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Painting rims: tips and instructions

Anyone who has treated their car to fancy new aluminum wheels knows that rims can change the look of the entire car. But what if they are no longer beautiful? A new sentence goes heavily into the money. Another option is to paint the rims and give them a fresh shine. Those who expect a flawless result are best looking for the way to the painter with their rims. The professional has the equipment and dust-free rooms to achieve optimal results. On the other hand, the cost is between 75 and 150 euros per rim - not counting the subsequent assembly and balancing of the tires. It is much cheaper to paint the rims yourself - as long as you can live with small color differences. The cost of the equipment is between 50 and 100 euros. The instructions are here:

Explained step by step: painting the rims

Damage to the rim that goes deeper than two millimeters may not be repaired by a specialist.

If you want to paint your aluminum or steel rims yourself, you should have two things above all: a few hours and patience. Refurbishing the rims is not quite as time-consuming as painting body parts, but here, too, several cleaning, grinding and painting processes are necessary. The most important thing to begin with is thorough cleaning: the rim must be clean, free of grease and dust before it can be painted. Wheel cleaners, which effectively dissolve brake dust, are particularly suitable for coarse soiling. Important: also clean the inside of the rim. Cleaning clay can be used for stubborn dirt. In the case of steel rims, make sure that all rust is removed beforehand. If you want to make painting easier, you can remove the tire from the rim. Otherwise it can also be carefully masked or covered (e.g. with cards that are clamped between the rim and the tire). Everything that is not to be painted is masked off. Also the inside of the rim. If you want to avoid frayed edges, tape the edges of the masking tape with insulating tape. Tip: The rim is easily accessible from all sides on a rim tree. The selected paints should be suitable for the material of the rim. For example, there are special primers and colored lacquers for aluminum wheels. In addition: It is essential to pay attention to the right clothing, ideally to wear a protective suit - but above all a respirator!

Equipment:
• Sandpaper in different grain sizes
• Silicone remover
• primer
• Colored rim paint
• Clear varnish

Step 1: Sand off scratches and slight damage with coarse sandpaper (200-240).

Step 2: Wet roughen the entire rim with 400/600 grit sandpaper. Work carefully and sand every spot, otherwise the paint won't hold up properly.

Step 3: Dry the rim and clean it with silicone remover. Then wipe again with a dust cloth.

Step 4: Spray the primer in sweeping, horizontal movements. Meanwhile, walk slowly around the rim so that the primer is applied evenly.

Step 5: Wait for the primer to dry. Then grind the rim wet again, dry and clean (silicone remover, dust cloth).

Step 6: Apply rim paint in the same way as the primer. Start with a thin layer, let it dry briefly, and apply one or two more layers until the color looks even. Warning: less is more, if too much paint is sprayed on, tears can form.

Step 7: When the paint is dry, wipe the rim with a dust cloth and apply the clear coat.

Alternatives to classic painting

Alternatively, the rims can also be foiled. The spray film is suitable for doing it yourself. It is applied in a similar way to the colored lacquer, but has the advantage that it can be easily removed again after a drying time of approx. 48 hours. In recent years, powder coating has established itself as an alternative to wet painting in professional rim repairs. The rims are first freed of old paint residue, dirt and rust. Then they are sandblasted. A special powder coating is sprayed onto the rim for coating. Once the paint has been applied, the rims are placed in an oven at 180-200 degrees. This causes the powder to melt and combine to form a solid layer. This method has the advantage that the paint is more scratch-resistant than a "normal" paint job. On the other hand, it harbors the risk of slight unevenness on the surface (so-called orange peel). The costs for this are similar to those of a classic painting by professionals.

Painting of chrome rims

The crux of the matter with chrome rims: These are aluminum rims that are only coated with a layer of chrome - that is, chrome-plated. If the rims are scratched, the appearance cannot be restored with a few grinding and polishing processes. There are special chrome paints that are supposed to look very similar to real chrome plating, but they are usually not particularly durable. In addition, chrome rims should only be painted by a professional, if at all. In order to roughen the particularly smooth chrome layer, the use of acid may be necessary, and a specialist should do this. And whether the result can be seen afterwards is also open. The rims, on the other hand, look like new when they are chrome-plated from scratch. This so-called electroplating, with which the best result is achieved, is, however, quite expensive: As a rule, you have to reckon with at least 300 euros per rim. An SLC coating (SLC = surface like chrome) is cheaper. It works in a similar way to powder coating. The prices vary a lot, but they are usually between 150 and 250 euros per rim. However, you have to accept that the gloss after an SLC coating is not as strong as after a real chrome plating. The third alternative is high-gloss compression. The rims are shaken together with grinding tools in a machine for 24 to 48 hours. The grinding tools penetrate small bumps and make the entire surface shine again. The catch: The surface is changed and the rim would have to be approved by a new TÜV certificate.

Tips for painting rims

• If the rim shows deep scratches or damage, there is no avoiding a visit to the professional. The repair of rims is only allowed to certified specialist companies. But here too there are limits. If the damage goes deeper than two millimeters, the rims may no longer be repaired. You would then no longer be approved for traffic.
• Anyone who does not want to do without professional paintwork, but still wants to save, can agree with the company to do the preparatory work themselves (dismantling, sanding off old paintwork). In this way, the price can sometimes even be reduced by half.
Products for painting rims

primer

Rim paint

Clear coat

Spray film

Tire cover

Rim tree

Silicone remover

Anti-dust cloths

Respiratory protection

protective suit

Masking tape

Sandpaper