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Main drawback with powder coating is that it will inevitably be chipped along the rim when mounting tires, and then it's a PITA to touch up as all you'll have is some (hopefully) matching paint, and still the chips will show as the powder coating is significantly thicker than paint...  


Sanding (or sandblasting if they're really rusty) and painting with a spray can is less expensive by a long shot, and can be easily touched up.  A properly done spray can job will last for more than a few years if you're not driving on salted roads (which you shouldn't be with a 2002 anyway).  



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'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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It is your choice but, the powder coating will like paint will start chipping near the lug nuts, and you will be taking off the wheels frequently also the hub caps have clips that will scrape outer rim portions. Wheel weights will scrape outer lips of steelies. Reserve powder coating for alloys IMHO. BMW Polaris silver, paint color if sprayed with a gun. 

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I agree that powdercoating, like paint, will eventually chip, scrape, and scratch. But… I’ve had plenty of powdercoated rims that survived multiple cycles on and off — tires on and off rims, rims on and off cars — with nary a chip. And at this point in history, every tire shop I use uses solely stick-on weights.


From my personal standpoint, I have never touched up chips on powdercoated or painted rims — and I’m fairly certain I never will — so I don’t find powdercoating to be any more of a problem than painting. Does it make me a bad “car guy”, if other “car guys” are touching up nicks on their steel rims while I’m driving my cars? 😋


And, yes, powdercoating is more expensive than painting your rims with a spray can. But professional painting is generally more expensive than powdercoating. So there’s that.


In conclusion, painting with a spray can, powdercoating, and professional painting are three valid methods of “restoring” rims. Look at your needs, use, goals, and budget to decide which fits your project.







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1976 2002 Polaris, 2742541 (original owner)

1973 2002tii Inka, 2762757 (not-the-original owner)

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All good replies. 
If I may add some of my personal experience. Several years ago I spray painted some steel wheels on another car using Duplicolor paint for wheels. 
I do recommend this as its super easy to get a good finish. 
one word of caution is to buy extra cans of paint. I painted a bronze color and went looking for same to paint my 2002 wheels but can’t get it any longer.  Grr. 


these are the wheels I painted. Only prep was a good wash. 




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2003 e39 M5 (daily)

1986 e30 325es (sons car)

1972 2002tii (fun daily alternative)

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I've had good luck using the VHT Wheel paint in Ford Argent silver.  If you have the wheels blasted down to bare metal, use a good metal etching primer first before the silver paint.


I plan to use this same paint when I refinish the stock steel wheels from my 74tii.  It worked good on the Ronal alloy wheels and I think the color will be a good match on the steel wheels too.


I like using paint because it's easier to blast off when it comes time to refinish the wheels.  When I originally purchased those Ronal wheels, they had been powder coated.  That was a major pain to get blasted off the first time I repainted them.  




Edited by JohnS
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'73tii Inka 🍊

'74tii Fjord 🏄‍♂️


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