What kind of paint to use on car rims?

Want to know how to paint your car rims?  What paint to use to paint your car rims?  Read on.

What type of wheel do you have on your vehicle?  The best results when painting at home usually come from working on steel, but if you follow the instructions and buy proper wheel rim paint then this works on chrome and aluminum too.

There are a number of aerosol wheel rim sprays on the market and for a very reasonable cost and time investment you can repaint your wheel rims yourself and really give your vehicle a new lease of life.  Or just make it look a lot better if you are planning on trading up!

You will be amazed once you have repainted your car rims how different your car looks.  Nothing drags a car down more than rusted and old car rims, and with such an easy fix it’s amazing that everyone doesn’t do it.  Tyre rims are easy to paint, you can get that professional finish yourself, and it won’t cost you more than about $30.00 to effect a real transformation. Remember to use safety gear though.  You could get a professional to do it, but we think you can do this one yourself.

What you need:

  • A wire brush/sandpaper
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A spray can of primer
  • A spray can of paint
  • A spray can of clear top-coat if you are going to apply it
  • Index cards or wide tape- or both
  • Soapy water or a degreaser
  • Tire shine gel
  • Safety equipment – read the packaging for recommendations but at a minimum, you are looking at some gloves and goggles. This paint can be nasty.

Remove your wheel from the car so that you can lie it down and work on a flat surface – this also has the added bonus that you aren’t going to put silver stripes on your car paintwork.   Best to work where you are not going to create any issues with overspray.

Using your soapy water or degreaser completely clean the tire and rim.  Then use the wire brush to take off any rust and lose debris and sand down to a good finish – then finish off with some rubbing alcohol.  Apply the tire shine gel precisely around the edge of the rim to protect the tire, you only want the paint to go where you want it to go.

You are going to use the index cards or tape to protect the tire by inserting them between the tire and the wheel, all the way around, like petals on a flower….  That way any overspray will go onto the cards, not on your wheel.

Apply at least one coat of primer – depending on the finish you require you may choose to apply two.  Allow to dry thoroughly between coats, then top-coat.  A final clear coat will protect the paint you have applied and also give you a glossy finish.

The best paint to use to pain wheel rims would be a specially designed wheel paint using an aerosol application.

There are many on the market to suit – you need to consider the following:


  • Silver is the obvious color of choice, but other colors are available – and not just black.  Fancy purple wheel rims?  It’s out there.
  • You can get matt, highly glossy or satin – for something dramatic contrast with the finish on your car paint job.
  • Some paint is only suitable for wheel rims, some will be suitable for hubs or other metal accessories. Work out what you want to paint first before you decide to buy.
  • This is one of those instances where you do tend to get a better finish with a professional brand.
  • Some paint is available as part of a kit to address more than one problem which gives decent savings in money – work out what else you may need to do before going shopping.

 Whilst this isn’t too time-consuming you want to make sure that you allow a good, patient dry between coats.  The drying time will be affected by weather as well as your skill at applying, so make sure that you have enough time not to rush.

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