How to remove paint from aluminum wheels

Written by william zane
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As painted aluminium wheels age, they can start to look dingy and chipped if they are not properly cared for, requiring that they be either repainted or refinished if they are to look their best. Stripping the paint from aluminium wheels is relatively easy, though it does require strong chemicals.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Masking tape
  • Paint stripper
  • Steel wool
  • Wire brushes

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  1. 1

    Remove the wheels from the car if they are still in use.

  2. 2

    Remove the tires. This step is optional, but stripping the paint from the wheels is easier if the tires are off.

  3. 3

    Pressure wash the wheels on the inside and out to remove any dirt and debris.

  4. 4

    Tape off any areas on the wheel that are polished or have a special finish to avoid damage during the stripping process. Paint stripper is very caustic and can cause damage to polished, chromed or machined surfaces. If the tires are still on the wheel, tape these off as well to avoid damaging the rubber.

  5. 5

    Spray on a layer of paint stripper. Let the stripper sit on the paint for 10 to 15 minutes or until the paint starts to bubble.

  6. 6

    Scrape the paint off with a plastic scraper and a wire brush.

  7. 7

    Scrub nooks and crannies with fine steel wool to remove paint that does not come off with the paint stripper.

  8. 8

    Repeat the process of spraying on the paint stripper and then scraping the paint off until the paint is stripped from the wheels.

  9. 9

    Use a power washer to thoroughly rinse the old paint and the stripper from the wheels.

Tips and warnings

  • Paint stripper is very caustic and burns when it comes into contact with skin. Use common sense and wear eye protection, hand protection and a respirator when applying the paint stripper to avoid contact with it.

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