How to paint stock steel rims

Written by vincent labbate
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How to paint stock steel rims
Gold coloured rim. (sports car rim image by Lario Tus from

Painting stock steel rims is a simple way to change the appearance of the vehicle for cosmetic or functional purposes. It is not difficult to paint the rims; however, it would be best that the rims are off of the tires before the painting can be started. Once the rims are painted, they can be put back onto tires and placed on the vehicle.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Degreaser
  • Rag
  • Wet sander
  • 400 grit sandpaper
  • Automotive soap
  • Sponge
  • Bulldog adhesive
  • Colour spray paint
  • Spray clear coat

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  1. 1

    Clean the wheels using a degreaser and a rag. This will remove any contaminants from the wheel.

  2. 2

    Remove the clear coat from the rims. Use a wet sander with 400 grit sandpaper to grind away the clear coat so that the paint will stick to the rim.

  3. 3

    Wash each rim with automotive soap and a sponge. This will wash away any remaining contaminants stuck to the wheel after the wet sanding. Wipe each rim dry using a rag.

  4. 4

    Apply a light first coating of Bulldog adhesive to each rim. Let the rim dry for fifteen minutes. Apply a heavy second coating of adhesive to each rim and let the rims dry for an hour.

  5. 5

    Spray the colour paint onto each rim evenly. Hold the can about eight inches from the wheel and spray on a light to medium coat. If too much paint is sprayed onto the rim, it will cause the paint to run. Let the first coat dry for thirty minutes. Spray a second coat to each rim and allow the paint to dry for another thirty minutes.

  6. 6

    Apply a clear coat onto each rim. Hold the can eight inches from the rim and spray a thick coating to the rim. Allow the clear coat to dry for an hour. Only one coat is necessary, but two or three coats will further protect the rims from scratches.

Tips and warnings

  • 1. Paint the rims in a garage, where they are not exposed to direct sunlight.
  • 2. Paint the rims during low humidity so that the paint dried more quickly.
  • 1. Always wear protective gear when painting, such as glasses, face masks and gloves.

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