|Painting Wheels Black
I had kind of a vehicular car care melt down last winter. I
got so swamped wtih things that I didn't take the time to wash my wheels
for over a month. On a 20th AE GTI with stock brake pads, that is the kiss
of death. The OEM Pagid pads release a lot of corrosive dust and it pitts
the wheels pretty quickly. I scrubbed and used any manner of stuff to clean
the wheels. They all made the wheels look okay, but never great.
At some point my intent is to get my wheels professionally
powder coated black. I had a free day and a spare $20 in my wallet, so I
decided to do a ghetto paint job myself.
This was an adventure for me. My goal was to do a ghetto paint
job, but make it look good... really good. I figured that if I was meticulous,
methodical and thorough, that I could make the wheels look pretty damn good
and do so for less than $20.
Before diving into the How2 on this, I'd like to say that I
completely failed at this. I'm actually pretty ashamed of how it all turned
out. The wheels are pretty close to perfect. You have to look at them very
closely to see mistakes. The bad part about it is that I went $4 over my
budget... sort of. With luck I'll be able to drop the totaly financial outlay
down to $18 and change. ;)
- Latex Gloves
- Heat Gun (Optional)
- Drop Cloth
- Scotch Brite Pad
- Mineral Spirits
- Microfiber cloth
- 1000 grit sand paper
- Duplicolor Wheel Paint -- 2 cans of color (Black in my case) 1 can clear
- 3m 3-day release masking tape (The blue stuff)
- A freaking buttload of Elbow Grease. ;)
- Jack up the car and remove the wheels.
- Pop off the center caps (3 of mine
liberated themselves last winter so this didn't take much extra time).
The center caps are just plastic, so they pop out by pressing lightly on
back of them.
- Scrub your wheels clean with car wash soap. I also used some Armor All
Wheel Cleaner. I wasn't worried about the paint finish since it was about
to get scuffed and painted.
- Degrease your wheels inside and out. I used Spray Nine Grez Off. It is
a biodegradable degreaser that is freaking amazing. Don't get it on your
paint. It has some pretty interesting stuff in it that will take some serious
waxing to fix. It got all the gunk off the inside of my wheels (which were
already black... even after scrubbing with soap, water and wheel cleaner).
- Bounce the wheels around a little to get the excess water off. I wiped
off the extra water with my microfiber cloth. Trust me, you don't want your
wheels to be wet at all when you start painting them. I left them in the
sun for a while so they heated up a little and dried off a lot.
- Scrub your wheels down with the scotch brite pad. The pad and the wheels
should be dry. You're purposefully scuffing up the surface so it will take
the paint better. It is hard to scotch brite the wheels too much. I scuffed
every surface of the wheels. I suggest you wear latex gloves when doing this.
That much scuffing will definitely take a bit of skin off along with texturing
the wheel surface.
- Wipe down the wheels with a soft cloth (not microfiber... I used a cotton
diaper) with a little mineral spirits on it. This gets rid of any other oils
that might be on the wheels.
- I went over the wheels with a heat gun quickly to make sure there was no
water left on them or where the tire meets the wheel. The valve stem is another
place that it likes to hide. As always, don't go overboard with a heat gun.
You can damage your tires if you do so.
- Mask the tires. Take your time and use the 3M blue masking tape. It took
me almost an hour to mask off the sidewalls of all 4 wheels. You can see
the photos of the wheels above with the masking on.
- Shake the hell out of your paint. They're not kidding when they suggest
that you shake each can for 2 minutes after you start hearing the ball rattle
around. This will make the paint go on smoother. I made sure the cans were
warm too. It was a 70 degree day out, so I left them in the sun to warm up.
- Put your wheels on the drop cloth and start painting. I started with the
insides of the wheel. I did 2 thin coats to get full coverage. I let it dry
about 20 minutes between coats, then about 35 minutes after the last coat.
With the Aristos, I was able to paint a little of the part that shows on
the outside because of the design of the wheel. That made it easier when
I flipped them over. I didn't have to paint down so deep to get good coverage.
- Make sure the back of the wheels is dry to the touch. Flip over your wheels.
- Paint the fronts. Lots of thin coats is much better than a few thick coats.
I did 6 thin coats. I let it dry about 20-30 minutes between coats. If there
were rough spots, I let that dry further, wet sanded the rough spots with
the 1000 grit sand paper, wiped it down with mineral spirits on the diaper,
then went on to the next coat. It took about 2 1/2 cans to do all 4 wheels.
That left the flat black finish that
above. I was ready to wet sand after the color coats, but didn't find that
I needed to.
- I let the wheels dry for almost an hour before I flipped them over again.
- I clear coated the inside of the wheels. I did 2 thin coats of clear on
the inside of all 4 wheels. I let it dry 20 minutes between coats and an
hour after the last coat.
- I flipped the wheels back over, made sure I didn't get any dust on the
front, then clear coated the front. I did 4 thin coats of clear on the front.
I let them dry for 20 minutes between coats and then 2 hours after the last
coat. I was ready to wet
sand after the clear coats, but didn't find that I needed to.
- I removed the masking and then mounted the wheels up.
That's it. It took me ALL day and into the night to do this job. I started
at about 6:30am and finished up at around 9pm. The results are great! If Pep
Boys lets me return the extra can of clear coat, I'll even make it in a little
under budget. ;)
Let me know if you've got questions.
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