Whether you’re a terrible parallel parker or you bought a used car from someone who is, at some point we all own a vehicle with curb rash on the wheels. Fortunately, it’s not terribly expensive or difficult to fix curb rash on painted wheels. All you need is a bit of patience and some easily accessible materials.
Repair And Paint Curb Rashed Wheels
COST: About $15 per wheel
TIME: About 45 minutes per wheel
- Wire Brush
- Metal File
- Sandpaper – medium grit
- Sandable Automotive Filler Primer
- Wheel Paint
- Sanding Sponges – fine and extra fine grit
- Painter’s Tape or Masking Tape
- Card Stock or Thin Sheet of Cardboard (optional)
- Clean the wheels with a wire brush or sanding sponge and rinse with water. Resist the urge to use soap or chemicals that may interfere with paint adhesion later. You can use paint thinner or mineral spirits if necessary. Be sure all rust, grit, and peeling paint is removed.
- If the curb damaged area of your wheel has any high spots or shavings hanging on, file it down. Be careful though – you don’t want to remove any more material than is necessary for a smooth finish.
- Scuff the surface of the wheel with medium grit sandpaper. You don’t want to create more deep scratches or gouges that you’ll need to fill later – just some texture on the surface for the paint to stick to. Rinse and dry everything well.
- If there is a tire on your wheel, cover any surface you don’t want painted. Tape doesn’t stick well to rubber, but you can use rags or plastic wrap to cover most of the tire. Then insert a sheet of card stock in between the wheel lip and tire to prevent paint from getting on the tire.
- Spray a coat of primer focused on damaged areas and any scratches or gouges that need to be filled.
- Once the first primer coat is dry, wet sand the wheel down with a fine grit sanding sponge. The goal is to sand the undamaged areas back down to the surface metal while allowing the primer to remain in the damaged area. Rinse and dry the wheel.
- Repeat steps five and six, allowing the filler primer to build the damaged areas up until they’re even with the rest of the wheel. You will likely need to focus several coats on damaged areas to build it up.
- Once the damage is filled, give the entire wheel a good, even final coat of primer.
- If you have any small drips, runs, or minor surface imperfections you can wet sand them out with a fine or extra fine sanding sponge prior to final painting.
- Spray an even coat of wheel paint over the entire wheel. We applied multiple coats to ensure even paint coverage in between spokes. For extra protection you can also apply clear over your base color, though we didn’t take that extra step on ours.
The results of this project will vary based on the extent of the damage to your wheels, your level of patience, and the quality of materials you use. If your wheel lips have chunks missing or are heavily damaged, filler primer alone is not going to fix it. A good quality primer and paint is going to give you better results. And finally, as is true with any painting project, patience and prep are the key to a beautiful finished product. Good luck!