Let’s face it; painting rims aren’t the norm. Most of the vehicles you see cruising on the road have a bare rim showing off their chrome and silver shine.
In the rare case, when someone wants to paint their rims, who are often the vehicle enthusiasts, they are mostly paying for luxury since it’s never a necessity.
Some say paints damage rims, which I’m afraid I have to disagree with. Nonetheless, painting rims is an extra cost.
So, how much does it cost to paint rims? There’s no single answer to it. But if you want to get a general idea, it costs $150 to $175 per rim for a complete paint job.
However, there is always an alternate solution. The DIY route can reduce the cost to a great degree. You can reduce the cost by as much as 50%.
Read this article in total if you want to get down the specific details and costs for different rims and paints.
This article will cover these topics:
- Cost for painting rims, the DIY route
- Cost for painting rims, the professional service route
- The difference in paint job quality of the two routes
- Breakdown of the costs
- Tips to save money in painting rims
Cost for Painting Rims; the DIY Route
We all can agree here that the DIY route is always the cheaper option for each and everything. It reduces the cost of labor and, for some, the extra cost of a premium service.
If you paint your rims entirely by yourself, you can be done with it by only spending $30 to $100. Why is there an enormous range for the cost? Well, the price depends on your need, paint quality, and area coverage, etc.
Cost for Painting Rims; the Professional Service Route
Let’s be honest, only a handful of people want to spend their precious time and energy to save money.
And the truth is that not many people can do a good job with doing it yourself method. It certainly needs skill.
So, if you’re one of those people, be prepared to spend up to $200 or at least $100 to hire professional service. That’s almost double the amount of DIY methods.
Apart from the cost behind the paint, this includes the labor cost, which otherwise would be zero if you did it yourself.
So, you are spending almost the same amount on labor costs as the paint cost. And this cost is calculated per wheel. Multiply it by the number of wheels you need to be painted.
Breakdown of the Costs
Your cost for a paint job includes the cost of paint and labor. If you understand the costs, you can find some clues to reduce your overall cost.
Cost for Paints
What kinds of paint are you looking to paint your rims with? Your choice of paint hugely affects the amount of money you’re spending on your rims.
There are a few options when it comes to paints for rims. Let’s look at the difference in costs for different types of paints.
Plasti Dip Paint
Plasti dip is one of the most popular forms of paint when it comes to painting rims.
Most people who go towards the DIY route uses this as it’s pretty easy to apply. Depending on the brand and quality, you’re going to need 4 cans of 22oz bottles to paint all 4 rims entirely. If each can cost $20 to $25, which is the average cost for good plastic dip brands, you’re looking at $80 to $100.
The cost is also affected by the paint’s durability. If it lasts longer, you can expect to paint your rims less. Plasti dip on your rims can last for more than 2 years, although, on wheels, it can only last 1 year due to higher friction on the road.
Special Spray Paint for Rims
There are a few paint options specially formulized for your rim painting needs. You can buy them if a typical plastic dip paint isn’t doing it for you.
A few of the most renowned options are VHT black wheel paint, Krylon Wheel Paint, and Dupli Color wheel paint.
These are much cheaper than plastic dip paints. Each can cost about $15, which corresponds to $60 to $70 if you use 4-5 cans to paint all 4 of your rims.
In terms of quality, they won’t be more durable than plastic dips. However, rim paints do not need to be highly durable since they do not come in contact with the road surface.
Truck Bed Liner
If neither of the above two options is pleasing you, you have another option, and that’s a truck bed liner.
It’s a stronger form of paint with a textured finish. It’s also much cheaper compared to plastic dip. You can understand from the name that it’s primarily used in truck vehicles.
One 32-ounce can of such paint costs less than plastic dip counterparts. If you were to buy them, you could be done with only spending $60 for two cans.
These two cans will cover 35 square feet, which will suffice for your paint job. (See the section about paintwork cost per sqft.)
The last option but a fantastic one is getting a powder coating done on your rims. This will ensure a high-quality paint job. So you can expect a better finish than all the other methods.
That being said, applying a powder coat on rims is not as simple as spraying from a can. It needs a lot of preparation and industrial tools. So, it might not be a good option if you want to do it yourself.
The paint is applied on the surface electrostatically, and then it’s cured under heat. An amateur properly completing this process is a rare sight. So, if you don’t have any prior experience, better to take it to the professionals.
A powder coating creates a stronger bond compared to other options. And that helps it protect the rim’s surface better.
You can expect to pay $20 per gallon for this option, but it also needs a paint gun which can cost more than $100. DIY powder coating can cost you $150 to $250. If you take it to the professionals, it will cost you also the labor cost.
Read Next: Guide on car paint drying time
Labor Cost for a Paint Job
As you can imagine, labor for your rim’s paint job can cost as much as the cost of the paint or more. It’s because you have to consider the hourly rate for the people at an auto shop.
In this respect, you also have to take in the fact of location. In different countries and different cities, the hourly rate will fluctuate. Paying a premium price in a highly urbanized city is quite normal.
Total Sqft Area in Rims
Knowing the total sqft of the rims helps if you’re buying paints yourself for either DIY or professionals.
Suppose you’re painting a 16-inch tire, and there is 1.4 sqft of the area to cover on it.
Multiply it by the number of tires you’re painting, and you got your total square feet of area.
What kind of paint job are you looking for? Is your rim completely bare, or does it need only a recoating?
The costs mentioned above are for the former case. So, the costs will come down a lot if you are going only to recoat the rims.
Read Next: Removing paint from wheels & Rims
The Difference in Paint Job Quality of the Two Routes
This is my 2 cents from experience. There’s a reason why pros are pros and amateurs are amateurs. If the experience doesn’t matter to ensure quality, then pros wouldn’t have existed.
If you go towards the DIY method to spend less, you are looking at reduced durability and a less satisfactory finish. People still go for the DIY route despite that being the case.
The professionals will deliver a rim paint job with close to perfect finish. It should also have high durability due to preparation technique and optimum condition for painting which is hard to maintain in your garage.
Tips to Save Money in Painting Rims
- You already know what I’m going to say here. Go for the DIY route if you think you can do it. It will reduce the cost substantially.
- Another suggestion would be to buy the supplies yourself even if you’re taking professional service.
- Use cheap paint such as truck bar liner or plastic dip paint. They are much more affordable and last long enough.
- If your rims have paint on them already, don’t take them off entirely if you’re going to paint it with the same color. In this way, you’re reducing the amount of paint purchase.
How much does it cost to paint rims? As much as you want. Now, you know the range to work with. I think you know which route I’m leaning towards.
DIY is a lifelong passion. So, if you’re a wheel and rims enthusiast, it’s going to help you in the long run. To summarize the whole article, DIY is your friend if you’re looking to cut down your cost.