How to Clear Coat Alloy Wheels

by Jenny Carver
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alloy wheel image by Alexander Kataytsev from

Alloy wheels are a dull gray or silver color. Many vehicles come from the factory with wheels made of alloy because of the low cost and durability of the alloy metal. All alloy wheels are finished with a clear coat of paint for a glossy and protective layer. After a while, the clear coat fades, looks dull and can begin to turn yellow from oxidation. A new clear coat can be applied to the alloy wheels using a few materials and some preparation time.

Step 1

Sand the surface of the alloy wheels with 400-grit sandpaper. Sand every part of the surface that will be clear-coated. Make sure to get into the corners and along the inside edge of each bar on the wheels.

Step 2

Use 800-grit and then 1200-grit sandpaper and water on the wheels. Sand the entire surface of the wheels again, but hold a running water hose over the sandpaper while sanding. This keeps the old clear coat from building up on the fine sandpaper and causing scratches on the wheel. The high grade of sandpaper removes any remaining clear coat and smooths old scratches. Rinse the wheel when finished. Allow it to dry completely or wipe it off with a towel.

Step 3

Wipe the wheels with wax and grease remover and a towel. This removes any remaining grease from fingerprints or wax from old cleaning products than can harm the new paint's finish.

Step 4

Spray three to five coats of clear-coat paint onto the surface of the wheels. Hold the sprayer 6 to 8 inches from the surface and apply light coats so the paint doesn't run. Let the paint dry for three hours before handling the wheels.

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