How To Paint Aluminum Wheels [Step By Step Guide With Supply List]

You see your car parked in your garage with rusted, unclean wheels, and the thought of painting your aluminum wheels for a fresher look crosses your mind. Now, you are maybe wondering how to paint your aluminum wheels. We've researched this concern, and here's what we've learned.

This is the guide on how to paint your aluminum wheels:

  1. Prepare the materials
  2. Take off the wheels
  3. Remove the old paint
  4. Sand the surface
  5. Clean the wheel
  6. Tape the rubber tire
  7. Apply primer
  8. Apply paint
  9. Let it cure
  10. Remove the tape
  11. Polish your wheels

Painting your aluminum wheels by yourself is always possible. We will discuss what paint to use for your aluminum wheels, the step-by-step process to paint them, and if it is a must to sand your wheels before painting. 

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. - How To Paint Aluminum Wheels [Step By Step Guide With

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Aluminum Wheels?

spray paint, paint cans and painting tools

All wheels benefit from a smooth finish of spray paint. You can swiftly and efficiently paint extensive areas uniformly and with full coverage.

It usually completes the job considerably more quickly and costs less. Additionally, you can reach places a brush cannot, and the absence of brush traces and bubbles after finishing are all advantages.

Choose a spray designed for use on aluminum. Oil-based spray paint, which is more common, offers a more resilient surface than latex paint. 

If possible, choose matte finish paint because high-gloss paint draws attention to flaws like dents and scratches. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions stated on the spray paint for the recommended number of coats. 

Click here to see this Rust-Oleum matte spray paint on Amazon.

A Guide To Painting Aluminum Wheels

Professional coating of ceramic wheels and rubber, spray gun for painting, car service, shop, washing.

More than nearly any other portion of the car, car wheels take the most abuse from the road. Your aluminum wheels may get scratched up from hitting obstacles. Painting your wheels is the touch you need if you want to revive your car's look.

Here's the process of how to paint your aluminum wheels:

1. Prepare the Materials

You can paint your wheels for a brand-new look using these supplies and tools:

  • Jacks
  • Lug wrench
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Mask
  • Scraper
  • Small brush
  • Power washer
  • Abrasive pad grinder
  • Sandpaper
  • Grease remover
  • Masking tape
  • Rubber mat
  • Spray paint
  • Polisher

2. Take Off Your Wheels

Place the jack under your car's jacking points. There should be two on each side near each corner of the automobile if you are elevating the front or rear end.

Click here to see this Blackhawk jack on Amazon.

You can take out your lug nuts now that the automobile is in the air and securely supported. The simplest way to remove lug nuts is to use a lug wrench. You can easily remove the wheel from the car after removing the lugs.

Click here to see this lug wrench on Amazon.

3. Remove the Old Paint

Put on safety equipment like gloves and goggles before removing the old paint coat. Both chemicals and metal particles in your eye can potentially harm you permanently. Also, wearing a mask will keep you from breathing in all the pollutants in your place.

Click here to see this safety goggles on Amazon.

Older and flaking paint can prevent a layer of new paint from entirely sticking. Use a paint stripper to eliminate it.

Click here to see this Citristrip paint and varnish stripper on Amazon.

Apply it along the surface of your aluminum wheels and leave it for 15 minutes. After waiting, you will notice a buildup of sludge. Make use of a scraper to easily remove the sludge.

Click here to see this scraper on Amazon.

Use a small brush on areas the scraper can no longer reach due to its size. After scraping off the sludge, wash the wheel using a power washer. Make certain that your wheel is completely dry.

Click here to see this Sun Joe power washer on Amazon.

4. Sand the Surface

To sand the wheel's surface, use an abrasive pad grinder.

Click here to see this grinder on Amazon.

You might also use 400-grit sandpaper to sand, including deep inside the spokes.

Click here to see this 400-grit sandpaper on Amazon.

5. Clean the Wheel

To ensure the wheel's surface is residue-free, thoroughly clean it with water. If you cannot reach other parts, use compressed air to clean them.

Click here to see this handheld compressed air duster on Amazon.

Make sure that it is dry afterward. Also, use grease remover for any oil residue that the water cannot do.

Click here to see this Shumanit grease remover on Amazon.

6. Tape the Rubber Tire

To shield the wheel from overspray, tape it off using masking or painter's tape. There shouldn't be any tape covering the wheel area you want to paint. You can save a ton of work later on by preventing the extra paint from getting on the wheel's other surfaces.

Click here to see this masking tape on Amazon.

7. Apply Primer

Directly apply several thin coats of primer on your aluminum wheel. Remember not to use in close-range on wheels. Then, let each coat dry in between.

Also, apply the primer in between every spoke of the wheel. The primer packaging specifies the suggested drying time. 

Click here to see this Rust-Oleum primer spray on Amazon.

8. Apply Paint

Lay a rubber mat to shield the nearby surfaces from paint splatters. The location should be as clear of dust as possible and have adequate ventilation to eliminate foul smells.

Click here to see this rubber mat on Amazon.

Use spray paint designed for wheels and apply it in multiple even coats. To check if you've missed any crucial areas, it's an excellent habit to rotate your wheels a few times. Make careful to paint all of the wheel spokes.

Before applying each coat, let the paint dry for five minutes.

9. Let it Cure

Before polishing or reinstalling your wheels, wait 24 hours to let the paint job cure.

10. Remove the Tape

Gently remove the masking tape on your wheel.

11. Polish Your Wheels

Every last dust particle is visible on it after polishing, and the paint will likely absorb them. Therefore, the surface should be cleaned once again with a cloth before varnishing.

Polishing your wheel is only an option if you want your aluminum wheel to shine and the color will look dull. Apply the polish on a soft foam pad and wipe it along the surface. 

Click here to see this metal polisher on Amazon.

Do You Need To Sand Aluminum Wheels Before Painting?

Master body repair man is working on preparing the surface of the aluminum wheel of the car for subsequent painting in the workshop, cleaning and leveling the disk with the help of abrasive material


Aluminum wheels typically require more upkeep. Your car will be less noticeable and appear dirtier than it is without a good finish. Thus, sanding it will help revive its look.

Sand the aluminum surface of your wheels to improve the adhesion of your paint job. You will remove the majority of debris on your wheels in this stage. Also, you can eliminate any substantial scratches, leaving only a smooth surface on which the paint will adhere.

Do I Need A Primer Before Painting Aluminum?

Any painter's work is incomplete without primer. Applying primer is advisable, especially if your wheels are old. You must apply this preparatory coating to surfaces before any painting activity.

The primer prevents rust by providing the perfect surface for your paint to adhere to. It also enhances the appearance of the following paint coat. 

Long-lasting and better protection are also its benefits.

Does Wheel Spray Paint Last On Aluminum Wheels?

car brake disc treatment with spray, brake cleaner.

Spray paint on aluminum wheels has superior coverage, and the areas of the wheels that are more challenging to paint will get coverage. It is the best option for wheels because it makes them look fantastic and raises the worth of your vehicle.

Spray paint will still look fantastic on your wheels even after using your car for two years.

In Closing

Taking care of your wheels is one step to having a good-looking car. Don't forget to follow safety precautions before starting work because it will shield you from hazardous ingredients.

We have stated above the step-by-step process on how to paint your aluminum wheels and also the supply list. We hope you gathered all the information and that it helped you to paint your aluminum wheels quickly and easily. Before you leave, care to check out these other exciting posts of ours about wheels:

How To Remove Clear Coat Or Paint From Aluminum Wheels

Front Wheels Pointing In Different Directions – What To Do?

Steering Wheels Shake At High Speed – What Could Be Wrong?

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