If you are looking to create a new style for your vehicle, you might have thought about powder coating the wheels. Before you decide to move forward, it’s helpful to ask a few questions first. For example, how much does it cost to powder coat wheels?
In this guide, I examine the average cost and discuss what makes the price so high. I also talk about the basics of powder coating wheels. Plus, I talk about the importance of maintaining the powder coated wheels to ensure they continue to look as good as they did when they were freshly done.
How Much Does it Cost to Powder Coat wheels and rims?
On average, you will spend $75 to $125 per rim to have it powder coated. The cost depends on what size the wheels are, what type of powder coating you choose, and whether you have it professionally applied or do it yourself.
There are varying types of powder coating, which can easily affect how high the price goes. However, if you have extra money, it’s always best to choose a better powder coating material than a cheaper one, especially if you want it to last.
What is Powder Coating?
Powder coating refers to the dry coating that is applied to a specific surface. It’s applied to the surface electrostatically. Then, its heat cured to finish. This powdered material is made with a polymer base, infused with a curative mixture, along with pigments, leveling agents and modifiers.
Powder coating is a more durable option than standard paint, as it will resist flaking and chipping. The reason it lasts longer is because the powder coating bonds better to metallic surfaces, making it an ideal choice for wheels.
With today’s options, you can choose a powder coating in almost any hue you can dream of. For this reason, it’s also simple to customize your vehicle just the way you want it.
Reasons Powder Coated Wheels are Expensive
1. Hard to Work With
It’s not easy to work with car rims, especially if they are large in size. Rims can be bulky and they aren’t easy to move around.
If you are working with rims larger than 18 inches, you will need special hooks to hang them on. You might also need someone to help you move them around.
2. Long Preparation
There’s a lot of preparation that must occur when you powder coat the wheels if you want them to last. With the extensive preparation steps that must be taken, you are looking at higher labor charges.
To prepare the wheels, the metal must be dealt with based on what material it is. Steel is treated differently than aluminum, ensuring that the powder coating sticks to the surface. Additionally, all of the parts that aren’t metal must be removed before the powder coating is applied. Otherwise, you will be dealing with residue that’s difficult to get off.
Next, the wheels must be sandblasted. Depending on what kind of metal you are working with, the wheels must also need to be heated overnight to prepare them. Primer is also important, which can cost a good amount of money if you choose a high-quality formulation. If you don’t use a good primer, the metal underneath could easily corrode.
3. Better Materials
As with any auto body job, there are varying levels of material quality you can choose from. If you want the job to last, you need to pay more for the better materials. Sure, you can find a shop that is going to charge a rock-bottom price on the powder coating, but how often will you need to have them refinished?
If you buy cheap powder coating, the material could begin chipping within a couple of days, making the job a waste. Save yourself the trouble and invest upfront. Make sure you also splurge on a protective top layer that also helps to prevent damage.
Another factor has to do with the color. If you are looking for a simple black powder coating, you might not spend as much as someone hoping for a unique color. The more work that goes into preparing the color and material, the more you can expect to pay in the end.
4. Qualified Technician
Not everyone is qualified to apply powder coating to a set of wheels. Even if your cousin’s best friend says he can do it, it’s best to choose a professional to handle the task. If the job isn’t done properly, a serious scratch or damage is sure to follow.
As you search where to take your vehicle, get multiple quotes, but don’t choose who you want to work with based on the price alone. Instead, have a look at some of the other work that the shop has performed and ask for a list of qualifications. It’s worth paying more to get a shop that’s experienced and has a long history of customer satisfaction.
DIY vs. Professional Wheel Powder Coating
If you think you are qualified to handle powder coating your own wheels, you could save a lot of money. However, there are some things to consider. First, you will need some specialized tools. If the wheels need to be baked in an oven, you will need one capable of handling this task. A regular oven should never be used, because you don’t want to accidentally ingest the powder with your food. For this reason, supplies to get started could easily cost $5,000 or more.
While taking the vehicle to a professional is going to cost more for the job itself, it’s often worth the savings over the equipment you would need. However, if you have access to the tools already, you could easily complete the job on your own.
Maintaining Powder Coated Rims
If you want the powder coated wheels to last as long as possible, it’s critical to maintain them. While maintaining these rims will take a little more time than normal, it’s not a complicated procedure. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Clean the Wheels: It’s important that the wheels remain clean and dry. Don’t use harsh chemicals, and make sure any debris is removed as soon as possible. Mild soap and water are good for everyday cleaning, while a special wheel cleaner might be useful on occasion.
- Protect with Sealant: You want to apply a special coating or sealant to the rims. Choose a product that repels brake dust, as this can eat away at the powder coating over time. Not only will this protectant keep the finish from chipping, but it also makes the surface easier to clean.
- Park in Shade: Sunlight is the enemy of powder coating, leading to fading over time. If you can park in a garage, this is your best option. Otherwise, consider investing in a car cover to protect not only the wheels, but the body paint as well.
If you make time to regularly maintain the wheels, you will spend a lot less money overall. Instead of needing to have the wheels refinished, you can keep up the care for just a few dollars each time.