Can You Spray Paint Rims? (Or Is It a Waste Of Time)

Having painted rims is becoming increasingly popular, especially with younger drivers.

Spray paint can be a quick way to paint something, but it’s not always clear which surfaces you can use it on. 

The last thing you want to do is ruin your entire wheel with a dodgy paint job, so in this guide, we'll help explain whether you can rim and how to go about doing it properly.  

The good news is that peelable spray paint is perfectly usable on wheel steel rims, and it's actually one of the best ways to paint them. It gives even coverage and only takes a few minutes to do it well.

Peelable spray paint uses air pressure to make painting easier. Liquid paint is stored within a metal, airtight canister with a nozzle on the top. 

When you press the nozzle, the pressure will change the paint from liquid to gas so that it comes out as an aerosol. The gas paint will then spray onto a surface, and as it lands, it will turn back into liquid, coating whatever it is you're painting.  

Peelable paint is generally used for DIY projects or quickly painting large areas. It gives a more even coverage than traditional painting techniques and can really help improve the look of old furniture or metal building work. 

However, peelable spray paint relies on the paint sticking onto the surface you're painting, and, unfortunately, it won't adhere to every surface, so you need to be sure it will land before you start.  

However, you need to be aware of which type of wheel rim you have because that can impact how you go about it: 

Can You Spray Paint Rims

Aluminum Rims 

Most spray paint will adhere to aluminum, so it's fine to use on these metal rims. However, we would recommend using a specific aluminum spray paint (like the Rust-Oleum Professional Aluminum Spray) for the best coverage.  

Use a paint thinner as a wheel cleaner to clean off the spray rims. After applying wheel cleaner, wash the own car's wheels again, dry them, and apply to rubbing alcohol, steel wool, paint thinner, or mineral spirits.

Chrome Rims 

Chrome can be a little more complicated, but you can definitely still use spray paint on chrome. Make sure you use a primer and then apply a few light coats or thin coats of acrylic latex spray paint to get the full effect.  

Plastic Rims 

If you’re using plastic car rims black, you might struggle with conventional spray paints.  Standard spray paint won't adhere to the plastic and can result in patches or dripping paint.

To counteract this, you’ll need to get a specialist plastic paint (the Krylon Fusion for Plastic works well) and go over it with a few light coats. 

There is a bit more to think about when spray painting your car rims black, but it will give you better coverage and leave your car a much more striking look. 

Most people choose to paint their car rims black to match the tires, and this works well, but you can also use other colors. We'd recommend going for something dark because it's easier to get a full and even coloring.  

You can peelable spray paint your rims, especially black rims yourself without professional help, but that doesn’t mean you should run straight outside and do it. 

You need to consider what type of peelable paint you need, what prep work is needed to get the best look, and how you can use the paint the black rims without it going everywhere. 

We’ll give you the full breakdown of how to spray paint your rims further on in this article, but make sure you take your car rims black off before you start work, or you could end up with paint evenly all over your vehicle.

How To Spray Paint Your Rims In 7 Easy Steps

Spray painting your car isn't too tricky, but you need to give it some thought and attention. If you don't, you could end up with dodgy-looking spray painted rims black or a damaged car. 

We’ve detailed the steps you should go through below, but before you get started, you’ll need to make sure you have spray paint, paint tape, protective gloves, a mask, and protective eye coverings.  

Remember that the spray painting process can be hazardous. To do it safely, you should always wear an eye cover, a mask, and protective gloves. Also, always paint in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing in the fumes as much as possible.

If you start to feel faint, stop immediately, and consult a medical professional.  

