How to paint chrome rims

Written by jenny carver
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Chrome rims are bright, shiny and attract a lot of attention. They add flash and style to your vehicle like no other rims can. The downside about chrome rims is that they are hard to maintain once scratched, chipped or when the chrome finish starts to wear off. Have the rims re-chromed with chrome plating, but that is very expensive. To get them looking like a new set of rims, paint chrome rims any colour you want to change their look.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tire iron
  • Jack stands
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • 380-grit sandpaper
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • Masking tape
  • Wax and grease remover
  • Microfiber towel
  • Wheel spray paint

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  1. 1

    Remove the rims from your vehicle. They could be painted while mounted to the car, but the process is much easier when you can easily reach all sides of the wheel evenly. Place them face-up on some cardboard to keep from scratching the back of the rims. The cardboard will catch any overspray.

  2. 2

    Sand the chrome surface with 220-grit sandpaper until all of the chrome is dull. Sand along the rim surfaces, edges and any areas of the rim that you want to paint.

  3. 3

    Sand the entire rim again using 380-grit sandpaper to remove the scratches put in the rim by the 220-grit sandpaper. The rim should look smoother now.

  4. 4

    Go over the rim one last time by using soaking wet 600-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface fully and prepare it for paint. Keep the sandpaper soaking wet to prevent build-up from forming between the paper and the rim. Rinse the rim and let it dry completely.

  5. 5

    Place masking tape around the outside of the rims to cover the tires. Cover the air valve stem and any emblems or areas of the rim that you don't want to paint. Wipe the rims with wax and grease remover and a microfiber towel.

  6. 6

    Spray the rims with wheel paint. Hold the can eight inches from the rim's surface and spray a thin coat of paint. Let the paint dry for twenty minutes before spraying the second coat. Wait another twenty minutes after the second coat before spraying the last coat. Let the rims dry for four to six hours before mounting them on the vehicle.

Tips and warnings

  • Always spray paint in an open, well-ventilated area.
  • Don't paint chrome rims without sanding them first or the paint will flake off in a few days.

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