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Vintage Auto Parts: Customizing And Painting Your Wheel Rims

Mar 24, 2008
Why scour vintage auto salvage yards for classic car rims with which to enhance your classic motor vehicle. Why not paint your own tire rims? This used to be the guise of only the professionals. Now as an amateur you can accomplish a professionally appearing job.

First things first you will need paint with which to paint your own rims. Duplicator is the first choice. Duplicator will offer you a full range of painting colors to match your style whether it comes in the ranges of classic silver, white or gunmetal.

Choose your color first. Of course you may have already purchased paint. Alternatively you may be lucky enough to find your color factory prepared - in which case the work is done already for you. As well the ever important cost factor may be less.

Many vintage vehicles will empty the pockets of a succession of owners before being completed as a final project. It is often quoted that many vintage vehicles will go through a succession of an average of 3 avid classic auto enthusiasts before completion.

The initial step in the process is to sand down your rims giving the surface a rough texture. This roughing of the metal surface of the tire rims is done in order that the paint has something solid and substantial to adhere and stick to firmly. It's your choice about how much metal you wish to remove and abrade which of course depends on the condition of the rims, in terms of the quality of the original metal, its thickness and depth, and as well of course the current condition and quality of the metal of your auto rims. As a working material you can choose 300 grit sandpaper. Of course it all comes down to personal preference and expertise which in many cases goes back to our very training and mentors in our individual craft. Generally as long as the metal rims have had no major damage along their lifetimes and you sand evenly, the surface should be more than adequate for the paint to adhere to properly.

Now that you have passed the two steps of purchasing your paint product as well as sanding and preparing your rims you are now off to the races - or on the way for preparation for your next classic auto meet. It is most essential that the surfaces are clear of any residual sanding dust. This step is often glossed over. Its good enough is the standard line. Down the road you may find that paint will "flake" off your carefully laid project of wheel customization. Be more than perfectly sure that the surface is totally clean of sanding dust. Clean that wheel one more time just to be sure.

My rims are masked with newspaper and standard auto body shop masking tape. Obviously you do not want to turn your tires into the very colors that you are painting your rims with. You would not want white or classic silver colors sprayed onto your tires. It is the experience of many professional Autobody paint shops that spray from other auto painting jobs can accidentally make its way over amazing distances. In addition ensure that the lip has been masked off well. Carefully apply your masking tape on the "lip" areas to protect this from being painted or overpainted as well. Of course it never hurts to initially pump a little air into the mask to clear out any older residual paint traces as well, from previous jobs.

After the time period spent to ensure that the rims are dry, and of course you have masked off those areas that you do not want overpainted or sprayed you are ready for the major step. Put some newspapers on the ground, pavement or concrete in your shop. Place those rims, one at a time, on top of the newspaper. The newspaper covering will ensure that those surfaces will remain free of markings and paint damage/

You can now apply the first of perhaps several coats of paint. It all depends on your preferred final appearance and levels of quality desired. You can let the paint dry well and apply the next coat of paint as desired.

Watch out for the stares and jealous looks at your next Car Show & Swap Meet
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