How to Paint Whitewall Tires

by Larry Parr
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white wall image by John Sfondilias from

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, whitewall tires, especially wide whitewall tires, can look extremely trendy and classy. They can also be extremely expensive. The good news is, any standard black wall tire can be made to look like a whitewall tire with a bit of effort.

Step 1

Clean your tires well. Hose them off and then use dish soap, water and a rag to thoroughly clean them. Rinse them well with a hose and allow them to dry. Next, spray on an ammonia-based cleaner, wipe and allow to dry.

Step 2

Remove one or more tires and wheels from your vehicle and lay the tire on a flat surface with the outside of the tire (the visible part when the tires is mounted on your vehicle) up.

Step 3

Use inch-wide flexible masking tape (available at most home improvement centers and auto supply stores) to mask off approximately one inch of the tire near the tread edge of the tire. There is a slightly raised line on most tires marking the beginning of the tread, and this line is the one you should follow when masking your tire.

Step 4

Mask off the junction of your tire and your metal rims. Cover the rims, leaving the tires open for painting.

Step 5

Open and stir a can of whitewall tire paint. This is a non-water-based paint that is specially formulated to cover a rubber tire. Use your paint brush to paint the entire surface of the tire between the areas of your masking tape. Try to paint evenly, but do not be surprised if some of the paint soaks into the tire, leaving your with a slightly splotchy-looking paint job. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly, following the instructions on the can of paint.

Step 6

Clean your brush in turpentine while waiting for the paint to dry. Water will not clean whitewall tire paint. Allow your brush to dry.

Step 7

Apply a second coat of whitewall paint once the first coat has dried. Allow the second coat to dry and determine whether you need a third coat or not. Allow the final coat of paint to dry thoroughly before removing all of the masking tape and mounting the tire back on your vehicle.

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