Instructables
Picture of Paint your rims cheap!
CIMG1471.JPG

In this Instructable I will show you how to give your ride a facelift by painting your rusty or chipping rims.  I've done this on 3 of my cars now and I've learned that it takes a good deal of patience and prep-work.  I was sick of my Subaru looking like a grocery getter, so I picked a nice gloss black to replace the flaking silver.

In this Instructable you will need:
-various grits of sandpaper
-steel wool
-paint thinner
-rags
-painters tape
-newspaper
-Self Etching Primer
-"Stops Rust" paint
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Prep the wheels

Picture of Prep the wheels
CIMG1458.JPG
CIMG1461.JPG
In order to get the paint to stick and be durable, it is imperative that you remove any flaking, rusting, or chipping. To get rid of the bulk of it I used a wire brush attached to a drill. This saved me a lot of time and elbow grease. I know not all of you have this, so a good sanding and a wire brush will do the same, just not as easily. 

Once you're done getting rid of the flakiness you reach for the sandpaper. You should use 150 grit sandpaper to really rough-up the surface. Your goal here should be removing anything shiny or rusty. If you used the drill, make sure you smooth out any deep grooves you cut in it. I didn't do this so well so now I have some nasty cuts in my finished wheel.

After the sandpaper, get out some steel wool. I used the finest stuff, I think it's 0000. But 000 should woork too. Make sure you hit every spot on the rim, getting a nice even dullness.

Finally get rid of all the dust and debris with a rag. Then hit each wheel with a rag of mineral spirits or paint thinner. Again, make sure you get all of the wheel. Wipe it up with clean paper towels and let it dry for 5 minutes.

Now you're ready to tape!
mdsuave1318 days ago

Great write up! Honestly the drying time is all dependent on location, weather, humidity, heat, etc. I would say 24-48 hours is perfect! I plan to paint my 18 year old Jeep Grand Cherokee wheels this spring as i like the look of them, and they are already set up perfectly. Just need to be refinshed and freshed up with a good gunmetal color finish. Thank you for this, my main concern was whether i had to take off the tires to do this.

missxkuru2 months ago
Hello- thank you for posting this; I have found it very helpful. But, my car is fairly new and so my wheels are not rusty. I was wondering if all the sanding, steel wooling, and wire brushing is still necessary when I don't have any rust or imperfections on my wheel surface, or if it is necessary for the paint to properly adhere (regardless of the condition of the wheels). Thank you!!
DIY Dave3 years ago
Looks great! I'm planning to run to autozone tomorrow and grab some wheel paint. What kind of paint did you use? Also, is it necessary to use primer before painting?
willdeh2 (author)  DIY Dave3 years ago
I used Rustoleum brand paint. Not specifically for wheels, but for metal. It's good quality paint with a lot of different colors. I've read online that you can find good wheel paint at all sorts of auto parts stores. And as far as the primer, I believe it is worth it. It costs around 4 dollars and from what I've read online it seems like the smartest way to go.
Thanks
zazenergy4 years ago
They look awesome! Great job, thanks for sharing.