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Scuffed, scruffy wheel rims are not a good look and can drag your auto down. And unfortunately, no amount of scrubbing and cleaning is going to get them back to looking buff. So, if the wheels on your ride are starting to look on the sad side, then now’s the time to tackle a rim respray – DIY style.
With the right rim spray paint, you can save the time and expense of putting your car through the auto shop by doing it yourself. With a little prep you can soon get your car’s wheels back to black – or whatever color you choose.
We take a look at some of the best spray paint for rims out there so that when it comes down to revamping your wheel rims, you have the right can to hand.
The Best Spray Paint For Rim
Our Best Choice pick is an easy to use matte wheel paint from VHT which gives a great finish, thanks to its EZ Touch conical nozzle. Available in eight wheel-cool colors, this paint is best used with the three-step, prime, paint and finish process to get an awesome and long-lasting result. Follow the instructions and you will be impressed with the fast-drying results you get, which will be dry to handle within one hour.
The VHT Matte Wheel Paint can be used on both standard and custom wheels and is heat resistant up to 250F. We really like its level of durability when it comes to dust, chips and fading plus it also helps to protect your wheel rims from oxidation. The matte color is solid and looks classy, but if you need a little extra gloss, finish the shine with a decent topcoat. A little does go a long way with this quality rim spray paint, which at less than $14 a can is excellent value for money.
Suited to both standard and custom wheels
Easy application with EZ Touch nozzle
Heat resistant to 250F
Chip, dust and chemical resistant
Dry to touch in 30 minutes
- Weight11 ounces
If you like your wheels to draw attention, then thanks to its highly reflective metallic finish, this black wheel paint with an acrylic enamel formula will certainly catch the eye. Suitable for steel, aluminum and even plastic, the Dupli-Color has an even spray and is a good go-to for those DIY wheel and rim freshen ups. As an effective way to restore your wheels, the Dupli-Color rim paint is quick drying, and can be handled in one hour from spraying and is crack, flake and peel-resistant. Its durable finish also resists brake dust and harsh chemicals.
Used as part of the usual three-part rim spraying process, this is a good value bundled product that shines for the right reasons.
Suitable for steel, aluminum and plastic rims
Crack, dust and chemical resistant
Highly reflective metallic finish
Dry to touch in 30 minutes
Bundle pack of six cans
- ModelHWP104-6 PK
- Weight11 ounces
As well as your rims, you can also pay attention to the custom detailing on your wheels with this yellow brake caliper paint from VHT. Specifically designed for brake, drum, caliper and rotor custom detailing, you can complete the refurb job on your auto by sprucing up the original paintwork or adding a color twist of your own. To work at its most effective, use a primer to help the paint adhere to the metal and you will need to follow the instructions to ensure the product cures sufficiently for maximum return. It may all sound a little tricky to do, but it is relatively easy and as a quick-drying product, is worth the effort. A successful application means this caliper paint can withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees, and is impressively chip, peel, fade and rust resistant.
Designed for brake, drum, caliper and rotor detailing
Heat resistant to 900 degrees
Chip, rust, crack and fade resistant
Touch-dry in 30 minutes
Use with primer and topcoat
- Weight11 ounces
If you are concerned about your spraying ability or the standard of the finish, then this rim spray paint kit from Plasti Dip comes complete with a ‘can gun’ to give you better control over the rate of spray. Used after a primer, the paint is a cool matte black that is a rubber-based coating which can work with a range of surfaces and automotive detailing. Then finish the job with the glossifier, sprayed as a topcoat for a lux-look shine. This combination resists moisture, acids and alkalines, protects your rims against abrasions and won’t crack or become brittle even in extremes of weather.
As a hardworking bundle that’s versatile and adds some tough-looking black styling to your rims, we say as one of our best paint for rims, the Plasti Dip is worth a look.
Paint and glossifier rim spray kit
Synthetic rubber-based matte coating
High gloss topcoat
Includes Cangun trigger tool
Abrasion, moisture and crack-resistant
- BrandPlasti Dip
- Weight6.2 pounds
If you like to play it by the book and get an exact rim spray paint match to your auto’s original factory applied coating, then check out this auto spray paint from Dupli-Color.
