer

Spray several layers of light on the primer. Wait for the primer to dry and smooth it with 600-grit sandpaper. Wipe to dry. This will take around 20 minutes.

Step 5: Now Paint

Paint Masking Wheel

Spray several thin layers of silver wheel paint. It will be a good approach to turn the wheels a few times by driving the car back and forth a few feet to see if you have missed any spots. Let the silver wheel paint dry for 5 minutes.

Step 6: Apply Clear Coat

Apply Clear Coat

The clear coat or topcoat f11 should be applied in several and thin paints.

Step 7: Wait To Dry 

Wait To Dry

Wait for about 10 minutes; the clear coat will be dry. Then you can remove the playing cards, and the wheels are ready to face the harsh conditions of the road.

It will remain unshakable even when driving in rain, mud or the humidified environment. For Chassis and Frame paint you can visit

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Let’s Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best paint for aluminium wheels?

Any high temp paint can work correctly on aluminium wheels.

2. Is spray painting on aluminium wheels possible?

Yes! You can, using epoxy primer, but it requires proper preparation. It blends well with rubber-aluminium and fiberglass.

3. Is it applicable to sand and paint aluminium wheels?

No, you will not get the best quality as the paint will not stick well. Apply powder, if you think that your wheel requires sanding.

4. How long does it take to paint aluminium wheels?

From preparation to the actual painting and drying, it can last from 24 hours to 72 hours.

5. Is painting aluminium wheel costly?

There are a variety of factors that influence the cost of painting aluminium wheels.  The type of paint,  size of the wheel and labour if an expert is hired are some of the cost determinants.

Concluding Thoughts

Remember that you must regularly clean your rims to reduce corrosion and oxidation effect to an absolute minimum.

When cleaning aluminum rims, apply a clear coat of wax after each use or rub with a mild oil layer to prevent subsequent oxidation or corrosion.

The last important thing that you also have to remember after applying paint to your aluminum rims is to always rinse them and wipe them clean water after driving under salt road conditions. Thanks and keep browsing

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