Introduction: How to Remove the Paint or Clear Coat From Wheels

Video tutorial on how to easily strip the paint or clear coat off a set of wheels. Obviously there are various methods that can be used but not everyone owns or has access to the equipment needed. This is an at home method which can be done in the comforts of your own driveway. If you are refinishing your wheels and they currently have peeling issues in the currently coating or extreme corrosion then is it import to remove the existing coating in order to have a good base to work with and ensure a long life for the new finish. If you are polishing aluminum wheels, this method can also be used as well. These particular wheels I am working with are from a Jeep Wrangler, Canyon style with both a machine aluminum surface with clear coat and paint.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • putty knife or plastic scrapper
  • brass wire brush
  • wheels
  • rubber gloves (used in the video is Permatex Black 5 mil Nitrile Disposable Gloves #08184)
  • paint stripper (used in the video is Permatex Paint Stripper #80577)
  • wheel cleaner
  • brush
  • safety glasses
  • respirator
  • water hose

Step 1: Washing

Picture of Washing

First start by washing the wheels with a wheel based cleaner to remove any brake dust, road debris, etc. Give them a good scrub down using a brush. Allow them to dry as we will be using a paint stripper. If there is any water residue, this will neutralize the paint stripper.

Step 2: Apply Paint Remover

Picture of Apply Paint Remover

Mix the paint stripper accordingly. Work in a well ventilated area, wear rubber gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator. Spray on the paint stripper, apply a thin or thick coat, which ever is needed. It takes about 10 minutes for the paint to peal up, you will notice the coating bubble/lift during this period.

Step 3: Removing Paint or Clear Coat

Picture of Removing Paint or Clear Coat

Once done, you can use a metal putty knife to remove the coating, but I picked up a plastic scraper just to reduce the risk of scratching the aluminum finish. For those harder to reach areas, I also have a brass wire brush which won’t damage the aluminum either. Do not use a metal wire brush as they are coarser and you do have to worry about metal getting impregnated in the aluminum surface which will cause the particles to rust. A second coat may need to be applied if you are working with a stronger paint. Dispose of the old paint properly.

Step 4: Final Wash

Picture of Final Wash

A final wash is needed using water to remove and neutralize the paint striper. Ensure the wheels are well rinsed off.

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