Created specifically for over 12 different auto brands, including Toyota, Scion, Ford and Volkswagen, Perfect Match quite literally does what it says on the tin! Pick the can and color that works with your auto and you are off the rim spraying starting blocks.
Use the recommended primer and clear topcoat for the best results and this rim paint spray is ideal for larger jobs as it comes in a bundle pack of six cans – or store away for running repairs. Perfect Match is relatively easy to apply and has an adjustable EZ Touch nozzle, although it is a good idea to practice before you start on the real job to get your distance just right. Take your time and this quick-drying wheel paint will give you a pretty fine result.
Formulated to match factory-applied paint
Match to your car – choice of 12 brands
Fast-drying acrylic lacquer
EZ Touch adjustable nozzle
Six can bundle pack
- ModelBTY1618-6 PK
- Weight4.45 pounds
If rust as well as a smart matte finish are your priorities when it comes to revamping your rims, then Rust-Oleum has the wheel paint for the job. The rust, corrosion and weather-resistant formula is tough when it comes to protecting your wheels from external forces but also gives your rims a cool, sleek look. You can use Rust-Oleum Wheel Spray Paint on both metal and plastic and its oil-based formula goes on well, with a nice amount of levelling even if you do over-spray. Touch-dry in just 10 minutes, each 11-ounce can will cover up to 8sq ft. As well as kicking rust to the curb, this black wheel paint is also dent and scratch resistant. You will need to buy separate primers and topcoat to effectively complete the job.
Suitable for metal wheels and plastic hubcaps
Quick-drying oil-based formula
Gives a matte black, non-reflective finish
Dent and scratch resistant
Prevents corrosion and rust
- Weight11 ounces
Forget 50, PlastiKote needs just three shades of gray to make your rims look streetwise and totally awesome! If you want to revamp your existing gray rims or fancy a color shake-up from black or silver but don’t want to fork out on expensive auto work, for less than $15 you can do your own job. In a choice of three shades, PlastiKote gray wheel paint is a super-durable rim paint that is scratch, dent, weather and rust resistant and comes in a choice of matte or semi-gloss. You’ll need to prep and prime thoroughly for the best results, especially if you are going for a rim color change but the paint sprays pretty evenly and levels out well. Relatively quick drying, we say leave it for at least 45 minutes before you can be confident it is touch dry.
Choice of matte or semi-gloss
Tough against scratches and dents
Tarnish, weather and rust resistant
Good value 12-ounce can
Designed for hubs, grilles and trims
- Weight12 ounces
Take your chrome rims over to the dark side with this neat black-out coating kit from Dupli-Color which creates a cool-looking black shadow effect on your wheels. The two-step system consists of a translucent black base coat that casts the shadow effect and a clear topcoat for shine and definition. But this black out wheel paint is not just all about the looks, you also get a tough layer of protection for your rims, including resistance to brake dust, abrasion, chipping and fading. For the best results, make sure you clean and prep your wheels and layer the spray paint thinly to build up your desired look. The Shadow Chrome rim spray paint can also be used on bumpers as well as interior/exterior trims and under the hood components.
Easy to use, two-can system
Create a black tint effect on chrome
Durable high gloss finish
Fade, abrasion, chip and dust. resistant
Use for wheels, trim, and accessories
- Weight1.95 pounds
You can really style up your Plasti Dipped wheel rims with the Chameleon spray that creates a metallic finish while still letting the base color shimmer through.
The spray from this 11-ounce can is easy to handle and just two or three coats is all you need to create the look you want. Formulated to work with Plasti Dip’s specialist rubber coating, the layers will bond for superior adhesion, enhancing the coating’s lifespan. To create the level of finish and shimmer you want, layer up this wheel paint using two to three light coats and leave to thoroughly dry in-between. You can also add a couple of coats of Plasti Dip’s Glossifier to seal your hard work with a lux high shine. The overall finished effect is shimmery and stylish, without being overpowering. A real winner on our best paint for rims top product list.
