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How to Paint Chrome Car Trim

by Jenny Carver

Chrome is normally bright silver and very shiny, which makes it stand out as trim on a car. Chrome can also get scratched, become dull or stand out too much for some people. A good solution to these problems is to paint the chrome car trim. Paint chrome using the wrong steps can result in chipping, flaking and cracks in the paint. Using the proper steps for painting chrome car trim can result in a nice, durable finish for car trim pieces.

Plastic Chrome Parts

Remove the part from the car if possible. If not, use masking tape and paper around the part to protect the surrounding surface.

Use the gray scuff pad to scuff the chrome on the entire part. The scuff pad makes the chrome surface dull. Make sure to scuff the entire part until there are no shiny areas at all.

Spray primer on the part using three thin coats. Allow the primer to dry between each coat.

Spray four thin coats of paint on top of the primer and allow each to dry. Apply three or four coats of clear to the dried paint on the part.

Metal Chrome Trim

Remove the trim from the car if possible. Use masking tape and paper around the part to protect the surrounding surface of the car.

Use the 300 grit sand paper to sand the chrome surface of the car part. Sand the part until all of the chrome is completely dull. Once this step is done, sand the part again with 800 grit sand paper. This step removes the small scratches left by the 300 grit paper.

Spray the part with self etching primer. This primer sticks to the chrome and allows the regular primer to stick to the part. Regular primer and paint won't stick to a chrome surface.

Primer the entire surface of the part with two coats of regular automotive primer. Allow each coat to dry completely.

Paint the part with three coats of automotive paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before handling the part or replacing it on the car.


  • Use a face mask when sanding or spraying primer and paint.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including,, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.

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