How To Cover Tires When Painting Rims?

Are you planning to paint your rims, but don't know how to prevent the paint from getting to your tires? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.

You can cover your tires with a straight metal sheet that you can roll and a plastic sheet that is resistant to paint. Fasten the metal sheet with masking tape so that it will retain its shape throughout the painting process.

We have detailed instructions on how to paint the rims of your car in the succeeding sections. We even have some tips and tricks that you might find useful for your project. Read on!

Diy maintenance at home fixing up an old weathered car tire by spray painting new fresh metallic top paint on the wheel cap while covering the black rubber with plastic to keep it clean and protected. - How To Cover Tires When Painting Rims

How to paint the rims on your car?

Here are the simple-to-follow steps to paint the rims of your car:

Preparing Your Tires To Be Painted

New tire and rim

  1. Remove the tires from your car. This will make it easier for you to paint the rims without having to cover your car.
  2. Place the tires on a flat, even, and stable surface. You don’t need to place all your tires on a flat surface at the same time. You can work on your tires one by one.
  3. Wear protective equipment before proceeding to the next step.
  4. Use a sander to remove old paint from the rim. Use the sander to remove rust and scratches on the surface of the rim. A scaler will make it easier to get to hard-to-reach areas of the rim.
  5. Finish with low grit sandpaper.
  6. Clean the rim thoroughly with a wax and grease remover using a clean cloth. Make sure to remove all dust and any residue from the sanding process.

Covering The Tire

  1. Deflate your tires using a deflating pin. There are tire pressure gauges that have a deflating pin at the back.
  2. Take a flexible metal sheet or rigid cardboard with even edges and roll it into a flat cylindrical shape.
  3. Insert the rim into the cylinder that you made. Adjust the diameter of the cylinder to match the diameter of the rim. Make sure that the rim snugly fits inside the cylinder.
  4. Use masking tape to keep the shape of the cylinder.
  5. Take a thick plastic sheet and spread it over the tire and rim.
  6. Make a cut in the middle of the plastic sheet and carefully spread it on the outer diameter of the cylinder. The plastic will protect the tire from excess paint.
  7. Apply masking tape where the plastic sheet meets the cylinder’s outer diameter. This will prevent any dripping paint from penetrating the plastic barrier where it meets the cylinder.
  8. Fasten the plastic sheet on the outer edge of the tire with some masking tape.
  9. Cover the valve stem with layers of masking tape.

Painting The Rim

  1. Wear protective gear that is appropriate for painting before proceeding.
  2. Spray an even layer of primer on the rim. Let it dry completely before spraying another coat. Spraying two coats of primer are ideal for steel rims. For aluminum rims, use a self-etching primer. Spray three to four coats of self-etching primer on the aluminum rim.
  3. Apply an even coat of your chosen paint. Let it dry completely before applying another coat. Spraying three coats of paint is ideal for steel rims. For aluminum rims, apply four to five coats of latex or acrylic paint. Let your paint cure for 24 hours or more before exposing it to water or any type of harsh weather. A matte or satin finish is ideal for aluminum rims because either can hide wear much better than high gloss paint.
  4. Apply an even layer of clear coat finish on the rim. Apply at least two layers of clear coat finish. Always wait for the first layer to completely dry before applying the next coat.

How many cans of paint does it take to paint rims?

These are the wheel. This is a close-up of the rim after an initial clean and sand and with several coats of primer applied.

You will need an average of two to three cans of paint to paint all five rims. However, if you have larger rims like the ones used for trucks or SUVs, then the number of cans that you need will be more than that.

Can you paint rims with a brush?

Yes, you can paint the rims with a brush. Painting the rims with a brush will create a thick layer of paint that will be more durable than a thin layer of paint from a spray.

Follow the steps above to prepare the rims before painting.

Once you get to the part where you paint the rims, you can use a paintbrush made of natural bristles to paint a thin initial layer. Let the layer dry completely before applying the next coat.

Follow the instructions above on the number of coats that you need to apply to your rims.

Which paints are best for use on rims?

