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Are your wheels looking dingy and no amount of cleaning helps that much? Do you have clear coat peeling? Tired of polishing your wheels weekly?
You can fix it on your own for about $50!

You’ll have to have the tires removed from your wheels first (don’t try this with tires on, you’ll hate yourself). You can strip the wheels with any good grade of paint striper such as Kleen Strip, or “aircraft striper”. You MUST have proper neoprene gloves, latex will not work. Use goggles and a dust mask too. Put the striper in a spray bottle, and spray it on the face of the wheel (do 1 wheel at a time), the clear coat will start to bubble up immediately, but give it 15 minutes, Now scrub the wheel with steel wool moistened with a little stripper, it’s MESSY!! Now re-spray and scrub again.
The wheel is stripped now, but is a sticky mess, so wash it with steel wool and mineral spirits. Rinse the wheel, and after it’s dry see if there is any remaining clear coat. If any paint remains re-strip the wheel.

If you have any nicks or scratches, now is the time to fix them. Correct nicks with a die grinder and a gentle touch. Sand out scratches with 320 grit paper.
Now clean wheels with fine steel wool and “liquid sandpaper” to get any traces of remaining paint. This also buffs the wheels. Next clean and brighten the wheels with an acid type wheel cleaner (the ones that say there NOT for clear coated wheels). If you want to paint the inserts or between the spokes, do it now with a lacquer paint.

You’ll need a catalyzed urethane clear coat paint, I used Glisten PC by POR-15. it’s made especially for wheels. One hour before you start painting, mix the catalyst and clear coat and stir it up, put the cap back on. While you wait for the paint to catalyze, rub down the wheels with isopropyl alcohol. Wearing a quality cartridge mask, you can brush on the first coat to get in the nooks and crannies. Wait 25 minutes, now spray the following coats with a touchup gun or even one of those rechargeable spray cans. I applied about 5 coats, waiting  25 minutes between coats. The paint will tack up in 3 hours, but needs 3-4 days to get really hard. Your wheels now look like NEW!
A special thanks to Scott for this article

Shop Eastwood for your Auto Restoration Needs!

© 1998-2010

Feel free to drop me a note. * I am looking for some good articles for the third and fourth gen birds. If you have any that you would like to see on this site send them to me and I will post them on my site.     

  • The information in here is just an outline.
  • The author claims no responsibility for the info contained in these pages. 
  • If unsure of any tip or modification seek a professional for the job.
  • In some states this may violate pollution laws
  • Check with your state on the laws.
  • Not affiliated with Pontiac or General Motors