  • 1
    Choose Your Paint   
    This is probably the most important step in the process. You'll need to paint wheels that will adhere to the wheel rim, and this can vary depending on the material you’re using. Well-known brands like Rust-Oleum, Krylon, and Hycote, all offer specialist paint for wheel rims, and it's usually best to choose one of these. If not, you should go for an acrylic spray paint because these give you the most protection from cracking or chipping. 
  • 2
    Remove The Wheels (if possible)  
    Use a jack, lug wrench, and jack stand to remove the wheel from the base from your car before you carry out any paintwork. You'll also need a lug wrench or jack stands under each tire suspension to remove the wheel and lug nuts while you paint, sandpaper to smooth any scratches before you paint, primer to help the paint stick, painter's tape, plastic sheeting, and top light coat. This is a bit complicated, and you’ll need to find something to support your car while the wheels are off. Removing a wheel usually only involves taking out a few bolts, but if you're not sure, you should ask a local mechanic for some help. If you can’t remove the own wheels, you’ll need to find a bin bag or something else to thread behind the rim and cover it so that paint doesn’t go all over it. Remove the car's rims, and clean them thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, stubborn stains or brake dust. You should also use some rags or drop cloth to cover the car chassis so that it doesn’t get painted.  
  • 3
    Wash The Painted rims 
    Use soap and water to clean your paint car rims and remove all the grime. If there's any rust, you'll need a wire brush to file it down and fine grit sandpaper or drop cloth to smooth surface it out. The goal here is to give as flat and smooth surface as possible so that the spray painted rims land evenly. 
  • 4
    Apply Paint Tape  
    Use the painter's tape or masking tape around the edge of the rim and under the lip of the entire wheel. This will stop the paint from going all over the tire and keep it on the rim itself. Make sure this is all stuck down properly before moving on to the next step.  
  • 5
    Use A Primer  
    Primers are used to give you an even surface to apply paint to. Krylon and Rust-Oleum produce special primers for car wheels, and it's worth using one to clear coat the rim. This will help the paint stick, and avoid any patches that could ruin your car's look.  
  • 6
    Hold the paint can about 8-12 inches away from the rim and press the nozzle to release it. Using short bursts, spray an even coverage over the paint car rims. Go over the rim at least twice to make sure you’ve covered it all.  
  • 7
    Reattach The entire wheel
    If you’re happy with your work, then leave it to dry completely. This should only take 30-60 minutes, but every paint is slightly different, so it's worth reading the instructions. Once paint dry completely, remove the painter's tape and reattach the entire wheel to your car.   Once you have applied your spirits to the alloy rims you should cover up your tire walls with some plastic and painter's tape.
paint sprayer

Tips When Spray Painting Rims (+ Safety Measures) 

Spray painting process isn’t inherently dangerous, but here are some tips to make sure you do it safely: 

  • Use Protective Equipment  
    Spraying paint can be irritating to your skin and damage your eyes. You should invest in a pair of thick gloves and some goggles or eye protection so you don't hurt yourself while you're working.  
  • Choose The Right Location 
    You should always paint in a well-ventilated location because breathing in the fumes can harm your health. You should try to spray paint car rims outside rather than in your garage but avoid public places because you don't want to get paint on public property.
  • Don’t Spray Cold 
    Spray paint will land more evenly in hot weather, and if it's too cold, it isn't going to stick. Try to avoid spray painting your rims in cold weather and pick a hot, dry day.  
  • Don’t Drive Straight Away 
    You should avoid driving for 1-2 hours after painting process, or it might end up running or streaking. Wait until it's fully dry before driving to help make the paint last.  
rim tire wheel

Frequently Asked Spray Painting Rim Questions

Does rim spray paint last?

Spray paint sticks to rims much more effectively than other types of paint, and you should expect it to last 3-5 years before it starts to peel or crack.  

How much does spray painting rims cost?

Paying a professional to spray paint your rims will cost about $100 for one wheel, or $300-$400 for all four. If you do the job yourself, you’ll only need to pay for the materials. This typically means it will only cost $40-60 for the paint and primer.   

How long does it take to spray paint rims? 

You can spray painting rims in a few hours, including cleaning and prepping the rims. You will need to leave the paint for about 30 minutes to dry and wait 2-3 hours before driving.  

How long after I spray paint my rims can I drive my car?  

Spray paint will usually dry very quickly and will be dry to the touch in about half an hour. However, we would recommend waiting 2-3 hours before you drive your car just to make sure it’s completely dry.  


Painting your rims is a great way to refresh the look of your vehicle, and spraying paint is one of the best ways to do it. It’s cheap and effective, but make sure you take the time to prep your steel rims so you get an even coat of paint. 

Hopefully, this guide has helped answer your questions, and you now have a better idea of how to spray painting rims properly by following above same procedure.