Here are some of the most popular paints that are used for rims.

Plasti Dip Rim Kit

Plasti Dip Rim Kit is a rim paint kit for beginners. The package contains everything a beginner needs to paint their rims. Some kits even include the protective sheets that you need to paint your rims without removing your wheels from the car. It has sheets to cover even the brakes behind the wheels.

The paint is rubber-based. This is ideal for beginners so that they can simply peel off any mistake that they’ve made.

Even though you can peel off Plasti Dip paint, letting it cure sufficiently will allow it to adhere to the rim of your car. Thus, you do not have to worry about the coat of paint on your rims peeling off over time.

Plasti Dip is a durable paint that can withstand extreme conditions. It can safely withstand temperatures between 30 degrees and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The kit below includes a pair of clear coat paint that you can spray over your rims after you complete spraying the color paint.

Another big advantage of Plasti Dip is that you can easily peel off the paint if you want to revert back to the original paint of your rims or if you want to switch to another color.

The Plasti Dip Rim Kit is available on Amazon. Check it out through this link.

VHT Aluminum Wheel Paint

Painting the element body of the car - the aluminum alloy wheel with the help of aerograf in black color by the hand of painter repairman in the industrial professional garage. Auto service industry.

This paint is very high temperature (or VHT) paint specially formulated to revive and protect aluminum and steel rims. It comes in five popular colors that make it easy to match the color of your car.

VHT paint helps protect the rims of your car from rocks, salt, dust, sand, and the sun. This makes it ideal for people who travel a lot. It is tested to withstand up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

VHT also manufactures primers and clear coat paints that you can use with the VHT Aluminum Wheel Paint. They are both sold separately, though. The paints come with clear instructions that will guide you on how to paint your rims if it’s the first time that you’re doing it.

VHT SP181 Aluminum Wheel Paint Can is available on Amazon. Check it out through this link.

Rust-Oleum Automotive High-Performance Wheel Spray Paint

This paint is perfect for older cars that have rims that are plagued by rust.

Rust-Oleum Automotive High-Performance Wheel Spray Paint will prevent rust if applied correctly on your rims. Additionally, it will revive the look of your old rims.

The paint effectively isolates your rim from elements that can cause corrosion.

One of its strong attributes is that it takes only ten minutes for it to be dry to the touch. It is economical too. One can is enough to paint four rims. It is known to work great with steel or aluminum rims.

The only disadvantage is that it is shinier than normal. If you’re looking for a flat or matte paint, then this is not the one for you.

Rust-Oleum metallic black automotive spray paint is available on Amazon. Check it out through this link.

Dupli-Color High-Performance Wheel Paint

Automobile disc restoring. Painter painting light alloy wheel with spray

Dupli-Color is a well-known brand with a long history of making automotive paint.

Dupli-Color High-performance Wheel Paint is made with an acrylic-enamel formula that can effectively restore the color of your rims. It creates a protective layer that keeps your rims safe from chemicals, cleaning solutions, heat, and dust. This layer also prevents the paint from chipping and peeling.

Dupli-Color offers ten different colors that you can match with the color of your car.

Plastikote Steel Wheel Paint

Plastikote Steel Wheel Paint is considered an underrated product by some reviewers.

A coat of Plastikote can effectively cover chips and minor scratches on your rims. Similar to other products on this list, it will also provide a protective layer for your rims against harsh conditions.

It offers four colors, including black and gray. Its colors are neither matte nor too shiny, taking the middle ground when it comes to the glossiness of their paint.

The spray nozzle is great for beginners because it will let out a minimal amount of paint that can easily be controlled by anyone who is painting their rims for the first time. It will not run and make a mess if you don’t move the paint can too much. It only takes ten minutes to become dry to the touch.


There are many ways to cover your tires before you paint your rims. You can follow our method, or you can devise a method of your own that is more convenient for you to use.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might find the articles below equally enjoyable to read:

How To Remove Paint From Plastic Car Parts?

How To Remove Clear Coat Or Paint From Aluminum Wheels?

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