Painting Rims: Should You DIY or Hire Professionals?

Did you know that Gen Z spends an average amount of $2,334 on car repairs in a five-year time span? Gen X follows by spending an average of $2,135 while Millenials only spend $1,978 over five years.

It might seem surprising that the most recent generation is spending the most on car care, but it is because other generations have figured out how to reduce repair and maintenance costs.

Not all car repair jobs are necessary, for example, painting rims is a common job vehicle owners opt for. So, is there a way to cut down costs when painting rims? The easiest way is by doing it yourself.

Keep reading to learn more about DIY painted rims vs. professionally painted rims, but if you are working with vinyl projects, you surely need a transfer tape to perfect your craft.

DIY Painted Rims: The Costs

Painting rims yourself is not quite the same as painting a wall in your home. Before you tackle the job, you’ll need a few supplies on hand.

You’ll for sure need a basecoat, primer coat, or clear coat. If these options aren’t available to you, you can also use rhino liner spray or plasti dip.

The cost of rim paint and other DIY supplies vary by type and quality. The price will also depend on how many cans of paint you’ll need. If you can get away with using 5 or 6 cans of spray paint, you can paint rims for a low cost.

A DIY project is cheaper than hiring a professional from a rim paint shop. If you prefer quality over price, hiring experts is going to be the better option.

Unless you are sure you can use spray paint for rims without getting it on the tires, you’ll do just fine on your own. Simply using index cards or cardboard can help you avoid this mistake.

On average, you can expect to pay $100 or less on a DIY rim painting job. The paint job will take up some time to complete, around 3 to 4 hours is most common.

Let’s go over the different paints you can purchase for rims and the average costs of each:

Plasti Dip

You’ll need at least four cans of plasti dip to complete your painting project. Each can of this paint costs a little over $20 to purchase.

When properly cared for, plasti dip can last for at least three years. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully to reap this benefit.

Specialized Spray Paint

There are spray paint options out there specifically designed for wheels. These cans create a highly glossy coat unless you go with a matte option.

Spray paint tends to be less expensive than plasti dip at around $15 a can. You’ll also need at least four cans of this paint to complete the project.

Truck Bed Liner

Truck bed liner can add a stronger and more textured look to your rims. These cans are larger than plasti dip and spray paint cans and only cost around $30 each.

If you are on a tight DIY budget, this might be the best option for you. With one can, you’ll be able to cover 35 square feet.

Powder Coat

The powder coat option will provide you with a higher-quality paintwork look on your wheels. Compared to other methods, using this paint is more complicated but gives the best finish.

Unless you are a pro-DIYer or are willing to do enough research on powder coats, don’t attempt this project on your own.

This paint is applied electrostatically and then cured with heat. Professionals favor this method because it can also clear hard-to-remove brake dust on the rims.

Powder coating itself is pretty affordable, costing around $20 for a gallon. However, you’ll also need to purchase a powder coat paint gun which can cost you upwards of $100. If you already have this tool, you’re in luck!

The Process of Painting Rims on Your Own

Painting rims yourself can save you hundreds of dollars, but you’ll have to dedicate time and effort to the project. If you’ve never done this yourself, there are resources online that can walk you through the process.

To get a decent idea of what you’ll need to do, here are the steps:

  1. Power wash the rims
  2. Brush off debris and dirt
  3. Cover the tires to avoid overspray
  4. Apply the paint by filling hard to reach cracks first
  5. Admire your work

If the dirt and debris on your rims are too stubborn to come off with a wire brush or plastic bristled brush, you might have to sand it off. Wire brushes work best with chrome wheels and plastic bristled brushes are used for alloy wheels.

You can use at-home items to cover up the tires. Paper, tape, playing cards, or index cards are all workable options.

Keep in mind that the number of coats you need will depend on the type and color of the paint you choose. If you aren’t sure if another coat is necessary, let the paint dry and judge it from there.

Typically, you can wait 15 minutes to make a final decision. After that, you’ll want to let your paint job dry for at least 24 hours for total curing. Once the paint is completely dried, you can take off the tape or other blocking method you used.

Professionally Painted Rims: The Costs

The estimated cost for professionally painted rims is around $100-$200 per wheel. The total cost might be anywhere from $500 to $1,000 when the costs of materials and labor are added in.

A professional may charge you per square foot instead of per rim. The average cost of rim painting per square foot is $107.

In some cases, this is the better option when compared to DIY painted rims. If you need a wheel repair before you get a new paint job, the experts can do this for you at the same time.

You’ll save your own time and labor by opting for a professional rim painter. The experts might be able to complete the job in just a few hours.

The best benefit of professionally painted rims is that you’ll get quality work without the stress and time you’d take to do it yourself.

When Should You Replace Your Rims?

Some vehicle owners choose to paint their rims when they feel the car is lacking something. But, how do you know when a paint job is the right move instead of a full rim replacement?

If your tires are in top shape but you are experiencing bumpy drives, not due to the roads you are driving on, your rims might be the issue. A bent rim might seem like a minor inconvenience but can wreak havoc over time.

When you don’t replace a bent rim, you’ll find it difficult to control your car. Bent rims aren’t always easy to spot unless your vehicle is checked by a mechanic.

If you are looking into rim paint jobs to sell your car for more money, you’ll also need to look into how well your rims are working for you. Rim issues are an annoying problem that will devalue your vehicle.

To take the necessary precautions, know these obvious signs that you have bent tire rims:

Clunky Drive

Does it feel like you are driving with a flat tire but you know for a fact that all of your tires are filled with the appropriate amount of air? If your drive is not as smooth as it usually is or you hear constant thumping, your rims should get looked at.

Poorer Fuel Economy

With rising gas prices, the last thing you’ll want to do is fill up your car more often than usual. If your vehicle is covering the same distance, but you need to fill up more often, have a look at the tires.

Out-of-shape rims can impact the fuel efficiency of your car.

Vibrating Seats

When you hit the road, you might feel your seat or the entire car vibrating. This is a bad sign that your rear tire rims are bent or not aligned. Fix this issue as soon as possible to avoid any mishaps on the road.

Brakes Not Working Smoothly

You’ll know you have an issue with bent tire rims if you hit the brakes and your tire pulls to the side. Any time it isn’t easy to break, you’ll want to visit a rim and repair expert as soon as possible.

You can also order and replace your own rims through OZZYTYRES.

Deflated Tires

Bent rims will cause your tires to deflate more than usual because it places pressure on the tires. Bent rims can cause air leaks in tires that are in perfect condition.

Painting Rims on Your Own: Is Is Worth It?

Painting rims on your own is a hassle for busy vehicle owners who aren’t skilled enough to handle the job themselves. If you are on a strict budget, DIY rim painting is a much cheaper option compared to professionally painted rims.

There are a lot of resources that can teach you how to complete a quality paint job on your own. If you don’t want to risk your money on materials and time throughout the day, sticking to the pros is the better option.

For more comparison articles like this, check out the other posts on our blog.