If you don't allow your wheel paint to dry completely before driving, you could harm the paint job before you even have a chance to show it off.
If you don't allow your wheel paint to dry completely before driving, you could harm the paint job before you even have a chance to show it off.

The wheels of the car go round and round, and when they do, they eventually get nicks, dings, and chipped paint. That's why it's good to have a can of high-quality wheel paint on hand to fix them.

In the last decade, wheels have become one of the most important accessories on your vehicle. They're no longer simple pieces of utilitarian equipment; your wheels can reflect your personal style and taste. If the rest of your car looks like a million bucks — but your wheels look like 75 cents — you're sending the wrong message.

If you want to make sure every part of your vehicle looks terrific, read our buying guide for the best wheel paints. In it, we include reviews of some of the best options, like the Dupli-Color High-Performance Wheel Paint. Available in several great metallic colors, this inexpensive paint can make your wheels look awesome.

Considerations when choosing wheel paints

Why should I paint my wheels?

There are a number of reasons why using wheel paint is beneficial. First of all, it makes your car look new and clean. If you wash and wax your car but your wheels are chipped and stained, you've only done half the job. Secondly, painting your wheels protects them against the damage that comes with long-term use. A layer of wheel paint acts as a protective shell around your wheel, shielding it from more extreme damage.

What color do I want?

Although the most popular color for wheel paint is silver, it's not the only color available. Black and other colors are available as well. Although, if you really want to make a statement with your wheel paint, you can go with one of the more bold color choices such as bronze or maranello red to accent your car's paint job or just to get some attention.

What finish do I prefer?

There are a number of different finishes to choose from when it comes to wheel paint. Some of the most popular are flat, satin, and high gloss. When choosing a finish, think about what look would complement your car's paint job as well as the overall design of the vehicle.

To apply wheel paint, you must follow a specific process. If you're not prepared to do this, then wheel paint might not be for you. You'll have to use a degreasing cleaner, sandpaper, and primer. After you finish spraying your wheel paint, you'll likely need to apply a layer of clear coat to protect the paint.

Before you apply wheel paint, make sure you've done all the necessary prep work and that you have a safe and well-ventilated work area.

Brand

There are a number of brands that currently sell wheel paint. When choosing which one is right for you, take into account the longevity and reputation of each brand. That counts for something in the world of automotive products. That doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't go with a lesser-known brand. Just understand that doing so may hold more of a risk than choosing a more established brand.

Features

Multi-use applications

Some wheel paints have alternate applications besides just painting the wheels of your vehicle. They can be used to paint other sorts of auto parts, such as hub caps and other metal accessories. Keep this in mind if you have wheel paint left over after finishing the paint job on your wheels.

Value pack

Some wheel paint is sold in value packs. These packs usually come with two, three, or four canisters. If you want to save some money, you could also purchase a value pack and split the cost with a few friends.

Price

A 12-ounce can of wheel paint usually costs between $5 to $20. The lesser-known brands will be the ones on the lower end of the cost spectrum.

Wheel paints we recommend

Best of the best:   Dupli-Color High-Performance Wheel Paint

Our take: Heavy-duty wheel paint for heavy-duty use.

What we like: Dries faster than the other options, and it's available in multiple finishes.

What we dislike: Needs an additional clear coat for best results.

Best bang for your buck: Rust-Oleum High Performance Wheel Paint

Our take: Great price for a solid wheel paint.

What we like: Special formula to protect against rust offers an extra level of confidence.

What we dislike: Not as long-lasting as others, but that is to be expected considering the low price.

Choice 3: VHT High Temperature Wheel Paint

Our take: A little pricey, but the extra protection is worth it.

What we like: High temperature resistance is a big plus. Protects well against brake dust, sand abrasion, and salt.

What we dislike: The can is smaller than most others.

Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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