How To Paint Wheels

I bought a 1997 Jeep Cherokee two months ago, and the wheels are literally rusted through – it’s downright dangerous.  So I picked up some wheels off of Craigslist for $75 dollars, and figured I’d jazz them up (since they were in HORRIBLE shape to begin with).  Attempting to paint your cars wheels is down right intimidating, but I’ll lay out a couple steps that you can follow for success.

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How the wheels came from Craigslist

(Editors Note: I’m am by no means ChrisFix, that guys is absolutely amazing.  I must have watched his wheel repair video 20+ times, and I still messed up painting my wheels.  So don’t be hard on yourself the first time out, and BE PATIENT!)

Step 1: Mise En Place

I must have made 3 different runs to the hardware store because I had no idea what I was doing.  I wasted hours by going back and forth to the hardware store because I didn’t have the right tools.  Here are the things that you will need: 80/220/320/400/600/800/1000/2000 grit sandpaper, soap/water mixture in a spray bottle, gloves, primer spray paint, any spray paint color of your choice, clear coat spray paint, painters tape, cardboard box, rubbing alcohol, water, and patience.

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The different types of sandpaper you need
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You’ll need to clean and prep the wheels beforehand (kind of like surgery)

Step 2: Clean Wheels

Spray your wheels with the soap and water mixture (hot water works best), and clean your wheels very throughly.  Clean the front and back, and dry when finished.

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Step 3: Wet Sand Wheels

This was my first time wet sanding anything, but it’s pretty fun.  What you want to do is work your way up through the sand paper going for most coarse (80) to least coarse (2000 grit).  Spray your soap and water mixture on the wheels and start sanding the whole wheel, focus on the areas that are worst first, and you’ll start to feel the surface of the wheel getting smoother.  Rinse the wheels with water, and see if you missed any spots. Once you are satisfied with how the wheels looks and feels move up to the next grade of sand paper and repeat the steps till you’ve gotten to 2000 grit. (Note: if you’re wheels have a clear coat on them make sure to remove that before you sand).

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Step 4: Clean With Rubbing Alcohol

Clean your wheels with rubbing alcohol till the cloth you are using is clean.  This will allow the primer to stick properly to the wheel, and to make sure there isn’t any dirt on your wheel.

Step 5 (optional): Tape Off Your Wheels

Depending on how much time you want to spend, or the look you are going for – you can tape of certain parts of your wheels so they don’t get paint on them.  I taped off the small triangles in my wheels, because I thought it’d give it a super custom look. It’s very tedious, but in the end worth it.

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One wheel that was polished/sanded and taped off, – the other still needs to be cleaned!

Step 6: Paint your wheels

You first want to make sure you’re in a area with no breeze, because you don’t want dust and dirt on your clean wheels!  Next make sure you keep your spray paint in warm water, this will make sure that it sprays evenly and well.  Lay your wheels on a cardboard box.  First spray your primer (follow the directions on the can of primer that you choose). Once that dries spray your wheels with the color spray paint your choose (I used black – again, follow the cans directions). And finally cover your wheels with clear coat (again follow the directions on the can).  Let them dry for 24 hours before you mount your tires. (Note you can do the custom clean again by adding the red paint to the “JEEP” logo on the wheel but do this before the clear coat).

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Ready to be painted
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After the primer paint
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It’s all about the details!
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After the black paint
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The finished product!!!!! Yahooo!

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And that’s it!  Enjoy your new wheels!