Formulated to bond with Plasti Dip paint
Creates a shimmering metallic finish
Crack resistant in extreme temperatures
Always use over Plasti Dip products
Seal with Glossifier for a long-lasting finish
- BrandPlasti Dip
- Weight11 ounces
Best Spray Paint for Rims Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying a Spray Paint for Rims
With a range of products available and different finishes to achieve, it is essential you buy the right wheel spray paint for your car’s particular rims. We outline the key things you need to consider before making your final best spray paint for rims choice.
Rim and wheel materials - to match the right spray paint to your rims, you need to know what type of materials are involved. A straight-up spray paint is not ideal for alloy or steel wheels as they are made from lighter metals such as aluminum, nickel and magnesium. Other rims can be made from heavier steel. Once you know what your rims are made of, check to make sure the spray paint is suitable for the metal mix.
Color – there’s a wide array of color options when it comes to rim spray paints, with the most popular being white, black, silver, gold and blue although there are wilder hues out there if unusual floats your boat! However, most drivers prefer a color that’s more mainstream and works with the paintwork and style of their car so when choosing the color of your rim spray paint, be sure it will suit your auto. Also consider the finish, as you have options such as matte, satin, gloss and high gloss; just don’t forget the shinier the finish, the higher the maintenance level.
Ease of use - you want to make a good job of your DIY rim spray painting so go for the can that will give you the easiest application. This means checking the quality of the spray nozzle – always opt for a product that has an EZ touch nozzle if you can as this will keep the paint coming out seamlessly. And the spray mechanism should be slick, and you shouldn’t have to press too hard to get the paint out.
When it comes to finish, you don’t want a wheel spray paint that is too thick as it could clog, it needs to be a medium consistency that’s easier to apply and control.
Durability – spray paint for rims needs to be durable so check the can for whether they are corrosion, weather and rust resistant. Some paints also have oxidization resistance as well as protection against UV. A tough and long-lasting spray paint needs to also cope with the pressures of the road, including flying dirt, gravel and debris.
Heat resistance – this is also essential in the spray paint, especially if you plan to paint the calipers and brake assemblies as well as the rims. If the car rim paint you choose does not have the right heat resistance level, it could blister when the heat is on.
Drying time – how long a rim paint takes to dry is important as paints with faster drying rates are less likely to drip or streak and will mean you have shorter wait times between coats.
Can capacity – each can of rim spray paint will be measured in ounces and so knowing the capacity of a can will help you to work out how much paint you need for the number of rims you intend to spray. You want enough paint to complete the job in one go so either opt for a high capacity product or look for bundle offers which can also save you money as well as repeat visits to the auto shop.
Why You Should Use a Rim Spray Paint
The open road as well as urban driving can take its toll on your car’s wheel rims, with scuffing, discoloration, corrosion and rust just waiting to rear their ugly, wheel-blighting heads. Maintaining your wheel rims will not only keep your car looking fly but also protect against damage. Topping up the paint surface of your wheel rims with a spray paint is a cost-effective way to keep your car wheels in good condition as well as change its styling by a change of color or finish. A well planned and executed DIY spray job will also save you the hassle and expense of taking your car to the repair shop or even buying a new set of wheels.
Different Types of Wheel Paint
There are three main types of wheel spray paint, which can be used on their own or together to complete your particular rim paint job:
Primer – this is basically the undercoat and is sprayed on to the rim metal for better adherence to the wheel paint. Without a primer, you run the risk of cracks or flaking in the rim paint.
Base coat – this is the main – or raw - paint which you spray on after the primer has dried. For the base coat to work, it needs to be used with a binder and will provide the core color for your revamped rims as well as adding protection and shine.
Clear coat – this is the final layer of the rim painting job and has no color. It works as a protective outer layer as well as a final shine enhancer and will also prevent any cracks or blemishes in the base coat. Many clear coats have additional protection against UV and oxidization.
