How to Clear Coat Your Polished Wheels

Updated April 17, 2017

Many types of wheels can be polished to a high gloss shine, including chrome, aluminium, billet and alloy. These wheels can be polished, but unless they are also clear coated, the polished finish won't last very long. Adding a clear coat to polished wheels keeps the polished finish clean and protected. Clear coat paint can be added to any polished finish after a few steps of preparation. Most sets of wheels can be prepared and painted with clear coat in under two hours.

Use grey scuff pads to scuff the polished surface of the wheels. Use the pad to sand the surface by holding your hand flat on the pad and evenly sanding the surface of the wheel. Make sure to scuff every crack and edge that will be painted. This step allows the paint to adhere to the wheel's surface, since the new paint won't adhere well to the smooth polished surface. The wheel will look dull after the sanding is complete.

Place masking tape over the air valve stem so that no clear coat paint can reach it. Carefully place tape around each lug so that they aren't sealed shut with the paint. If there is an emblem or sticker in the centre of the wheel, cover it with tape. Place tape along the outer edges of the wheel to cover the tires so they aren't covered in clear paint.

Hold the spray can of clear coat paint six to eight inches away from the surface of the wheel. Spray a total of three or four thin coats of clear coat paint on the surface of the wheel. Let the wheels dry for four hours before handling them.

Things You'll Need

  • Gray scuff pads
  • Masking tape
  • Clear coat spray paint
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About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including,, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.