How to spray alloy wheels

Updated April 17, 2017

Alloy wheels are made of aluminium alloy and are a dull silver or grey colour. Most alloy wheels loose their lustre after a few years of daily driving. They can be painted to make them look better, or in some cases, better than when new. Alloy wheels can be prepared and sprayed with either clear coat or coloured paint. Most auto parts stores carry spray paint that can be applied in a single stage, meaning you only need the paint and no top coat.

Use a red scuff pad to scuff all surface areas of the alloy wheel. Make sure to sand the top surface and on the inside of any bars on the wheel. Be careful of the centre cap, which on most wheels is made of plastic. Remove the centre cap to see what it is made of. If plastic, don't use the scuff pad on it. Just set it to the side.

Place masking tape around the air valve stem, the lugs and along the edge of the wheels to cover the tires. If masking tape isn't used, the paint may seal the valve stem and lugs shut, making it very difficult to remove them in the future.

Spray the alloy wheels with paint or clear coat paint. Hold the can 6 to 8 binches from the wheel's surface. Cover the surface of the wheel with three or four light coats of paint. Let the paint dry for four hours before handing the wheels.

Things You'll Need

  • Red scuff pads
  • Masking tape
  • 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.