Reviews

Best Wheel Paints for Aluminum: Bring Back the Shine

These are the top paints for restoring the shine of any aluminum wheel

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BY Daniel Rika , Suvajit Banerjee / LAST UPDATED ON November 21, 2019

Painting your wheels is one of the easiest ways to improve the overall look of your car or truck. Some paints are specially formulated for aluminum wheel surfaces and clean up the minor flaws that have gathered on the metal surface. In addition, they keep the surface of the wheel protected against future damage from the elements. Check out some of the best wheel paints on the market.

Best Overall
Dupli-Color Black High-Performance Wheel Paint
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Summary
Summary

The paint comes with a special formula that recovers the look of worn-out wheels. It can withstand harsh conditions without cracking. It also dries quickly.

Pros
Pros
  • The paint delivers a glossy and metallic finish. 
  • It resists peeling and flaking. 
  • Since it’s resistant to chemicals and brake dust, it lasts long.
Cons
Cons
  • The paint can be difficult to spray uniformly as it is thin. 
  • It also requires the application of a primer and a clear coat.
Best Overall
Dupli-Color Black High-Performance Wheel Paint
Best Value
Rust-Oleum High-Performance Wheel Spray Paint
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Summary
Summary

This paint has been specially formulated to minimize corrosion and rust. It is suited for all metal wheels and plastic as well. The paint works well even without a primer.

Pros
Pros
  • The paint spreads easily and provides good coverage. 
  • It is an oil-based formula that dries very fast. 
  • Any-angle spraying technology makes application easier.
Cons
Cons
  • The durability of the paint is not the best. 
  • The finished surface has a slightly rough texture.
Best Value
Rust-Oleum High-Performance Wheel Spray Paint
Honorable Mention
VHT Gloss Black Wheel Paint
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Summary
Summary

This paint has a polyurethane base that offers a high level of protection. It can withstand high temperatures very well. It is easy to apply and provides an even coat.

Pros
Pros
  • This versatile paint can be applied to brake calipers, drums, and rotors. 
  • The paint is equally effective on all metal alloy wheel surfaces. 
  • It protects effectively against abrasive materials like sand, brake dust, and salts.
Cons
Cons
  • The surface finish produced is not consistent. 
  • The nozzle design makes application difficult, and it works best when used with a primer and clear coat.
Honorable Mention
VHT Gloss Black Wheel Paint

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Benefits of Wheel Paint for Aluminum

  • Affordable. It is definitely cheaper to use wheel paint than to buy brand new rims. Your wheels will have a new look without you having to spend so much. All you have to do is spray it on and you have fresh-looking wheels on your car.
  • Adds attractiveness. Looking good need not be difficult when you use wheel paint. The most effort you need to make is to use your forefinger to press on the spray can to give your wheels a fresh and a more attractive look.
  • Revitalizes and protects. If your wheels are worn, chipped, and damaged, you can revitalize it with wheel paint. However, you can also use wheel paint for brand new wheels if you want to protect it from high temperatures, rust, and other blemishes.

Types of Wheel Paint for Aluminum

Rattle Can

Wheel paints come in rattle cans or aerosol cans that look like spray paint cans you use for graffiti. Rattle cans usually contain a total of 11-12 ounces of paint, solvent, and propellant or compressed air. All you have to do to expel the wheel paint is to press the nozzle of the can with your forefinger. Before pressing it, however, check whether the hole is facing toward the wheel and not toward yourself to avoid spraying paint on your face and clothing.

Top Brands

Rust-Oleum

Rust-Oleum has been manufacturing protective paints and coatings since 1921. The company mainly focuses on providing paint and coating for home and industrial use, just like for car wheels. One of the best products from this company is the Rust-Oleum Spray Paint for Aluminum.

Dupli-Color

Dupli-Color is a self-proclaimed leader in providing do-it-yourself or diy automotive paints and coatings. It is a division of Sherwin Williams Company and has been around since 1938. It manufactures products to fit your paint restoration and coating needs. Dupli-Color HWP103 Clear High Performance Wheel Paint is one of its best products. 

Wheel Paint for Aluminum Pricing

  • $5-$20: This is basically the only price range you have for wheel paint for aluminum. Part of the reason is that there is only one type of it, which is the rattle can type of wheel paint. The brand is the only factor that affects the price range. Of course, the more known and trusted the brand, the more expensive the wheel paint is. Wheel paints in this price range contain 11 or 12 ounces.

Key Features

Color

When we paint our wheels, we must consider the color of the paint. The reason is simple: we want it to match the color of the car. The most popular wheel paint colors for any car color are silver and black. However, if you are the type who wants to go crazy with your wheel’s color, then you may go for other color options such as blue or red.

Finish

After the color, you must consider the finish. Finish refers to the texture you want as a result of painting your wheels. You can choose from matte, satin, or high gloss finish. Satin is the middle ground between the very shiny high gloss and the not-so-shiny matte.

Versatility

Considering the versatility of your wheel paint can save you a lot of money. Versatile wheel paints can be used for painting other auto parts like hubcaps and other accessories, which can also save you a lot of time. If you want to update more than the appearance of your wheels, then you must definitely get a versatile wheel paint. 

