How Much Does it Cost to Powder Coat Wheel Rims?

In this article we will be specifically looking at powder coating for the wheels. This process takes the usually dull looking wheels to the next level. We will discuss exactly what is involved in powder coating and of course how much this will likely cost if you are thinking of having it done.

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is one of the best ways to customize the color and look of your wheel rims. Some people may paint their rims but this often does not last well. Powder coating however is more durable and lasts far longer.

The process involves a dry coating that is applied to the surfaces of the wheel rims electrostatically. This is then heat cured to finish which bonds the coating to the surface of the rims. Unlike paint it will hold to the surface and will not chip or flake as easily.

Powder coating itself is a polymer base that has been infused with a curative mixture as well as your choice of pigments, leveling agents and modifiers. All this serves to create a bond between the coating and the metal surface of your wheel rims.

How Much Does Powder Coating Cost?

So, to the costs involved in powder coating your wheel rims. Firstly you will want to do all four wheel rims so you will be looking at spending between $75 - $125 each to get this job done professionally.

The prices will vary for a number of reasons such as the size of your wheels and of course what type of powder coating you choose. Some mixtures will be less expensive but as you may imagine they will often wear out more quickly than premium options.

Why Is Powder Coating Expensive?

When we elect to make modifications to our standard car look we understand that this will cost us money but why would applying a coat of dry powder to our wheels be so expensive? Well a number of factors come into play when it comes to powder coating which make it justifiably expensive to have done.

Difficulty Level

If you have ever tried painting your own rims you will likely know this is not an easy task especially if you want the paint job to look neat and even. It's not like a flat wall, there are curves and turns in the surface which make it tricky to paint.

Powder coatings are far more complex than painting so obviously it is very tricky to do correctly. You can’t complete this process with the wheels still on your vehicle and they are heavy things to move around. Larger rims may need to be suspended on hooks and more than likely this is not a one person job.

Preparation Takes Time

Labor costs are a factor with all things automotive and powder coating is no exception. Time must be spent preparing the rims to accept the powder coating which means removing all other parts of the wheel to leave only the metal rims.

The metal on these rims will then have to be prepared to receive the powder coating. You can not miss steps in this process otherwise you will get poor bonding and the finish will not last. Depending on the metal your rims are made of there will likely be different preparation processes some more expensive than others.

Once prepared using sandblasting and sometimes heat treatment the rims will next have to be painted with a primer. This is to protect the metal of the rims from rust as powder coating itself does not serve this function.

The Quality of Materials

This is a variable aspect of the cost for powder coating. You have a wide range of options, some more expensive than others. If you are looking for a finish that will last longer you will be paying the higher prices.

Bargains are available out there but the materials used will not be of the highest quality and you will find the coating needs retouching more frequently. Over time you will spend more on retouching by opting for a cheaper initial powder coating.

A really cheap job could see your coating show signs of chipping within a few days. At this point you just threw money down the drain and should have paid more to get a treatment that will last.

Your choice of color may also affect the cost of powder coating. With a simple black coating you may pay far less than for a unique color that requires more prep work. It’s all about the complexity of the process so the more that needs to be done the higher your price is going to be.

Qualified Technician

Powder coating is not that easy to do as it does have elements of artistic style but also requires skill and experience. It may seem simple in theory but qualified technicians do these all the time and have learned more about what can go wrong than we will ever know.

If you are looking for a great finish that lasts for a long time you will want to make sure you have the job performed by a qualified technician. Shop around to find a place that has great qualifications and excellent customer reviews.

Do not make your decision simply because you find the cheapest place, you will likely regret this when you need to have the rims retouched in a matter of weeks. Quality materials and experienced technicians are the key to a long lasting powder coat.

Can you Powder Coat Your Own Wheels?

Some people may consider trying to powder coat their own rims. Theoretically this would save you money on labor costs which is great. The only problem is you will likely need specialized tools to get this job done correctly.

Often you need to heat treat the powder coating which will require an oven. You can not and should not use your home oven for this. Even if the rims fit in there you will end up with residue from the powder coating in your oven and trust me this is not a great seasoning for your next meal.

You may have to buy a specialized oven as well as other supplies to get this job done which can cost in excess of $5000. Now if you plan to do a lot of powder coating this may be deemed an investment but over time you might find that this initial outlay was not at all worth it.

If however you already have access to the tools you need and feel confident you can do this then it is certainly worth trying.

Maintaining Powder Coated Rims

As powder coating your rims is expensive and because they will not last forever you will want to do whatever you can to avoid the need for a retouch too often. With a little extra time for TLC of the rims you will save yourself a little money.

Keep the Wheels Clean and Dry

I know, we can't avoid using our cars so our wheels are likely to get dirty and at times wet. This is unless of course you plan to powder coat and then set the car on a plinth inside just to be looked at. Regular cleaning of your wheel rims with gentle cleaning chemicals and drying will keep them looking good and avoid wear.

Use Sealant

You can add an extra layer of protective sealant to your rims in order to prevent chips to the powder coating and help repel brake dust and other grime. This extra surface will also make the rims easier to wipe clean as it creates a smoother coating.

Keep the Car in the Shade

Direct sunlight can cause a powder coating color to fade rapidly so if you can when parked for extended periods find some shade. A few minutes won't hurt so you need to become a freak about finding shade but if you are parking for a while in the same place consider where the sunlight might hit your wheel rims.

Conclusion

Powder coating can give your wheels a very cool finish and is something to be proud of. This process however is not cheap so you will need to pay for a quality outcome. If you plan to powder coat your own wheels just remember you will probably need expensive equipment and if you do a bad job it will start to look bad very quickly.

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