Perfectly Powder Coated Wheels- 10 Tips to Make Your Wheels Look Great

It’s a known fact that a set of wheels can make or break a car. We’ve seen some of the biggest “junkers” become legendary with a nice set of wheels and a ride height adjustment. The opposite can happen when you have a nicely restored vehicle that has dirty, beat-up, or badly finished wheels. It can ruin the overall appearance of the car or truck. We’re here to show you how to make your rolling stock look as good as your ride with these 10 tips to powder coated wheel perfection.

1. Preparation Is Key!- Powder Coating, like traditional paint, requires a clean, dry surface for the best results. We suggest to media blast your wheels down to bare metal for the best powder adhesion. Powder coating is a “high-build” coating that will fill the texture left by media blasting. Eastwood offers DIY Media Blasting Kits that make it a pretty affordable option. The other option is to remove the finish chemically or mechanically. Both methods can be quite messy and time consuming, but they do the job. Once the wheels are free of any old coatings, wash them down with a solvent like PRE or After Blast to remove any grease, dirt, or grime. At this point we’d suggest wearing clean rubber gloves. The oil from your skin can transfer to the surface and actually cause imperfections in the powder during curing. Remember, the cleaner the better!

Removing Paint From Wheels Chemically

2. Pre-Bake Wheels- The wheels on your vehicle are subjected to some of the harshest conditions on your vehicle. They see extreme temps, brake dust, grease, grime, salt, and anything in between. No matter how often you cleaned the wheels (especially cast wheels), they’ll still have some residue or contaminants baked into the metal. Those contaminants can release when the wheel is heated up. If that happens when baking and curing your powder, it could cause popping, bubbling, or even a fish eye effect in your cured powder. We suggest to bake your wheels at 450 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour to assure that you have released and baked out the years of contaminants in the metal. This way when you apply the powder and cure it at a similar temperature, those contaminants would have already been released.

Pre-Baking Wheels

3. Assure you have a good ground connection- Grounding your wheels to the powder coating gun is very important. Most wheels have some tight corners and crevices that can be difficult to get the powder into. The static charge that is created by grounding the wheels and charging the powder is what helps the powder cling into every crevice. Without a good ground the powder won’t stick in these spots and you’ll get an uneven finish. We’ve had luck by running thin metal wire around or through each wheel and then connecting the ground to the metal rack the wheels sit on for coating and curing. This allows you an easy spot to clamp your ground clamp to the rack or even the wire under the rack.

4. Hot-Flock you wheels- “Hot-Flocking’ is a procedure where you preheat the part and immediately coat the wheel. The hot wheel will help the powder “stick” to the surface easier as the powder may begin to melt as soon as it hits the surface. This technique takes some practice to perfect. You will need to be quick with laying the powder down so the part doesn’t cool too much. Also be mindful to avoid laying too much powder during this method as you can get “runs” or “clumps” of powder that will collect in one spot.

5. Use High Temperature Masking Tape– Use this high temp tape to mask off lug holes, hub bores, and any other areas that have a tight tolerance and could cause issues when refitting the wheels. You can also use this tape to mask off portions of the wheels to apply a second coat of powder for a custom application.

6. Apply Clear Coat Powder– Use your choice of clear powder to add an extra layer of protection to your wheels and make cleaning brake dust and road grime off easier (high metallic and textured powders especially hold dirt and grime!). Additionally our high gloss clear powders really give your finish a “deep” “wet” look.

Gloss Clear Powder over Wheel Sparkle Silver Powder

7. Protect the inside of the wheels- One of the nice things about powder coating is that it helps seals the metal and keep your wheels from corroding. We have found a good practice while powder coating your wheels is to apply a layer of powder on the inside barrels of the wheels to protect them from corrosion. The inner barrels or hoop see the harshest conditions. You can make the coating as basic as satin black powder or go full custom and use an eye catching Translucent or Candy Powder.

Custom Powder Coated Wheels

8.Remove anything that shouldn’t be coated- If you don’t want it coated or it can’t handle the heat, you must remove it before starting the process. This includes valve stems, sealing rings, trim pieces, lug covers, hubcaps or center caps, etc.

9. Use metal or high temperature filler on damaged wheels- Have a wheel with some “curbing” or damage? Use an all metal filler like Lab-Metal to fill and sand imperfections smooth. Powder Coating can have some filling properties, but heavy scratches or gouges need to be filled. Alternatively you could use an AC/DC Tig Welder to weld and fill major damage.

10. Use a Quality Powder Gun- As mentioned earlier, powder coating wheels can be difficult with all of the crevices and tight areas you need to coat. Not all powder coating guns are created equal and you need to make sure you use a gun that has the ability to switch to a lower voltage that allows the powder to cling to those hard to reach areas. Our Dual Voltage Powder Coating Gun is one example of an adjustable voltage gun.

If you follow these tips and take your time, you can make your wheels look as good as the rest of your ride and last just as long too!


  1. Hi i have been coating now for about two years but i still haven’t done two colors. I only have a regular size house oven for now but will soon have a much larger oven. Any advice you can give me would sure help. I use Eastwoods heat resistant powder and i have coated one side then let it cool down and coated the other side but the first side came out a little cloudy.

  2. Planning on coating some Weld Rodlights for our 1975 Firebird. Your advice and input is at the perfect time! Thank you

  3. I have powder coated multiple rims. I have yet to try multiple colors. please tell me how without distorting the first coat.

  4. I have a regular size oven myself. I have found that pre heating the rim and shooting one side and with welders gloves flipping the rim and shooting the second side works very well. You need to have a set up on your rakes that will allow you to flip the rim without any of the external surfaces touching the rack or support, I set up on the center of the rim and make sure that I can flip it and shoot the wheel face last. You can remove the powder coat from the hub surface with sand paper.

  5. Gordon,

    You can do it either way, but I prefer to “Hot Flock” the clearcoat after the base color has flowed out so they interlink for superior adhesion. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi I have two pair of 15in rims one pair is 8in wide and the other pair is 10in wide and I want to PC them for my truck but I don’t know how can you help me out on the steps

  7. If doing two colors, mask, then spray your first color. Throw it in the oven only long enough for the powder start to flow, make sure there is no dry powder that has not started to flow anywhere on the item. Pull it out immediately, let cool, mask shoot the second color, remove the masking (carefully) and throw it back in the oven for the full and final cure. Presto! That’s what I’ve been doing and it works great.

  8. I hate the fact that my car rims get rusty at times, and I can’t believe that powder coating can help make that be a problem of the past. Not only will it protect from corrosion, but they end up looking really nice and luxurious. If i ever notice my wheel rims rusting, I’ll powder coat them, and leave them nice and amazing looking! Thanks for that information and list.

  9. It’s going to be finish of mine day, however before finish I am reading this great article to improve my know-how.

  10. Any thoughts on coating wire wheels? Seems like there are many opportunities for the Faraday cage effect and also really need to coat the inside at the same time. Can you powder coat one side first bake it then the other and expect a good blend at the part line?

  11. Wire wheels can be difficult. We definitely suggest coating them from both sides for full coverage. If you make sure you overlap your powder on the edges it will blend together nicely (if it’s the same color of course) with no lines. Powder is more forgiving with that than traditional paint.

  12. Had some wheel faces power coated but I’m trying to figure out the best way to shape up the center so the center caps fit back in. I was thinking a drimel, any other suggestions?

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