How to Remove Rim Paint
When looking to respray your wheel rims, it is always a good idea to remove the old, chipped or bubbled paint before you repaint to ensure you get the very best finish and improved protection. Stripping off the old rim paint doesn’t need to be complicated although you will need the right chemical products, which you can buy from the auto shop – just ensure you get the right product to deal with your specific rim paint.
Here is a quick, step-by-step guide to removing old rim paint:
- Remove the wheel and if possible, take off the tires to make access to the wheel rims as easy as possible.
- Pressure wash the wheels inside and out to remove surface dirt and debris.
- Tape off any special-finish areas such as chromed or machined areas to protect from the caustic paint stripper.
- Spray on a layer of your paint stripper and leave on as per the product’s instructions or until the paint starts to bubble.
- Using a plastic scraper and a wire brush, scrape of the soft, bubbled paint. Use fine wire wool to then remove any stubborn areas and to get into the smaller spaces. Wipe clean.
- Repeat 4 and 5 until all the paint has been cleanly removed then use a power washer to thoroughly rinse, then leave to dry.
How to Spray Car Rim Paint
Once you have removed the old rim paint and given the wheels a good blasting with a power washer to get them clean, you are ready to get car rim paint spraying!
Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area or work outdoors if possible and try to avoid humid weather. Cover the floor and close wall surfaces if you are going to work indoors. Now, get your various spray cans together and take a little time to read the manufacturers’ instructions so you have the timings and method clear in your head.
Apply a coat of primer – before you start, cover the valve stem with tape to prevent it getting clogged. Now apply two or three layers of primer on to the rims, leaving to dry completely before spraying the next layer.
Apply your base/main paint – Once the primer is totally dry, follow the instructions on the can and steadily apply the recommended number of layers. Don’t get too close to the wheels with the can as you spray, or you could cause the paint to run. Ensure you let each layer before you spray again.
Finish with the topcoat – seal your good work with the final layer of topcoat to protect your paint job and to add a lovely extra gloss to your handy work. Only when the topcoat is totally dry, should you fix them back on your car.
Best Spray Paint for Rims FAQ:
Q: What is the best wheel paint for aluminum rims?
A: A wheel spray paint that works with lighter metals that make up your alloy wheels is ideal for aluminum rims. There are wheel paints made specifically for aluminum or look for an all-round paint that lists aluminum on the can.
Q: How much time will I need to paint car rims?
A: Spraying your wheel rims is at least a three-stage process – prep/clean, prime and paint - and to do it properly it will be time-consuming, as you will also need to allow for sufficient drying between each paint layer. And the time needed will extend if you are doing all four wheels. It would be advisable to put a weekend day aside to paint your car rims, ensuring that you have the time to do a good job and allow a further 24 hours for them to final dry.
Q: How many cans of rim spray paint do I need per wheel?
A: The number of wheel spray paint cans you need will depend on the number of wheels you are spraying and the total surface area of the rims. As a general rule of thumb, a typical 11-ounce can should be enough to cover two rims, but it does also depend on your wheel size.
Q: Can I paint my wheels with the tires on?
A: Always start your rim spray painting by taking all four wheels off your car, unless you want to run the risk of having put your car in for a total body respray! It will near impossible to not get paint on your car if you spray the wheels and rims in-situ and you will also get drips and poor coverage as it will be harder to do a neat job if they are still mounted on your car.
Q: How long does it take rim paint to dry?
A: It is essential that you allow the surface of your wheel rims to dry completely after painting before you put them back on to your car or drive with them. Always read the label on your rim spray paint can, especially if it is a quick-drying variety, but to be safe, wait around 24 hours before putting them back on your car. It is also advisable to wait a couple of days after putting the wheels back on your vehicle before any hard driving.
Our Top Pick
Easy to use and with a hardwearing, cool matte finish, a little goes a long way with our Top Pick – the VHT Matte Wheel Paint. The EZ touch nozzle makes the spray go on like a dream and there’s a good choice of colors for your standard or custom wheels. Quick-drying and chip resistant, the VHT also helps to protect your rims from the ravages of oxidation. All at a great value price which makes the finish even sweeter.