How to prime alloy wheels

Written by jenny carver
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Priming and painting alloy wheels can save a great deal of money. Alloy wheels are different from steel or aluminium wheels in that the alloy is a softer metal and scratches much easier than the other types of wheels. Painting your wheels is the only way to get a completely new-looking alloy wheel. The most important steps to painting an alloy wheel are those steps leading up to the paint: cleaning, sanding and priming the wheels. Learn how to prime alloy wheels and get them looking like new.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Sandpaper
  • Paint thinner
  • 240- and 400-grit sandpaper
  • Water
  • Dish detergent
  • Sponge
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Body filler/spot putty
  • Automotive primer (grey)

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  1. 1

    Wash the entire wheel with dish detergent and a stiff-bristled brush. Allow the wheel to dry thoroughly and then wipe it with paint thinner. This removes the silicone from any tire protectant sprayed on the tire.

  2. 2

    Remove the wheel from the car if possible. Otherwise, cover the car in a car cover, tarp or sheet. Apply masking tape to the tire, as far under the edge of the rim of the wheel as possible.

  3. 3

    Using the 240-grit sandpaper, sand any scratches or rough spots on the wheel. Fill any deep scratches or dents with spot putty. Once the putty dries, go over the entire wheel with the 400-grit sandpaper. Keep the paper wet for the sanding process.

  4. 4

    Allow the wheel to dry, and then wipe it down with the lint-free cloth.

  5. 5

    Spray the primer over any spots that have putty. Now spray the entire wheel with three coats of primer, allowing each coat to dry. The wheel is now ready for paint and a clear coat.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use a mask when sanding or spraying primer or paint.

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