How to paint wheel rims matte black

Looking to paint your wheel rims matte black? Want to maintain your matte rims? Read our guide.

Matte black wheels are becoming increasingly popular, they do have a certain look and if that is yours then indulge yourself. You need to think about it though, not worry about it – they are a good look and a set can really make a difference to a car – but you need to know what to expect with matte black rims to save future issues.

Painting them yourself isn’t expensive or intimidating – what’s the worse that can happen right? It is fairly labor intensive, but you can do it in around a day and completely change the look of your car. You will get the flat black rim to look you are looking for at a surprisingly low cost.

What you will need:

  • Primer – either spray or paint on, but we always recommend spray
  • Metal paint – flat black
  • Sandpaper, 320 and 120 grit
  • Newspaper
  • Masking Tape
  • Protective gear

How to paint the rims

  1. Remove the wheels from the car and get yourself a nice, flat, open space to work in.
  2. Prepare the rims. Sanding with 320 grit sandpaper will remove the existing glossy finish. This makes sure that your newly applied paint can adhere to the rim and doesn’t flake – it gives a surface that the paint can ‘grip’. Finish the sanding with 120 grit to remove any small surface imperfections and then make sure you have removed all the dust by wiping clean – if you wash them to leave them to dry thoroughly before trying to paint, don’t be impatient!
  3. Using masking tape and/or paper make sure you cover all the areas you don’t want to paint. Look in the wider area, no one is going to want a stripe up their garage refrigerator, or kitchen counter – put them onto some newspaper.
  4. Prime. Following the direction paint or spray (spray is easier!) metal primer onto the wheel rims to make a good base for the topcoat. Wait for this to dry thoroughly too.
  5. Now you can apply your matte black paint to the wheel rims. Read the instructions and remember – two or three thin coats give better coverage and finish than one heavy coat. Let it dry between coats.
  6. Final coats of high-quality matte finishing spray or brush on will protect the rims and make sure that the matte effect is maintained. Let it dry between coats, this is repetitive, but the patience needed for the waiting is the most important part for the finish you will achieve.
  7. Leave the new, gorgeously matte black rims to finish drying for at least 48 hours, then you can put them back onto your car.


Sprays are easier, they give a great finish and a more professional look. There are brush-on products available, but if you aren’t experienced and awesome as a painter then leave them to the professionals, or for maybe touch-ups. There is no quicker way to get a ropey finish than to use a big brush and paint onto a car.

Follow the safety instructions on the packaging. Wear the right protective gear, and ventilate the area you are working in.

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