Painting or repainting aluminium wheels can be done a couple of ways. You can simply sand and clean the wheels to remove old paint and grime and then use an aerosol spray paint manufactured specifically for metal, such as RustOleuam. This is a quick and cheap method. Or, to achieve a long-lasting, professional looking finish, you can perform powder coating yourself. Once limited to professional metal finishers, there are now home-use products available that when combined with a few household items can provide a durable, attractive powder-coated finish to aluminium or other metal wheels.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Metal hangers and hooks
- Paint remover
- White spirit
- Soap and water
- Cloths or rags
- Emery cloth
- Sand paper
- Wire brush
- Plastic sheet
- High-temperature masking tape
- Oven with rack
- Powder paint
- Spray gun
- Rubber gloves
- Eye protection
- Dust mask
Remove the wheels from your car and the tires from the wheels.
Clean the wheels and strip any old paint. For unpainted wheels, use a rust remover, paint thinner or minerals spirits and emery cloth to wet sand the metal. Apply the liquid liberally to the emery cloth and sand the wheel. Rinse thoroughly with soap and water, then wipe down with a cloth and small amount of white spirit. Allow to dry. For painted wheels, remove paint with a paint remover, paint thinner or turpentine. Apply the liquid with a cloth, soaking the wheel before removing the paint with a wire brush and then emery cloth. Clean with soap and water, wipe down with white spirit and allow to dry. A fine-grit sandpaper can be used after drying to remove any remaining paint and to create a smooth finish.
Create a painting cubicle by using a cardboard box large enough to accommodate your wheels, one at a time. Suspend the box from a cross beam or timber in your garage by inserting a long, metal hook through the top of the box. Insert a longer, sturdy metal rod and hook through the top of the box that extends about a quarter of the distance from the top into the box. This is where you will hang your wheel to paint it. Some kits provide hooks. Place newspaper or plastic on the floor below the box.
Cover any areas of the wheel that you do not want painted with a high-temperature masking tape. Most powder-coating kits provide the tape.
Hook the wheel on the back, with the outside of the wheel facing you.
Fill the cup in the hand sprayer with powder in whatever colour you choose and spray the wheels. Apply an even coat. Unlike liquid paint, powder paint will not run and can be applied with a thicker coat. Practice on a small piece of metal to get accustomed to the spray gun's application idiosyncrasies.
Remove the racks from your oven or toaster oven and preheat the oven to 204 degrees C. You will want to use an oven acquired specifically for the purpose of powder-paint curing, or other industrial applications. Do not use an oven that you also use for cooking food. You can find large toaster ovens at department stores or garage sales. An old kitchen oven can be found at garage sales or even in junk yards.
Place the painted wheel, back side down, on your oven rack and put it into the oven. Check the progress of the curing process every few minutes to note when the powder has turned to a gel-like consistency. It will appear shiny and wet. At this point, set a timer or for 20 minutes. Allow the wheel to cure for 20 minutes before removing. Allow the wheel to cool and your paint job is complete for this wheel. Repeat the process for the other three wheels on your vehicle.
Tips and warnings
- Wear eye protection, a dust mask and gloves when cleaning and painting.
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