How to Color Rims


Coloring the rims on your car is a quick and inexpensive way to add a custom touch of class to your vehicle. With the widespread availability of automotive spray paints at local auto supply stores, the car enthusiast has a wide choice of colors and finishes for a custom rim-painting project. Plan to spend an afternoon prepping and painting your wheels. Only a few basic tools and materials are required.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild soap
  • Bucket
  • Sandpaper (assorted grit)
  • Painter's tape
  • Primer
  • Wheel spray paint
  • Wheel paint
  • Remove the wheels from your car and wash with mild soap and water. All road grime, grease and wax must be removed from the wheels before your proceed.

  • Sand your rims using 320-grit sandpaper. Remove all gloss and shine from the finish. New paint requires a rough surface to bond. Once you've completed a thorough sanding with 320-grit sandpaper, do a finish sanding with 1200-grit to ensure a smooth surface. Surface prep is a time-consuming and tedious process, but it is critical to properly prep the wheel. When finished, wash the wheels again to remove any sanding debris.

  • Use blue painter's tape to mask the tires. Pay careful attention to the edge of the rim where it meets the tire. You can use index cards or thin cardboard as an insert between the wheel rim edge and the tire to help keep paint off the tire.

  • Spray the desired color onto the wheel using several light coats. Use an even, back-and-forth motion. Many wheel paints come in aerosol cans that you can spray directly. Allow the paint to dry before applying additional coats and follow the drying instructions for your brand of paint. Use paint designed specifically for automobile wheels, as this type of paint is designed to resist dirt and chemicals. For a glossy look, spray a clear coat over the paint.

  • Allow the paint to cure for several hours before remounting the wheels to your vehicle.

Tips & Warnings

  • For an extremely durable finish, consider powder coating your wheels. You can do this yourself if you have an electric oven that can hold a wheel, or you can have a professional shop perform the powder coating.
  • Make sure you paint in a well-ventilated area.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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