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Fixing Wheel Paint Mistakes

Fixing Wheel Paint Mistakes

I really enjoy painting.  It doesn’t matter if it is a small part, wheels, a whole car or house, painting brings me joy.  There is something very satisfying about restoring or transforming things with a fresh coat of paint or even a new color.  Nothing gives you more bang for the buck than a DIY paint job.

Over the past four years, I’ve shared a number of my painting experiences.  In fact, my articles on wheel painting alone are the most popular. A number of friends and readers appreciate the instructions provided in these articles; however, they remain reluctant to try this on their own.  

Related articlesI’m Done With Black Wheels; Paint Your Own Wheels

What’s The Concern?

Why the reluctance?  The number one reason is the fear of messing up, followed by the lack of equipment or place to do the work.  Small projects like parts and wheels can easily be painted with spray paint found at any hardware store. With more experience, you’ll gravitate to an air compressor and spray gun.    

As far as places to paint small items, a garage or basement (with good ventilation) works great.  When I was single and living in an apartment, I used to spray paint things in my bathtub (makes a great spray booth, especially with the ceiling fan!).  Overspray can usually be cleaned with cleanser and steel wool.  

Mistakes Will Be Made

I have been painting since I was twelve years old.  Once I discovered the wonder of spray paint, I was on the hunt for projects.  Tonka trucks and bikes were my first focus, with wheels and vehicle body parts next.  One of my best friends nicknamed me the “King of Krylon” because of my penchant for painting.

Even after all of these years, I still mess up.  Luckily, those times are fewer than in the past, but it happens.  The difference is that I don’t get defeated by it.  Well, not much.

My errors usually occur because I try to rush the job or think I can bypass the paint manufacturers’ directions.  Each paint is a bit different, so read the paint can!  That will increase your chances for a problem free paint job, but what happens when the paint sags, runs or has a weird texture?  Fix it and move on!

black wheel with repair

Spray Away!

Last summer, I bought a new Camaro. Unfortunately, it came with gloss black wheels, which I despise.  After a Facebook Marketplace wheel purchase and a trade with a friend, I replaced my black wheels with silver ones and ended up with another set of flat black wheels from a similar Camaro.

Related articleCamaro Project 3: Ditching The Black Wheels

I installed the silver wheels and found a medium gray paint for the flat black wheels. My friend’s black wheels had some curb damage, but that didn’t bother me as I was going to change the color anyway.

For the color change, I bought a warm gray urethane paint from TCP Global.  It comes in a gallon can with a separate hardener/activator and is applied with a spray gun.  Last week I mixed up some paint and sprayed the two damaged wheels.  

The first coat looked great, so I excitedly sprayed a second right away. The data sheet for this paint requires you to wait 15-20 minutes between coats.  Guess what?  They were right.  Within a minute of spraying that second coat, paint started to run down the side of several spokes.  Damn.

Fix And Respray

Once the paint runs, sags or develops an unwanted texture, all you can do is wait for it to dry before trying to fix it.  Don’t panic and try to touch it up with a brush or wipe it with a rag.  That will just make it worse.

For the urethane paint I used, it dries to a hard surface overnight. That’s good, as it gave me the time to regroup and plan my attack.  That’s a bit over-dramatic, as the correction is pretty straightforward:

sandpaper used to correct paint runs

wheel ready for paint

final product

Final Thoughts & Questions

After all of these years, I learned that mistakes will happen and to prepare for them.  The secret to a good paint job is good preparation, time and slow application. When I make a paint mistake, it is usually because I tried to get ahead of myself.  Take your time, follow the instructions and you will be fine.  

If you make a mistake, slow down and take the steps to fix it.  Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying…you will miss out on a very rewarding project if you do.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.  You can reach me in any of the following ways:

Email: wct.billtaylor@gmail.com

Instagram:  vehicle.nanny

Facebook:  Vehicle Nanny

Want to learn more about me?  Go to this article:   Who’s Your Nanny?

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