How to Respray Alloy Wheels

Written by paul miceli | 13/05/2017
How to Respray Alloy Wheels
Alloy wheels provide a practical and cosmetic option on many modern vehicles. (Yellow supercar image by Christopher Dodge from

Re-spraying alloy wheels is a simple process that can save large sums of money on expensive replacements. Even the most careful of drivers can accidentally brush against a curb, causing the soft metals used in alloy wheel manufacture to graze or scuff. During the preparation process, abrasions and any small chips caused by flying stones should be filled with polyester stopper, while the rest of the wheel should be rubbed down to create an etched surface that promotes paint adhesion.

Mask out the tire with small pieces of 2-inch masking tape until the perimeter of the alloy wheel is sectioned off. Next, tape strips of masking paper to the 2-inch tape so that it extends beyond the wall of the tire to prevent over-spray. Tuck the loose edges of the masking paper into the inside of the wheel and place each of the alloys onto a flat working surface.

Wash down each of the alloy wheels with degreaser and wipe them clean with a tack cloth to remove excess dust and fibres. Take a can of aerosol primer and apply two to three coats of material, leaving a curing time of five minutes between each one, until the repaired areas are fully covered. Leave to dry thoroughly and rub down the primer lightly with a soft sanding pad.

Wipe down the wheel with the tack cloth again to remove all traces of primer dust. Take a can of aerosol wheel silver and apply one full coat to the outside perimeter of each of the alloys. Next, position the aerosol so that any hard-to-reach areas, such as spokes, are accessible. Apply a full coat to these sections of the wheel before continuing.

Hold the aerosol can at a 45-degree angle to the rest of the wheel and apply a full coat until the entire alloy is covered. Carry out a visual inspection of the wheel to ensure good coverage levels and pay particular attention to the development of runs or sags. If runs are forming, dab off the excess material with the sticky side of a piece of masking tape. Leave the first coat to cure for five minutes.

Add two more coats of aerosol wheel silver, making sure that the perimeter and any hard-to-reach areas are covered first. Over-spray created when the face of the wheels are being painted should easily blend into those areas to leave a blemish-free finish. Leave the wheels to dry for a minimum of two hours before unmasking them and fitting them back to the vehicle.

Things you need

  • 2-inch masking tape
  • Masking paper
  • Degreaser
  • Tack cloth
  • Soft sanding pad
  • Aerosol primer
  • Aerosol wheel silver

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