Other Considerations

  • Brand. Premium brands have a higher quality than unknown ones. These have already been tried and tested by users for a long time, so they deserve some increase in value. If you have the money to splurge, then we suggest that you go for the $20 wheel paints because they will last quite a long time.
  • Value. Watch out for promotional offers that will surely help you save a lot of money. If you are on a budget, then you should definitely consider the value you are getting for your money. There are value packs that offer multiple cans of wheel paint. There are also packs that offer a wheel paint and a clear coat as a set.

Best Wheel Paint for Aluminum Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Dupli-Color Black High Performance Wheel Paint

This wheel paint comes in a 12-ounce rattle can and has been tested and approved by manufacturers to restore scratches or chips on the original factory finish. This wheel paint is really good in providing a glossy and metallic finish to your wheels due to its exact-color match paint, and clear coat. It is also good at restoring and protecting your wheels from peeling and flaking with its scratch fix all-in-one touch up tool that includes an abrasive prep tip. 


The only problem with this wheel paint is that it is quite difficult to spray uniformly on the wheel, as its consistency is quite thin. You will also need to purchase a primer and a clear coat to ensure that the paint stays on your wheel longer.

Best Value
Rust-Oleum Automotive High Performance Wheel Spray Paint

This 11-ounce wheel paint is an oil-based formula that has a fast-drying feature and provides strong and long-lasting protection for your wheels. The paint spreads easily and provides good coverage (it covers up to 8 square meters). This wheel paint is ideal for rust and scratch prevention, so you can use it for metal wheels and plastic hubcaps, among others. Restoring the original look of your wheels can definitely be achieved with this wheel paint and provides a high shine finish that will make them look brand new. 


However, the durability of the paint itself is not guaranteed. Despite the high shine finish, your wheel can have a slightly rough texture.

Premium Pick
VHT Gloss Black Wheel Paint

This wheel paint comes in an 11-ounce rattle can and is a versatile formula that can be applied to various auto parts. The best thing about this wheel paint is that it protects your wheels from high temperature and chemicals due to polyurethane. In fact, it can withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees. It is also great at protecting your wheels from sand, brake, dust, and salt. When you use a primer color paint and a clear coat with it, then it is guaranteed to last a long time.


The downside, however, is that the surface finish produced is not consistent with this wheel paint. Moreover, the nozzle is quite challenging to use. If you are on a budget, the extra primer and clear coat you need for better results can be a bit too much on your wallet.

Easiest To Use
Krylon Automotive Wheel Paint

We like this option because it provides excellent coverage, and it adheres well to prepped surfaces. You can use this fast-drying paint on aluminum and steel wheels as well as plastic, hubcaps, and center caps. It takes 30 minutes to dry to the touch and one hour to completely cure. The paint is available in a 12-ounce can and can cover up to 14 feet. It has an EZ Touch spray nozzle that provides even coverage on your wheels.  It's designed to keep your wheels from chipping and fading and is resistant against corrosion, heat, and chemicals.


However, the nozzle may clog, so it's important to clean the tip between uses. Also, it's only available in silver, so you don't have a lot of options when it comes to color.

Honorable Mention
Eastwood Acrylic Rally Wheel Argent Silver Lacquer Paint

This silver paint from Eastwood is designed to match the look of styled steel wheels, which are common on classic muscle cars. This paint produces a durable and attractive finish that covers up old, rusty wheels that need serious attention. It's also a great option if you simply want to create a silver steel wheel effect. This paint is designed to match the silver-like tone and appearance of OEM wheels. It is long lasting, withstands temperatures up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and is 50-60 percent gloss. The 16-ounce aerosol can cover up to 6 square feet, which is two to three wheels. Users report that it covers well, produces little to no runs, and dries to the touch in a short period of time. It's also easy to apply.


However, you may need to use primer or other products in addition to this paint in order to get the look you want. Also, you may have to wipe the nozzle every few seconds to keep it from dripping on the wheels.

Tips

  • Clean the wheel surface to get rid of any dirt, grime, or grease before applying the paint. This allows the paint to effectively bond with the metal surface for a long-lasting effect.
  • Follow the instructions by the manufacturer, and apply the necessary number of coats. Paints have different thicknesses and drying times, so the application methods can differ depending on the brand.
  • Choose the right type of paint that suits your wheel’s material. Some paints are formulated specifically for steel wheels and may not be suitable for aluminum wheels.

FAQs

Q: Do I need to remove the tires before painting the wheels?

A: This is the best option. Otherwise, you can use a tire gel or silicone gloss to prevent the paint from sticking to the tires. You can also stick paper or cardboard pieces between the wheel and the tire to prevent the paint from affecting the tire.

Q: What precautions do I need to take before painting my wheels?

A: Use a pair of goggles to protect your eyes from harmful chemicals. In addition, wear disposable gloves and a face mask so you don’t inhale any chemical vapors.

Q: How do I paint a wheel surface with scratches and crevices?

A: Spray an initial layer over the damaged areas, and then allow it to dry. Next, paint the entire wheel surface in a continuous motion.

Final Thoughts

For enhancing the look of your wheels, the Dupli-Color Black High Performance Wheel Paint is our top pick. It brings back the shine and also restores the surface.

For a pocket-friendly and corrosion-proof option, choose the Rust-Oleum High Performance Wheel Spray Paint.