How to Repair the Clear Coat on an Aluminum Wheelby Jenny Carver
Aluminum wheels are coated with a layer of clear coat paint for protection and added shine. Aluminum is a soft metal that is more dull than most other types, so clear coat on aluminum wheels can eventually become dull or develop a yellow film that can make the wheels look old or dirty. The clear coat can be repaired in just a few hours to get your wheels looking nice and bright again.
Sand the wheels with 600-grit sandpaper. Sand lightly using an X pattern, moving the paper in one direction and then across that going the other direction, so you don't sand groves into the wheels. Keep the sandpaper wet while sanding so the dust doesn't build up and scratch the aluminum wheels. Rinse the wheels after sanding to clean them. Allow them to air dry completley.
Wipe the wheels with wax and grease remover and a microfiber towel. This removes all remaining grease and wax particles left by your fingerprints or old wheel cleaner. Both of those things can prevent the new clear coat paint from adhering to the wheel. Place masking tape over the air valve stem so it doesn't get paint in it. Cover the tires with masking tape.
Spray 3 to 4 thin coats of clear coat paint onto the wheel. Hold the can 6- to 8-inches from the surface and use light, even strokes. Work side-to-side rather than up and down. Keep the coats thin so the paint doesn't run. Wait 10 minutes between each coat and then one day before handling the wheels.
- These steps can be done with the wheels on or off of the vehicle.
Things You'll Need
- 600-grit sandpaper
- Wax and grease remover
- Microfiber towel
- Masking tape
- Clear coat spray paint
Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including lovetoknow.com, autotropolis.com, "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.