Repainting Aluminum Wheels in 10 Steps
With the lapse of time your aluminum wheels might look dingy and need repainting badly. A new set of wheels can be very expensive. But you can do powder coating yourself and achieve a professional-looking, long-lasting finish.
There are some things you will need while repainting aluminum wheels:
- Towel, cloths or rags
- Car wash soap and water
- Paint remover
- Sand paper (200 grit or finer)
- Mineral spirits
- Wire and stiff bristled brushes
- Clear coat paint
- Automotive primer
- Powder paint
- Plastic sheet
- Spray gun
- High-temperature masking tape
- Rubber gloves
- Dust mask
- Remove the tires from your wheels.
- To remove the dirt and road grime, wash the wheels with car wash soap and water. Scrub them with a stiff bristled brush, then let them dry completely.
- Strip old paint with the help of a paint thinner, paint remover or turpentine (do one wheel at a time). Apply it with a cloth and remain the liquid there for about 15 minutes. Use a wire brush, and then an emery cloth to remove the paint. Rinse the wheel with water, reapply the paint remover and scrub again. Wash it with soap and water and wipe with mineral spirits. Allow to dry. Prepare the wheel for primer by sanding it with a fine-grit sand paper. Use rubber gloves, dust mask and goggles while cleaning and painting your wheels.
- Cover any areas that you don’t want to paint with a good high-temperature masking tape.
- Place plastic sheet or newspaper on the floor under the wheel.
- Apply three even coats of primer. Before spraying a new coat allow each previous coat to dry. Primer is used to cover small imperfections. Before beginning the color coating wait 24 hours for the primer to dry properly.
- Begin painting the wheel. To mix the paint thoroughly, shake the can for several minutes. Spray three or four coats of paint. Each previous coat should be dry when applying a new one. Be sure to buy paint that is specially created and safe for aluminum. Choose powder paint, since it won’t run and a thicker layer can be applied, unlike liquid paint. To get accustomed to a spray gun, use some small piece of metal for practice. After you have the wheel painted, inspect it for any imperfections. If you find any, wet sand them lightly using fine sand paper and wipe away sanding residue. Additional thin coat of paint should be applied and let dry fully.
- Apply 2 to 3 thin layers of clear lacquer paint over the color-coated layers. Each coat should be applied after a 20-minute wait (approximately). This clear coating protects the paint against scratching and chipping and also keeps it shiny. All the layers of paint will cure in 3 hours, but 3-4 days are needed to get really hard.
- Remove masking tape. If there is any paint residue carefully scrape it away with razor blade or remove it with acetone.
- Repeat all the steps for the other 3 wheels.
Now your wheels look like new!