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How to Remove Paint from Chrome Wheels

Paint is the enemy of chrome. Perhaps some overspray from a paint job has ended up on your chrome wheels. Or maybe you purchased a used set of wheels that someone had spray painted and you want to reveal the chrome underneath. There’s even a chance that you painted over the chrome yourself and then realized you’d rather return the rims to their original state. Whatever the case, you find yourself needing to remove paint from the wheels without damaging the chrome.


There are several different methods for removing the paint. Each involves the same basic steps:

1. Clean the surface to remove impurities
2. Apply some sort of cleaner or solvent to the paint
3. Scrub off the paint, being careful not to damage the chrome
4. Clean and polish the newly revealed chrome.
When removing paint from chrome wheels , you can use acetone, paint thinner or remover, chrome polish, rubbing alcohol, or even oven cleaner. Some car owners prefer using clay bar along with soapy water, though that can be a very time consuming and arm-tiring endeavor if the entire rim is covered in paint.

For paint remover or thinner, you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for paint removal. Essentially you will cover the surface of the rims and then cover them in plastic wrap and allow them to sit overnight. The next day you can use a paint scraper, nylon scrubber, and soft cloth to remove the paint and then polish the chrome.

When using acetone or lacquer thinner, you will want to apply the solvent to a cloth and let the cloth sit on the paint to soften it. Once the paint begins to break down, it can be removed using a scrubber, scraper, and cloth.

Rubbing alcohol and chrome polish can be applied with very fine steel wool . The paint will break down and rub off.

When using oven cleaner, again follow the manufacturer’s instructions as if the rims were the inside of an oven. Spray a thick coat of the cleaner on the wheels and let them set. You may want to cover them in plastic wrap to seal the cleaner in. The remove the paint with scraper and scrubber.

You may want to rinse the rims thoroughly with clean, warm water before polishing the chrome.

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