How to Paint Car Wheels & Mask Tires

Written by jenny carver
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How to Paint Car Wheels & Mask Tires
You can paint your wheels while the tires are still mounted on them, if you prepare properly. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

You can repaint your auto's wheels to make them look new again, to finish them after repairs, or to paint them a new colour. You'll find everything you need at an auto parts store. Since you'd need a professional tire shop to remove your tires from your wheels, it is easier and faster to paint the wheels while the tires are still mounted on them. The tires should be masked with tape to protect them from paint and overspray.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 300-grit sandpaper
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • Water
  • Masking tape
  • Spray paint

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  1. 1

    Sand the surface of the wheels using 300-grit sandpaper. This removes any surface damage like flaking or oxidation. Sand until the surface is dull and smooth. Sand the wheel again using 600-grit sandpaper to remove the scratches from the 300-grit paper. Rinse the wheels off to remove all sanding dust and dirt. Allow them to dry completely.

  2. 2

    Place masking tape around the edges of the rim, just under the lip between the rim and the tire. Once this is placed around the entire rim, add more rows of tape until the entire sidewall of the tire is covered in masking tape. This protects the tire from any paint overspray.

  3. 3

    Hold the can of spray paint 6 to 8 inches from the surface of the wheel. Spray three to four thin coats of paint, waiting five minutes between each coat. Move the can left to right and make smooth, even strokes. Allow four hours for the paint to dry completely.

Tips and warnings

  • Never spray paint inside a closed building without proper ventilation.

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