Wheel Restoration DIY Project
In this guide, we will show you how to make any old wheels look like new. Painting the rims with the right paint is one way to restore allow wheels, aluminum, and even hub cups. The first step is to clean your wheels but that's not enough. You will need to remove rim scratches using 200, 300, 400 sandpaper. Lastly, you will paint the car wheels and apply clear. Make sure to use paint that is designed specifically for rims for long-lasting results and best look.
If you are looking for OEM factory look use three Silver Wheel Paint. If you want to change the look of your car, go with Black Wheel Spray Paint or the Graphite Wheel Paint is another option. If you plan on removing the paint in the future, your best choice would be to use Plasti Dip Rim paint.
Before you begin
- Only spray paint your wheels when the temperature is between 55 and 90 degrees F.
- Shake the can for at least three minutes before you spray the wheels.
- Hold can at least 10 inches away from the wheel when spraying.
- If bare metal is exposed apply primer first.
- Always wait at least 15 minutes between coats. Apply all coats within one hour.
- The wheel can be handled in 30 minutes but it may take a day for the paint to cure.
- Gloss or Matte Clear Coat Spray is recommended for extra protection.
As you can see from the pictures our wheels had severe scratches, curb rashes, and even discoloration. The process is easy but does require patience and can take a few hours. All the hard works will be worth when you are done and make your car wheels look new again.
- Park your car on a level surface and set the parking brakes. Loosen the lug nuts before you jack up the car.
- Jack up the car. Place jack stands to support the car. Remove the first wheel from the car. Repeat procedure for other wheels, or work with one rim at a time.
- Clean your wheels. Prepare your wheels by removing any previous paint, rust, grease or dirt.Wash the wheel with warm water and wheel cleaner. Make sure to clean the back of the rim as well. You need to make sure there is no grease or dirt anywhere on the wheel. Power wash the wheel if a pressure washer is available.
- Repair any deep scratches.For large scratches or dent can be repaired with ATG rim repair filler. If there are any cracks, bends or missing chunks from the wheel have a tire repair shop professionally repair the wheel.
- Sand the rim surface. If your wheels are already painted, remove the paint from the wheel.
Sand the wheels with 200 grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections and curb rashes. Next, sand down with 400 and 600 grit sandpaper. Proper sanding is important otherwise imperfections will show even when you paint the wheel. The wheel surface should look and feel smooth.
- Clean wheel surface.A critical step that is often skipped is to clean the wheel surface with mineral spirit / white spirit or solvent. During this process, you will be removing dirt and oil residue reaming on the wheel metal. For best results, it is critical to get the wheel as clean as possible before painting it.
- Mask the tire if the tire is still mounted on the wheel.For best results, you may want to remove the tire from the rim or carefully mask the sidewall of the tire.
- Spray a light coat of primer on the wheel, if a primer is being used. Some wheel sprays will have primer missed with the paint in which case this step may not be necessary.Read all the directions and follow the instructions printed on the spray can you are using.
- Spray a thin coat of wheel spray and allow it to dry for at least 20 minutes.Spray a second coat of paint and wait another 15 minutes. Spray a final coat of paint and allow it to dry for at least an hour before installing it back on the car.
- Spray a couple of layer of clear coat for extra protection.A glossy clear coat will make your wheels look more like the OEM wheels. While mate will look less glossy but will add the protection necessary to make the paint last.