Clean and Paint Wheel




This is an Instructables on how to remove stubborn brake dust from a magnesium or aluminum car wheel. Also on how to paint one.
Here is the list of items needed to get started.
klean-strip ks-3 premium paint stripper
Rustoleum universal all surface paint spray can (I picked flat black)
latex gloves
cheap paint brush
plastic scrubbing pad
outdoor faucets and hose with spray head
masking paper or newspaper
masking tapes
protective eye wear
paper towels
small metal bowl

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Step 1: Step One

First, loosen the nuts just a little to the point where it easy to spin it off. then jack the car up. Make sure it on a jack stand, DO NOT LEAVE IT ON THE JACK! Continue to remove the nuts. It may be difficult to remove the wheel. Take a 3 lbs hand sledge hammer and hit it behind the wheel. It should pop right off. Roll it to a place where there is plenty of ventilation. I did this outside on a sunny day.

Step 2: Step 2

After removing the tire, lay it flat on the ground.
I use Klean-strip ks-3 premium stripper. This is very caustic and corrosive, hence the reason to use protective eye wears and latex gloves.
It will also eat disposable plastic cups so don't use those. Use a small metal bowl.
Apply a good layer of stripper on the wheel. be sure to keep it off the rubber tire.
You can see it working almost instantly. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
spray it off outside with hose.
check for stubborn spots and reapply.
after you done washing it off, use a plastic scrubbing pad and scrub down the wheel for small stubborn spot and to smooth out the surface a little.

Step 3: Step 3

You can use a small polishing wheel that you can buy at home depot for 15 bucks. But Since This used to be a shiny wheel and I didnt want to be wasting my time cleaning it so I decided to paint it.
I use Rustoleum Universal All Surface Paint for this job.
First take a paper towel wet with acetone and lightly clean the surface of the wheel. be sure not to leave behind any lints.
Mask the tire with masking paper or newspaper and use masking tapes. Don't use duct tape. it will leave behind adhesive.
Lightly spray the wheel. wait 5 minutes between coats. This is to avoid runs.
After painting, let it cure overnight before installation or driving the car.

Step 4: Step 4

Put the tire back on the bolt. You can coat the bolt with antiseize at this point. Tighten the bolts and make sure the back of the wheel is flushed with the hub. Lower the car downand torque the bolts to specifications. DO NOT IMPACT GUN IT! It will make removing the nuts next time extremely difficult! (think you gonna have an impact gun with you on the highway when your tire blow out?)

Step 5: Next Project to Come...

This is my messy garage with many incomplete projects. Sometime my ADHD get the best of me. My girlfriend isn't happy with this.

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    12 Discussions


    You might have said this and I missed it but what car do you drive? In the picture it says "Crappy" car. Otherwise great instructable!

    Ps you have some big feet bro


    8 years ago on Step 5

    You should ditch the hood scoop and spoiler ricer. I'm sure your miata's 100 HP doesn't require the extra downforce a spoiler provides lol /joke. Srsly though, nice write up. Do you know if there is a way to paint a lip on a rim metallic? I want to get some Honda HX wheels and do the center spokes black and rim metallic green and I'm not sure how to go about it.


    8 years ago on Step 5

    I'ma take a wild guess and say Miata? Whatever it is, hope it lasts ya, and that all your projects come out as nice as this one!


    Love painting wheels (have yet to actually do it tho.. :P) cheap, fun, and a great way to customize your car.


    Wow I have to say they came out really well!! I have a beetle that has silver rims that I might do this too....Thanks for posting this!!


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    are you frickin kidding me!? no! i didn't know about that! i just saw the universal paint in home depot. home depot don't sell those wheel paint. huh. i thinki might go order it. thanks for bringing this to my attention.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    Not kidding at all! It's a new line of products. Actually if you are near an AutoZone you will find everything there! Let me know if you have any questions!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    yeah, the camera wasn't available at that time but it really isn't that difficult. as for the caliper, it about 14 years old. it bound to get rusted. However I am in the process of derusting it using electrolysis and will be painting it with high temp paint.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I meant the rotor not the caliper, sorry. I painted the front calipers on my car, but they had minimal rust so i just scrubbed it with a wire brush and some petrol to remove any brake dust.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    the rotor a bit rusty because i haven't driven my car for a week and it rained most of the week.