Proper Method for Painting Aluminum Alloy Wheels - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 05-21-2010, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
Short Track Racer
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Urbana, IL
Posts: 179
Proper Method for Painting Aluminum Alloy Wheels

I've got a few questions about painting aluminum alloy wheels. I've done my research, and it seems there is a pretty standard method for painting.

First, you use something like aircraft paint stripper to remove the clearcoat on the wheels. Sometimes this may discolor the wheels, but since I'm painting them anyways and it does a lot of the hard work for me, why not?

After using the stripper, you wash the wheels with water following the directions on the can. Now, you sand and clean the wheels of all grease and particulates using your favorite sanding method and grease cleaner. Does anyone have a good method for cleaning pretty dirty (brake dust, melted on particulates) on wheels? After you are down to pretty much bare metal or a base coat of the original paint, clean, rinse and dry. You now have a decently prepped surface.

Now here is my first question. There are a few different types of primers. First, there is the self-etching primer which is used to inhibit rust on steel wheels. Is it recommended or necessary to use a self-etching primer on aluminum wheels? Other types of primer include filler primer, primer surfacer and primer sealer. Usually I only read about people just using "primer". Would the best method to be use a primer surfacer and then primer sealer? All of these types can be found on the duplicolor webite (

After the primer stage, painting seems simple. Light coats. Make sure you follow the directions on paint setup and timing. Wet sand in between coats for your preferred finish. Then, however many coats of clear make you feel safe, or none if you plan on touching up the paint yourself in the future and prefer a slightly duller look.

Does anyone have any pointers or insight related to this process? I kinda want to put together the definitve place for information on proper painting technique. Thanks for your info.
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