DIY Restore Damaged Rims?
Updated: Oct 5, 2020
You might have wondered to yourself, how difficult would it be for one to restore their own rims, right from the comfort of their own home?
Rims that have been damaged or "curb-rashed" are often an unsightly blemish on the face or edge of the rim that any automobile owner that takes pride in their ride wouldn't be too happy to see. However, all too often we witness motorists driving around the city with this type of damage, usually left unrepaired for one reason or another.
Restoring your rims from home is not as difficult a task as one might think. Below are the items required:
Sandpaper, a sanding sponge, or an orbital sander
Cleaner or degreaser
Clear coat (optional)
Body filler (optional)
Tire remover (optional)
Tack cloth (optional)
Duration: up to 4 hours
Step One: Remove Wheel and Clean
First thing's first — remove the wheel and place it flat on the floor or an elevated surface. Clean the wheel of any dirt or contamination and then mask the wheel if necessary in order to prevent any overspray from getting on the face.
Step Two: Sand Rim
Sand the rim and remove all layers of paint and clear coat until bare metal is reached. A high quality paint stripper can be used in place of elbow grease, such as Jasco Premium Paint and Epoxy Remover. Alternatively, if you have the resources, a blast cabinet would be ideal for this type of removal work. Be sure to clean the rim of all particles and contamination with a cleaner or degreaser.
If there is any curb rash or damage, apply body filler to the gashes and sand down until level 20 minutes after application. You may also use an orbital sander or dremel to level the lip of the rim if there is curb damage preventing the rim from being smooth in those areas. If damage isn't being fixed, simply move on to the next step after sanding or stripping.
If damage is being corrected, the tire should be removed from the rim and damage should be sanded and filled in with a body filler, such as Bondo Metal Reinforced Filler in any applicable areas.
Step Three: Prime Rim
Proper preparation is key to a successful rim paint job. Spray an even coat of primer on the rim, ensuring that all areas in between spokes are being covered. Wait about an hour and sand any areas that may not be level before attempting to spray the rim with a topcoat. A final wipe with a tack cloth can help pick up any lingering contaminants that may potentially compromise your top layer of paint.
Step Four: Spray Rim
Using your preferred paint of choice, spray over the coat of primer and apply a few coats for durability. Apply clear coat after the rims are sprayed if desired. We recommend Rust-Oleum or Duplicolor products for spray can applications.
Step 5: Remove Masking and Mount Wheel
After a few hours and after the paint has dried to the touch, remove any masking from the tire and remount the wheel on the vehicle. Depending on the type of paint, such as enamel, further drying may be necessary in order to ensure that underlying coats are dried entirely.
Spraying your rims can yield some very rewarding results if the process is done correctly. Be patient and you can achieve some very professional results.