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Customize Your Classic Car - Paint Your Own Rims

Oct 15, 2007
Paint your own Rims? Who would have thought something previously done by professionals could be done in your own home.

While, the concept of painting your own rims has been around a few years now, many questions pop up of how to do it and I thought I would share my own experiences with painting my Integra stock rims. I have read up many examples of how to do this, but my first time trying was this year when I chose to refinish my winter rims. I was quite please with the outcome.

First, what the hell do you need to paint your rims? Paint of course :) This is where Duplicolor comes in with their wheel paint. They offer paint colors to match your style coming in white, gunmetal, classic silver and bronze as well. I chose to do mine in gunmetal leaving my lip the stock polished style look. So here are your options:

So you chose your color, bought your paint and are semi-ready. First, you need to sand down your rims. Why? This gives the surface a rough texture so the paint has something to adhere to. Reference the article to polish your rims on how sanding of the rims works. The only difference with this is how far you want to go. In my case, being winter rims painted I chose not to go through the process of stripping the paint on the rims completely. I simply sanded down the surface with 300 grit sandpaper ensuring to make everything sanded equally. This gives the rough surface required for the paint to adhere, and as long as your rims had no damage it should be good enough.

Your rims are sanded; you have your paint and now are ready. First, make sure you clean all sanding dust off the rims and ensure a totally clean surface so the paint will stick and not flake off after your first drive out with your newly painted rims!!! Here are my rims washed and ready to completely dry before painting:

My rims are masked off with newspaper and masking tape. Of course you want to do this so you don't turn your tires into the color you are painting. I don't want gunmetal painted tires. Also if you look close enough, you will know that the lip has been masked off as well. So I carefully applied the masking tape on the lip to protect it from being painted as well. Also, you know the little thing you pump your air into, mask that off as well unless you want that to have a color change as well :)

The rims are dry, you have masked off what you don't want painted and now you are ready. Put some newspaper on the ground and place the rim on top of the newspaper. You don't want to paint the concrete underneath the rim so keep it clean with the newspaper.

Now apply your first coat of paint. Let the paint dry well and next day admire your handiwork and results.
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