• Chrome plating is a hard durable finish that is applied to a lot of automotive parts. Chrome looks great when it's in good shape and with its deep, mirror-like shine it's used to make a vehicle's exterior look more flashy. Yet chrome is not a look favored by everyone, since it can be considered garish and obnoxious looking. The solution is often painting the wheels.

    Is It Possible to Paint Chrome?

    In a word, yes, it is possible to paint chrome. In fact, it's not that difficult to paint a set of chrome wheels in a weekend with a few cans of spray paint and the right approach. Unlike painting bare metal that has not been chromed, there are a couple of steps that need to be taken to prep a chromed surface for painting.

    What You Need

    In order to paint chrome wheels, you will need a few supplies, all of which are available from an auto parts store. To prep the wheels, they should be removed from the vehicle if they are currently on it, so you will need a floor jack to raise it and jack stands to support the vehicle while the wheels are being painted. You will also need 220-grit, 320-grit, 400-grit and 600-grit wet sandpaper, mineral spirits, microfiber towels for cleaning the chrome as well as primer and spray paint. Krylon makes a high-quality spray paint that goes on well and is durable.

    Preparing the Wheels

    Chrome has a very smooth surface that paint does not adhere to well unless it is sanded to give the surface some "tooth" that the paint can adhere to. Sand the chrome with 220-grit sandpaper until the entire surface that you want to paint is flat and dull. Go over any areas that are still shiny. Once you have sanded the wheels, wipe them down with mineral spirits and clean, lint-free microfiber towel. Cleaning them is a key step in the prep work, so wipe them down until they are completely free of oils and residues. If there are any areas that you do not want painted, mask them off with masking tape.

    Painting The Wheels

    Once you have prepped the wheels for painting by sanding, cleaning and then taping them off, it's time to start painting them. Spray a light dusting of primer on them, let the primer dry for a few minutes and then apply a solid coat. Let the primer dry for about ten to 15 minutes and then apply another coat. Apply a total of two to three coats. Let the primer dry for a few hours and then wet sand it with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe the surface of the wheels down with the mineral spirits again. Spray on a light coating of the color of your choice. Let the light coat dry for a few minutes and then apply three to four solid coats, waiting for 30 minutes or so between coats. Wet sand the wheels with 220, 320, 400 and then 600-grit wet sandpaper and lots of water.


    Torque Cars: Wheel Painting

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