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Premium Member
3,652 Posts
You cant paint chrome. I dont think you can even powder coat it. The chrome
will need to be stripped off completely. Take it to a chrome shop and see if they
can reverse the process. It wont be easy. Not sure if you know what goes into
chroming a wheel, but its a three step process, you electroplate with copper,
then nickle, then the chrome. You would have to take off all three layers to
be able to paint your wheel. Then you would have to fix any imperfections
left behind by the stripping process. I bet it would be cheaper to sell the rims
you have and just buy new ones that are not chrome. This is from wikipedia:

# Chrome Stripping

* Rack part for stripping process
* Dip in electrically activated sodium hydroxide
* Dip in hot water
* Strip off nickel with activated sulfuric acid (taking care that the base material is not eroded)
* Place in Media Blaster for coating preparation

# Grinding

* Grind off any and all pits/ protrusions/ unwanted metal material
* Corrosion pits in "pot metal" (zinc cast) items, such as those found older vehicles
can be drilled or ground out and filled with silver solder and smoothed off prior to re-plating.
* Smooth unwanted edges
* As necessary, grind points of contact for future soldering

# Cyanide Bath

* Rack part with copper wire (some need weights attached to underside to prevent floating
giving special attention avoiding the wire to touch the part)
* Dip into Electro-cleaner wash
* Rinse off soap lather
* Dip in non-electrified sulfuric acid
* Spray rinse with water
* Place in cyanide
* Place in cyanide rinse tank

# Touching Up

* Solder pits and fill in undercuts (with attention to avoiding a detrimental cut through part)
* If applicable, attach broken metal pieces and filler metal with solder
* Grind off extra solder to smooth finish


16 Posts
I work in a body shop and just last week we were shown a new product from PPG. It is an adhesion promoter that allows paint or clear to be applied to chrome or other bare metal surfaces without all the hassle of grinding. I have not used the product so I am not very familiar with it. But I an contact PPG and ask them how it works on chrome wheels.

1,220 Posts
You CAN paint chrome, it has been done many times and by me. Look up the musclecar tv show on, there is a episode from this year you can watch that shows you how and what to use. I sanded my camaro wheels down with 200 grit then 500 grit, used house of color adhesion promoter, then a etching base primer, base coat, clear coat, wet sand, buff, Done. Its a lot of work, but for saving good rims that are peeling, its saves a ton of money, cost me $250 to make my rims new again. Its been 6 years, not one chip or peel.
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