2004 to 2020 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 59 Posts

·
Resident MacGyver
Joined
·
2,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A lot of you have seen my painted wheels and I have been asked to create a write-up on several occassions, so here it is. This guide will show/tell how to paint stock wheels with spray paint without unmounting the tires.

Tools and materials (not all are pictured)

  • Primer (1 can per wheel)
  • Base color spray paint (I use a little over 1 can per wheel)
  • Clear coat (1 can per 2 wheels)
  • Trigger adapter for spray cans
  • Assorted sandpaper (320/400, 800, 1000, 2000)
  • Index cards (I use the $1 pack from Wal-Mart)
  • Drop cloth
  • Sponge
  • Water source/bucket/whatever
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Towels
  • Hydrolic jack (scissor jack works, but not recommended)
  • Jack stands
  • Resirator (or at least a dust mask)
  • Tire iron
  • Torque wrench w/ 21mm socket
  • Wheel chaulks

Step 1: Removing the wheels
Slightly loosen the lug nuts on the first wheel to be removed. Place wheel chaulks as needed. Jack up the first corner using solid points under the car. I use subframe mounting points in the front and strong, overlapping metal areas in the back. Place jack stands under the jack point (listed in the owner's manual). Repeat on the other side of that end of the car so that the entire front or back is on jack stands.


*My center cap is already painted in this picture because it was reused from the previous wheel

Step 2: Remove the center cap
The center cap snaps into the center of the wheel. To remove it, press on the center from the back.



Step 3: Remove the "Flying M" from the center cap
To avoid masking the Flying M, you can remove it before painting the center cap. It is held in place with 4 plastic tabs. You may have to shave the clips on the tabs to release them. Once the center cap is disassembled, set it aside.


Step 4: Scuff the stock finish
Using 320 or 400 grit sandpaper, wet sand the stock finish until there are no glossy areas. Don't worry if you sand some areas a little more than others, but try to sand as evenly as possible. Don't forget the center caps. Rinse and dry the wheel thoroughly.


Step 5: Mask the wheel and primer
Lay out the drop cloth. Prop up one side of the wheel on a box or something solid. Mask the wheel using the index cards. Place them between the wheel and tire as pictured. Remove the valve stem cap and either mask the threads or the TPMS retainer and threads. Also mask the mounting pad on the back of the wheel and inside edge of the wheel center. This will make sure the wheel mounts flat and the centercap fits properly after painting.



Put on your respirator. Attach the trigger adapter to the primer can, shake the can thoroughly, and spray primer. You will want to spray 8-10 from the surface, moving fast enough that paint doesn't pool or run. Remember to paint both sides of the wheel.

Step 6: Sand the primer and re-coat (x2)
After the primer is dry, remove the index cards and wet sand with 800. Again, don't worry if you burn though some areas in the first coat of primer when sanding. Rinse and dry the wheel thoroughly. There is no need to remove the painter's tape, but you will need to remask if it comes loose. Remask with the index cards and spray another coat of primer. Remove the index cards once dry. Sand, wash, and dry again. You shouldn't sand through the second coat of primer in any areas. I usually spray 2 coats of primer to help hide any small imperfections in the surface of the wheel.




Step 7: Mask the wheel and spray the base color
At this point, you're ready for color. You should be pretty comfortable with painting. If not you want want to practice on something. Good paint isn't cheap and I wasted a couple of cans ($8 each) back when I was first starting. I suggest that you pull all the painter's tape and re-mask. Mask with index cards and paint both sides.


Step 8: Sand the base color and re-coat
You should be a pro at sanding by now. Depending on how rough your first coat is, wet sand with 800 or 1000. It's okay if the paint gets thin in areas, but you shouldn't sand through to primer. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Repeat this as necessary until the paint if opaque and smooth.

Step 9: Spray clear, sand, and re-coat
Using the established process, spray clear coat, sand, and repeat. I generally spray 3 coats. For the first 2 coats, I sand with 1000. For the final, I sand with 1000, followed by 2000. Once you're satisfied, remove all masking and leave to dry overnight (minimum).



Step 10: Replace the wheel(s)
Re-attach the Flying M's to the center caps, then place them back into the wheels. The fitment will be a little snug. Then it's basically the reverse of Step 1. Enjoy your new wheels!


Picture from when I first painted my wheels:
 

·
Parts test dummy
Joined
·
823 Posts
Great write up, I would have never thought of the index cars to mask the tire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
699 Posts
brilliant thank you mate
 

·
Insert Witty Title Here..
Joined
·
353 Posts
looks like I have something to do this summer, when I get down to texas, and have a garage I can use. Thanks!
 

·
Resident MacGyver
Joined
·
2,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
any pics of how you did the center cap?
You just push on the four silver tabs from the back to release the logo...


