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A nice set of rims can really bring a car’s whole look together — even if they’re starting to get a little rough around the edges. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a replacement set of rims, you may be able to give your rims a new lease on life by powder coating. How can you powder coat your rims to make them look new?
First, what is powder coating?
To powder coat something, you first must clean it to remove surface contaminants. Then, the surface gets coated with a fine powder made of powdered paints and resins that, once cured at high heat, creates a uniform coat that protects the material underneath.
Powder coating can be used to protect everything from appliances and farm equipment to outdoor architecture and even car parts. It is currently one of the most popular finishing techniques on the market today. As a bonus, it’s something that requires very little training to master, and you can do it at home with the proper equipment.
Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to follow to powder coat your rims at home.
Step 1 — Cleaning
Rims get dirty — it’s a fact of life. If you try to powder coat dirty rims, the coat won’t stick, no matter how much you spray on it. Start by power washing your wheels to clean away any surface grime. Go over the rims with a piece of fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots.
The most important step of the cleaning process is sandblasting — you may need to take your rims to a special facility for this. Not only does this give the powder coat an even surface to cling to, but it can also help you clean away any paint or other materials you might have missed during your cleaning.
Some experts also recommend pre-baking — exposing your rims to high temperatures before you coat them to burn away any baked-on grime.
Step 2 — Powder Coat
The next step is to spray your newly cleaned and sandblasted rims with the powder coat material. You will probably need a special spray gun for this — invest in one if you’re going to be powder coating a lot, or otherwise see if you can rent or borrow one. If you’ve got a setup for painting cars, you’ve got the perfect place to powder coat your rims.
Most powder coat material needs an electric charge to stick properly to the metal before curing. Make sure you ground your rim to the powder coating gun to create that charge that you need to make the powder really stick.
Spray the powder coat on as evenly as possible, making sure you get all the nooks and crannies. Whether you put coating on the inner part of the rim where your tire rests is up to you — not everyone does because it can be a waste of material.
Step 3 — Cure
The final step in powder coating your rims is to cure the coat. This stage will require a large oven — some auto body shops may have one you can pay them to let you use. Your sprayed rims will need to be baked at temperatures higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the coat to cure. The exact temperature and baking time will depend on the brand of powder you use.
Once the wheels are cured, you can reassemble them, put your tires back on and balance them. Congratulations, you’ve powder coated your rims and given them a new lease on life!