A fresh coat of paint on steel wheels can help to transform the looks and value of an ageing ’van.

Scruffy road wheels seriously devalue a motorhome, making it look old before its time. However, a few hours of work can reverse all that, giving the vehicle a new, younger look and at the same enhancing its resale value.

A fresh coat of paint on steel wheels can help to transform the looks and value of an ageing ’van.

 

 

Scruffy road wheels seriously devalue a motorhome, making it look old before its time. However, a few hours of work can reverse all that, giving the vehicle a new, younger look and at the same enhancing its resale value.

 

Steel wheels can be renovated for a few pounds, and some care and patience. By preparing and painting one wheel at a time, the ’van can still be driven, too, with the wheel being worked on carried as the spare.

 


Wheels can be brush-painted or sprayed using aerosols, but the real work is in the preparation. Our step-by-step sequence shows how to achieve a good-as-new finish. All the materials used here are available from car accessory shops.

 

Before and after

Rust is breaking out from beneath the General 1paint all over the wheel on the left, but after undergoing our step-by-step renovation, you can see that the same wheel looks as good as new again (right), preserving your ’van’s value.

 

Before you begin...

General 2

 

 

Getting started

 

1. First, wash off any oil and General 3grease. Then, gouge out rust from the rim edge against the tyre bead. A sharp, three-pointed paint scraper is ideal for the job.

 

 

 

 

 

2. For resistant patches, use a General 4blunt chisel to jab at the encrusted rust to break it away from the rim edge.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Use the chisel edge to carefully General 5scrape all of the areas of raised rust off the whole of the wheel’s surface.

 

 

 

 

 

4. A fine decorating scraper is an General 6ideal tool for cleaning the joint where the two wheel sections are welded together.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Fold a piece of coarse emery General 7cloth and use it to clean and smoothe the rim edge of the wheel, getting it in to the tyre bead.

 

 

 

 

6. Clean the wheel, using the General 8emery cloth to level rust spots and feather paint to the metal.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Dust and clean with a rag and General 9thinners. Apply a rust converter fluid, stippling it into the gaps. Cover all rust and bare metal areas.

 

 

 

 

8. Most converters are white. This General 10one turns blue as it dries. When it’s black, the remaining rust is converted, and halted.

 

 

 

 

9. Mask the tyre valve. Spray with General 11high-build primer around the wheel. A sheet of paper in the tyre bead keeps paint off the tyre.

 

 

 

 

10. Apply the paint in bursts, General 12covering slowly to avoid runs. Allow to dry between coats.

 

 

 

 

 

11. The primer shows rust and dirt General 13that’s been missed (eg, here in the wheel joint). Remove debris, brush and re-spray affected areas.

 

 

 

 

12. Allow the primer to harden General 14before adding the colour coat. Practise on the centre of the wheel, then do the edge, masking as before.

 

 

 

 

13. Apply a coat of clear lacquer General 15when dry. Remove masking tape with tweezers. Dry overnight – don’t power wash for four weeks.

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