How To Paint Your Car Wheels Like A Pro?

As soon as our cars start to look weary and old, we wish to get a new, shiny model. This is not only expensive but almost absolutely unnecessary as well. You can use a number of simple hacks to transform your worn-out looking car into a shiny, new-looking vehicle.

The best thing to start with for giving your car a makeover is the tires and give it some TLC. However, in the case of old, used cars, cleaning the wheels only will not make the cut. Most cars can be benefited by some fresh paint on its hubs to add in a punch of design to it.

Do not get put off by the fact that it is a DIY task, as it is something that can be done by pretty much most of us easily and is not even expensive, which is the best part.

Step 1: Prepping The Supplies

Here is what you need to do to paint your car’s wheels, along with a step-wise guide for the same.

You need:

  • Bucket
  • Degreaser
  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Sponge & Cloths
  • Various Grits Of Sandpaper
  • Steel Wool
  • Masking Tape
  • Newspaper
  • Large Plastic Sheet
  • Car Wheel Paint Primer
  • Car Wheel Paint
  • Paint Sealer
  • Protective Clothing (Gloves, Overalls, Glasses & Respirator Mask)

Now the first question to ask is are you confident enough with mechanics? If yes, then you can go on with the first task i.e. removing the wheels on your own. If not, get some help from a professional. The next question is how confident are you with spray paint? Again, if you are not confident enough with it grab some help from a buddy who does.

Step 2: Removing the Wheels

This is the first task you will be done before painting the car wheels. You may get tempted to paint them while they are still on the vehicle but to get a professional like paint job a flat surface is needed to properly move them.

To remove the wheels, you may need some extra tools which aren’t mentioned in the above list. These are:

  • Jack lift
  • Lug Wrench
  • Jack Stand
  • Tyre Tool

At this point, you need to choose whether each wheel shall be tackled individually by taking them off one at a time for the paint job, or if you will be removing all four at once and work on them together.

It is completely up to you, but it is still preferred to remove all the wheels together and work on them. However, in such a case, you will be needing four jacks to suspend the car evenly.

How to Remove Car Wheels

While you have the car wheels on the ground, you may need to loosen the lug nuts present at the hub’s center. They shouldn’t be removed at this staged, loosening them should be enough so a lug wrench is required to twist and loosen them.

As the next step, jack up your car for which the first question is that do you know your car good enough? You must be aware of the best jack points on your car as each vehicle is different, so go over the manual once. The importance of this step can not be stressed upon enough, as you must take the point in your car frame that won’t cause any damage yet take up the pressure as well.

Once these points are figured, you should jack the car up a few inches. Before you start, ensure that the vehicle is at a flat surface and there is space to work after the job is completed as well. Never do the blunder of jacking up your car at a wonky surface. Simply pump the jack and raise the vehicle on it, then use the lug wrench to remove the lug nuts fully and place them at a safe place. Remove the car wheel carefully, pulling out the wheel gently in your direction. Repeat the same for all sides.

Step 3: Clean Up

Once all four wheels have been removed and laid down on a large plastic sheet, you are good to go. Next up is wheel painting which is one of the most important things, but the weirdest part is that it doesn’t involve paint at all.

Just like any other paint job, preparation is the key. The most important part of this is getting the wheels squeaky clean; ain’t no one got time to cut corners here. Just think about how dirty the hubs can get daily, all the grime piled up must be cleaned entirely before any paint touches them.

Here is what you should do for it. Use a mixture of mild soap and warm water to gently clean any dirt and debris using a soft sponge. Make sure you do not skip any cleaning here as the tire will need a nice scrub on all sides.

Once the wheel is cleaned and rinsed, applying the degreaser is the next step. You may assume it isn’t needed at this stage, but trust us, it is the best you can get to remove any dirt and brake dust build-up. Repeat the same on both sides and let it dry fully.

Step 4: Time to Prep

At this stage, you should have a set of four clean wheels as the real work is yet to begin. Use wire wool so that any rust or old paint is removed. Once finished, wipe the wheels using a dry cloth and use a 1000 grit sandpaper then to sand the surface, creating tiny abrasions that are invisible but will help with the adherence of the paint. Now rinse the wheel once again and let it dry before you use any mineral spirits to remove the leftover residues from the wheel. Let it dry again.

Step 5: Mask Off

You might have observed that the paint method we are prescribing doesn’t involve any tire removal from the wheel. The reason for this is that removing the hub from the tire is a job greater than we think it is and needs special tools as well. If a professional is working on your wheels, it is great to remove the hubs as the painting process becomes much easier, but when doing it on your own, this method is the best to follow.

Use masking tape generously to apply it to the surface next to where you wish to paint. Ensure that you are covering the actual tire as well, for which masking tape, newspaper, or plastic can be used. Once done with masking, only the actual car hub should be visible. After this, you are all set to prime.

Step 6: Prime and Go!

Now your wheels are all cleaned, sanded, and wiped. The next step is putting on protective clothing that includes a respirator and clear glasses as well so you do not take in any toxic fumes. Apply the special wheel paint primer now, which is the main job of the substance to help the paint stay evenly on the wheel and prevent rusting as well. Usually, around three coats of primer are needed, which must be allowed to dry each time. Every wheel paint primer is different and so it is important to read individual instructions for them on their package, to check the application advice.

Once the primer has dried and you have checked the wheels for any streaks or marks, it is all good to be painted now. According to the paint spray you choose, application methods differ slightly. Car wheel paint should be applied on the wheels just like the primer, i.e. in several coats.

The best method of applying spray paint on wheels is applying even, light coats each time. Do not concentrate on a single area, instead move evenly across the whole wheel and hold the spray at an appropriate distance from the surface. If the spray is kept too close, an uneven sludgy texture would be created which may runoff. Light, even application will give better results always.

Some car wheel paints also need a sealant after drying, so check if your paint needs it as you will have to apply it the same way primer was applied and spray it in slow, even layers. Let the wheels dry out for at least 24 hours before you remove the masking tape and replace the wheels.

Now stand back and admire how well your hard work paid off!