Looking to style your car? Or does your old car need a facelift? Painting the wheels could be that special touch you need. While you can take it to a mechanic shop for this, it is also possible to do it on your own. If you are willing to spend a weekend on it and are excited about the idea of painting, this home project is ideal for you.
Method 1 of 5: Remove the Wheels
Step 1. Loosen the lug nuts with a spanner or impact wrench
It is the surest way to loosen them. While the car is still on the ground, this puts pressure on the wheels. This way they stay in place and you can loosen the lug nuts without turning the wheels.
Step 2. Raise the car
Consult the service manual for the recommended jack attachment points. This will prevent unnecessary damage to the car. Place the jack under these points and lift the car.
Step 3. Stabilize the car with jack stands
While you need a jack to lift your car into the air, it is not safe for the car to rest on a jack. Again, check your service manual for the attachment points and slide the brackets underneath them. Lower the car with the jack and support the vehicle on these supports.
If you lift the front or rear, there should be a bracket on each side of the car. If you lift it all up, there should be two supports on each side, near each corner
Step 4. Remove the lug nuts
Once the car is elevated and well supported, you can remove the lug nuts. They should be loose enough to remove by hand. Otherwise, remove them with a crosshead or impact wrench.
Step 5. Remove the wheel from its base
Once the lug nuts are removed, pull on the car's wheels. Follow this same procedure for each of the four. Take them to an appropriate workspace.
Step 6. Have the tires removed from the wheels
Since it is very difficult to do it safely without specialized equipment, this is best handled by a mechanic shop or vulcanizer.
Although not required, removing the tires decreases the time it takes to cover the metal rim and eliminates the likelihood of overspray. Removing them will also allow you to ensure that you paint all the way to the edge of the hoop without any interference
Step 7. Remove the valve stem
Like tire removal, this step is optional. Removing the valve stem from the rings allows you to paint without the need to cover it. Plus, it eliminates the hassle of trying to paint at different angles to avoid missing parts of the ring that could be blocked by the valve stem. This will allow for a more natural spray motion and achieve a better paint job.
Method 2 of 5: Sand and Clean the Wheels
Step 1. Clean the wheels with soap and water
This first step is necessary to remove as much dirt as possible from the wheels. In this way, you will also identify the marks of dents, bumps or rust on the wheels. You can also sand more easily and efficiently.
Step 2. Clean the wheels with a degreaser and wax remover
Generally, this product is an apolar solvent like mineral spirits (as opposed to water which is a polar solvent). It dissolves substances that water cannot, such as oils. It is a good way to clean what you have not been able to clean with soapy water.
Step 3. Sand the wheels
At the very least, you will need a steel wire brush to completely remove the rust. Ideally, sandblast the wheels to remove rust and old paint or sticking debris. This way you will have the best surface to start painting. Then sand the entire wheel with 300-grit sandpaper and then 500-grit sandpaper. This will remove rough scratches and leave only a smooth surface with very fine scratches that the paint can adhere to and cover.
Once you've finished sanding, you should be able to run your fingers over the wheel and feel a smooth, even surface. There should be no marks or rough spots on the wheel
Step 4. Spray water on the wheels
You should remove any debris left over from sanding. Remove as much dust as possible. This will allow you to get a clean paint job. If you don't have a hose, you can pour water on the wheels with a bucket.
Step 5. Dry the wheels
Use compressed air in hard-to-reach cracks. Make sure to completely remove the water (along with the dust). Remember that the wheels must be completely clean to prime and paint them. You can also dry them with a flannel, but make sure you don't leave any traces of water on the surface.
Method 3 of 5: Cover and Prepare Wheels for Painting
Step 1. Choose a place to paint
The ideal place is one with the least amount of dust possible. You should also consider spraying the floor and walls to decrease the risk of raising dust. Good ventilation is essential, as it helps remove dust and other contaminants, as well as removing excess paint and solvent from the room.
Step 2. Put on protective gear
It is necessary to protect yourself from the toxic substances present in the paint, in addition to protecting the paint job against anything that falls from your body. Covering the head and body helps minimize the risk of lint or hair falling onto the paint surface. For safety, you need at least a mask or respirator.
Paints or paint thinners (also called reducers, thinners, thinners, or thinners) contain volatile organic compounds that are flammable and toxic. They are dangerous to inhale and penetrate the skin and eyes
Step 3. Tape around the perimeter of the surface to be painted
The masking tape should outline the part of the hoop you want to paint without hitting it. The part of the wheel that you are going to paint should not have any tape on it. This process can be time consuming and tedious, depending on the design of the wheel and whether you have removed the tires and valve stem.