Then follow the same paint process as the wheels and reassemble once it's dry. It's very straightforward. Do you have a specific question?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
Awesome write up and outstading results!
How has the paint held up on the other 3 wheels?

uh oh...I smell another project!
Awesome job again, Thanks!
 

·
Resident MacGyver
Joined
·
2,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hey man, I can see got some red calipers, or did you paint yours? Cause that is what I'm doin this very Saturday!
I painted my calipers. Do NOT use the Duplicolor kit! It is terrible! Mine started chipping almost immediately. I scraped the rest off with a pocketknife on that corner. I recommend G2 (I have a kit on the way - black this time).

Awesome write up and outstading results!
How has the paint held up on the other 3 wheels?

uh oh...I smell another project!
Awesome job again, Thanks!
Thanks!

The paint has held up very well. We had a horrible winter with lots of salt and sand on the road. I have a couple of chips in the paint, but nothing terrible. I mostly just need to wax them. With normal use, be prepared to re-apply clear coat every year or so, I'd say. Not difficult or expensive, really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I painted my calipers. Do NOT use the Duplicolor kit! It is terrible! Mine started chipping almost immediately. I scraped the rest off with a pocketknife on that corner. I recommend G2 (I have a kit on the way - black this time).
I've heard from a few forums G2 is better than duplicolor. Where do you buy it from? Again, I've heard it's hard to find, but maybe that's just in Canada.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I painted my calipers. Do NOT use the Duplicolor kit! It is terrible! Mine started chipping almost immediately. I scraped the rest off with a pocketknife on that corner. I recommend G2 (I have a kit on the way - black this time).
How did you prep your calipers before painting?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
You just push on the four silver tabs from the back to release the logo...


Then follow the same paint process as the wheels and reassemble once it's dry. It's very straightforward. Do you have a specific question?
Question is more specific about how you taped them off, seeing as how they're so small you did a good job around the logo.
 

·
Resident MacGyver
Joined
·
2,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Question is more specific about how you taped them off, seeing as how they're so small you did a good job around the logo.
I think you're missing that the logo is a separate piece. You take the logo off of the center cap and paint the actual center cap.

Would they have Daytona blue in this can form? I would love to have my rims that color.
There are paint/body shops that will put ANY color into a rattle can. It's not going to be cheap though.
 

·
Noob M3 Owner
Joined
·
26 Posts
How long does each wheel take? How long did you allow each coat to dry before sanding and applying a new coat? How long should I expect to have my wheels removed from my car if I wanted to do this (my car is my daily driver and I do not have a spare car). Can it be done in 1 Saturday/weekend?

Thanks, great write up! Sorry for all the questions.
 

·
Resident MacGyver
Joined
·
2,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
How long does each wheel take? How long did you allow each coat to dry before sanding and applying a new coat? How long should I expect to have my wheels removed from my car if I wanted to do this (my car is my daily driver and I do not have a spare car). Can it be done in 1 Saturday/weekend?

Thanks, great write up! Sorry for all the questions.
For me, each wheel takes approximately 7-8 hours. Due to my small garage, I can only work on 1 wheel at a time. I think I could complete 2 wheels in the same period of time if my work area were bigger. You would sand one while the other was drying. That sort of thing. If you have a small garage like me or can't set aside an entire weekend, complete the front wheels one weekend and the back wheels the following weekend. Your car will just look a little funny for a week.

Paint drying time varies from brand to brand. It will also vary slightly depending on heat and humidity. The Duplicolor paint I use is safe to sand in about 30-45 minutes in 70+ degree weather. The primer is ready in about 15-20 minutes.

Good questions!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
OOoops! Man I already ordered some dupli-Color paint... the one that says "with Ceramic"... I guess I'll have to try it... it's red too... we'll see how it goes, i'll try to post some pics of it once its done
 

·
Resident MacGyver
Joined
·
2,227 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I've heard from a few forums G2 is better than duplicolor. Where do you buy it from? Again, I've heard it's hard to find, but maybe that's just in Canada.
I ordered mine from Amazon. It was cheapest there. There are other places to source it online though.

How did you prep your calipers before painting?
I followed the instructions provided in the caliper kit. Cleaned, sanded, and cleaned again. It's a very harsh environment and their paint just doesn't hold up. Keep in mind they were put through a nasty winter and several trips down a dirt road (this is Oklahoma, after all).

OOoops! Man I already ordered some dupli-Color paint... the one that says "with Ceramic"... I guess I'll have to try it... it's red too... we'll see how it goes, i'll try to post some pics of it once its done
That is the exact kit I ordered. It started chipping a little right after I painted them, but it was okay until winter. Then it started flaking off in large pieces. Thankfully, my wheels have fared much better!
 
1 - 20 of 59 Posts
Top