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Paint your car & truck rims for less then $20

Updated on April 28, 2013


Everyone likes to customize their car or truck, right? The most popular part to customize are the wheels. Many people like to buy customize wheels for their vehicles but not everyone can afford it. So I'm going to teach you how to paint your own rims; it's cheap and it's easy! Let's go!

Here are the wheels I will be painting, some stocker's on my Chevy S10 Blazer. The silver was all scratched up and rusty, and I wanted to give my truck a more custom look.

Note: Back when I painted my wheels, I didn't take many pictures of my progress. Because of this, I include some pictures of other wheels that I've painted for my truck since; so if you are confused why I have different pictures of different wheels, you now know why.


Here are some things you'll need.

  1. Primer (spray can, recommended: Rustoleum "stops rust")
  2. Spray Paint (spray can, recommended: Rustoleum "auto paint")
  3. Sandpaper (200grit)
  4. Painters Tape
  5. Newspapers

Step 1, prepare your wheels

You have two options: 1( paint the wheels on your car or 2( remove the wheels from your car.

Obviously, option 1 is more ideal if you use your car as a daily driver. No worries, this is what I did for my first set and it worked out. But it requires more masking then option 2. If you choose step 1, make sure to mask your brakes as best you can!!

First, you want to sand down your wheels using 200 grit sandpaper. If your wheels are extra rusty, try 60-90 grit to get that rust off, then go up to 200 to make it smooth. If your wheels are chrome, you want to sand the chrome down so it looks dull (paint won't stick to chrome).

Once your sanded down, you want to get some 2-3" wide painters tape (easy to remove afterwards). Start by adding one layer of tape on the tire, around the rim. Next, take some old newspaper lay it around the rim, covering the rest of the exposed tire (using masking tape to make sure it's secure). This uses less tape.

Step 2, prime that wheel!

Next step is to lay on several coats of primer. Make sure you get good, anti-rust primer made for metal (Rustoleum makes good stuff) for a longer-lasting paint job. You might need 2-3 cans for all four wheels.

Lay on 3-4 light coats of primer (if your wheel is still on your car, the paint will run if it's to heavy) and wait about 10 minutes in-between (if it's a hot, sunny day. If it's cloudy and cool, wait 15-20 minutes). The primer is the important step, so make sure you don't skip it.

Tip: Hold your can of spray paint about a foot away from your wheel and coat the whole wheel evenly. Think about your hose: you have several settings like "Jet" and "Mist", you want to use a "Mist-like" setting when spray painting.

Step 3, apply the color

Next, you can apply what ever color you want. Same technique as the primer; 3-4 light coats, 10-20 minutes in-between. Make sure you allow the primer to dry an hour before starting the color (or overnight, depending on weather).

And that's a wrap!

After the paint dries, it's up to you to apply a clear coat. I didn't, because I wanted my wheels to have more of a "matte" look (a.k.a flat black) and clear coat made it to glossy.

Remove the masking tape and snap a picture of your new wheels!

If you followed this tutorial, post a picture of the wheels! I'd love to see them.


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    • Craig Snedeker profile image

      Craig Snedeker 2 years ago from New York

      Viktor, Rustoelum is the recommend brand for vehicles. :)

    • profile image

      Viktor 2 years ago

      What kind/brand do I need to paint my rims? My rims aren't chrome and I want them to be black

    • profile image

      Angela 3 years ago

      This sounds pretty easy. Is it really easy or what kind of problems could I expect.

    • profile image

      Sean 3 years ago

      Just you post cards instead of taping off your tire.

    • Craig Snedeker profile image

      Craig Snedeker 4 years ago from New York

      That's odd! I'm not sure what would make it stick

    • profile image

      Jimi 4 years ago

      I Tried Painting My Rims And I Realized Really Quick That Tape Doesn't Stick To My Tire! I'm Guessing It's Because Of All The "Tire Shine" Stuff I Put On Over The Years, I Tried Blue Tape, Aluminum Tape, Duct Tape, Gorilla Tape And No Luck! I Did One Rim And I Stuck The Tape Just Around The Edge Of The Rim And It Look Really Good But You Can Seen Where I Taped It If You Really Look Close. I Can't Take My Tire Off The Rim Because...Well I Just Can't :-) But Anyway, Anyone Have The Same Problem? Any Advice Would Be Greatly Appreciated! Thanks!

    • Craig Snedeker profile image

      Craig Snedeker 5 years ago from New York

      @ripplemaker thank you!

      @CWanamaker I painted mine last summer and it's still looking good! They are in the garage right now, I'll be taking a look at them this spring when I take my winter's off. If you paint them right and apply clear (I did not, FYI) they should last a 1-3 years. :)

    • CWanamaker profile image

      CWanamaker 5 years ago from Arizona

      This looks pretty easy. Any idea on how long the finish lasts? I like the idea of matte black rims. Great Hub.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is a helpful hub for those who love to paint their cars at a cheaper cost. I won't be repainting mine yet as of now. :)

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To read and vote, this way please Enjoy the Hubnuggets!

    • Craig Snedeker profile image

      Craig Snedeker 5 years ago from New York

      No problem! And thank you :)

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on your HubNugget nomination! The transformations look awesome. Thanks for all the step by step photos and directions.

    • Craig Snedeker profile image

      Craig Snedeker 5 years ago from New York

      Thank you!

    • Craig Snedeker profile image

      Craig Snedeker 5 years ago from New York

      Well, it's not as hard as it looks! I've painted... um, about 4 sets of wheels :)

    • mydubaistay profile image

      mydubaistay 5 years ago from Dubai

      You make paining truck rims sound so easy. Nice hub!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Welcome to Hubpages