Step 4. Cover the entire wheel with plastic wrap or paper
This will be the main protection against overspray. If you prevent excess paint from falling on other surfaces of the wheel, you will save a lot of time in its subsequent cleaning. If you spray unwanted spots, you will need to remove excess paint with a lubricant and a clay bar.
Step 5. Cut the plastic with a utility knife
Cut the center of the plastic to expose the part of the wheel that you want to paint. Tape the outside of the circle you formed (the cut edges of the plastic) to the first layer of tape you have attached. Tape the rest of the plastic edges as well. This will prevent excess paint from coming into contact with the remaining part of the wheel.
Method 4 of 5: Prime and Paint the Wheels
Step 1. Clean the surface to be painted with a degreaser and wax remover
A final cleaning is required to remove excess dirt and dust from the wheels. The degreaser and dewaxer also removes the oils left on your hands or skin while working on the wheels. Dry the surface with a clean paper towel instead of letting the product evaporate.
Step 2. Apply a primer on the wheels
The primer provides an ideal surface for paint adhesion and helps prevent rust. It also provides a uniform color across the surface and gives the paint a smooth appearance throughout the wheel. You should apply 2 or 3 coats of primer. Read the product instructions and wait the recommended time between each coat to avoid smudging.
You will need at least one self-etching primer to prevent rusting of the metal. Depending on the quality of the paint job you want to achieve, there are also primers specially designed for certain types of paint. Check with your auto parts or paint dealer to find out which primer is best for you
Step 3. Check the wheels
When you finish applying the primer, you will be able to notice any imperfections that you have missed during the process. If you notice any, you should sand the primer, correct the blemish, and reapply the primer. This is the last chance to get the wheels perfect before continuing with the paint.
The paint is applied in very thin layers. Although you can ignore some very minor blemishes, paint doesn't hide them well
Step 4. Paint the wheels
As with primer, you should apply the paint in several even coats (usually three). You should let the paint sit for the recommended time before putting on the next coat. Spray back and forth across the surface, at an even rate. Do not get too close to the surface or move very slowly, otherwise the paint will run. If you move too quickly, you won't get good coverage.
Step 5. Apply the clear coat
This is only required if you are using a primer or clear coat. Skip this step if the painting is single stage. You must apply the clear coat in the same way as paint and primer: three homogeneous coats leaving a waiting time between each application. Let the paint sit for 24 hours before buffing or reassembling the wheels.
Keep in mind that clear coat runs easier than base coat or primer
Method 5 of 5: Polish the Wheels
Step 1. Sand the dirty areas
These look like dust in the paint job (and that's what they are). Sand them with a very fine grit sandpaper, for example 2000. To make polishing easier, go over these scratches of sandpaper with an even finer grit: 3000.
Step 2. Buff the scratches
You don't need to use polishing compound on the entire paint job (unless it looks dull). But it does need to be used (which is usually the first step in a multi-step polishing system) on any sanded area. Sand lightly until you can see no sandpaper scratches.
- Be aware that moving the polish too slowly, getting it caught in a corner, or polishing at a very high speed can burn or peel the paint.
- Clean up excess polish with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.
Step 3. Remove any remaining tape, plastic, or paper
Once you've finished painting and polishing, you no longer need to keep your wheels covered. When removing your wheel covers, check to make sure you haven't oversprayed them with paint. If so, remove the excess with a lubricant and a clay bar.
Step 4. Apply polishing wax to the wheels
This is usually the second step in a polishing system. Sometimes there is even a third step to achieve an even higher shine. Apply the polishing wax with a low speed buff and a soft foam pad. Then wipe it off with a clean microfiber cloth.
Do not use silicone or traditional wax on fresh paint. If you seal it, the product will not vent properly and will cause bubbles or cloudiness in the paint job
- You can buy car paint for a spray gun or use it straight from a spray can.
- Don't expect to see your desired color after applying the first coat. You will only see full coverage after the last coat.
- If you want, you can do this job for several days, but it is best to finish it in one day. Environmental conditions on two different days will make the paint look slightly different, even if you use the same paint (even if it's from the same batch or can).
- Do not let children, pets or your friends stay in the painting area with you.
- Volatile organic compounds are very dangerous and should not be inhaled.