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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

I've been a long time lurker here at the Mazda6Club forums, just never bothered registering. While I undertook my most recent project, I figured I would take pictures since there didn't seem to be any guides on what to do; the closest thing was an outdated guide on some Audi/VW/Porsche.

First thing's first: materials. I picked up:
1x pack of 220 grit wet sandpaper
1x pack of 400 grit wet sandpaper
1x pack of 1500 grit wet sandpaper
(OPTIONAL) I had already had 80 in my garage (only needed for really bad parts on the rim)
2x cans of Duplicolor FORD TS spraypaint (from PepBoys, it's the OEM Mazda silver color which is used for the rims)
Grey Duplicolor primer NOTE: 1 was just barely enough for me with kinda skimping; I'd advise 2, but 1 is doable.
1x Duplicolor Paint Thinner
2x cans of Duplicolor Clearcoat spraypaint
1x pack of Microfiber cloths (you can get these either at pepboys or lowes)
1 pack of spot putty (also called sand putty sometimes, I picked up the BONDO brand)

Total: About $60 and a weekend of your time/dedication

Step 1. Remove your tire from the vehicle

The next two photos are just some before pictures, showing the dirt and chips/rash from the lady driver and accumulation over 98,000mi

Step 2: Prepare a bucket of soap and water. Regular car soap will do, dish soap works better, but it doesn't matter since we will be sanding the whole rim down eventually anyways. Wash both the inner and outer parts of the rim. Also, pop out the little emblem in the middle (the shiny piece) and we can do something with that later. Remember where you put it though!

Step 3: Start sanding. The general rule of thumb with anything is that you can always take more off, but you can't always put more on. Start with the 400 grit sandpaper; wet the sandpaper up with either your hose or the wash bucket, and make sure the rim is wet as well. You're going to be sanding the whole thing. This is the longest process of the whole project. For the chips in the paint, move to your 220 paper and work on it with that. If it's really bad, you can use the 80 paper if you picked it up. The way you will know if you're done sanding is if it doesn't really have that smooth, polished feel to it like it used to. It will look sort-of cloudy, almost milky like (when dry). You can kinda tell in 4th image of this set of pictues

The picture below is the same spot as the one above. The idea is to try and get the bad sections of the rim as even as possible. This is where the 80 grit sandpaper comes in handy.

For this bad section, we're going to tape it off so we can use the spot putty / sand putty to fill it in to make it as smooth as possible. This may take a few coats depending on how bad it is. I used a paint stick I had lying around the garage for the applicator and eventually move to using my right index finger for precision. I advise against using your finger, however, because it can be poisonous if it seeps through your skin through a cut. Also on a semi-related note, this stuff is extremely flammable so be careful where you place it.

If you need more than one coat, take the 1500 grit sandpaper to remove the excess putty after it dries (probably takes about 15 minutes for a good, hard dry). Apply the other coat and let it dry as well, but don't throw out the sand paper cause you'll need it later.

Somehow I forgot to take pictures of the inside, but it's basically the same deal. The inside will be a little dirtier after you sandpaper it no matter what due to the brake dust that is probably permanently melted on there, but as long as you sand it down reasonably well you'll be alright. I had a random orbit sander (something like this but mine was from the 90's) that I used on the middle part where it's fairly rusty in the 3rd picture of the thread. You don't have to sand this part down all the way if you don't wish to, but it'll probably save your rim in the long run.

Before you start priming, use the paint thinner to clean the rim from and dirt/grease/anything else. It may LOOK clean, but it's not and the paint won't stick. Allow the thinner to dry (~5 minutes).

If you used any of the putty, now you'll want to resand it using the 1500 sandpaper with make it as even with the rest of the rim as possible. Don't worry if you go a little bit below the surface of even-ness (sorry, dunno how else to put it, it's 11PM at night), as you can use the spray paint to fix it. But the idea is to have it as even as possible

Now that you've reached priming, it's smooth sailing from here. If you don't know how to spray paint, I suggest either learning or finding a friend who knows how (though it's quite easy). Basically all you do is press the button and apply even stripes of paint. I made a contraption to make sure I don't spray excess over the edge and onto the tire itself out of a Hungry Howie's pizza box. If you wish to do the same, all I did was find the cardboard box, use a hammer to make an impression on the cardboard, and cut it out with a razor. Towards the end of my project I got a little bit lazy from moving it around the tired and just stuck a glossy paper such as an advertisement from a newspaper between the tire and the aluminum which worked quite well.

I did 2 coats of primer with about 15-20 minutes of drying time each.

Next is the Silver paint (FORD TS). It's involves the same steps as above. I did 2 coats of this as well.

Now it's time for the clearcoat. Again, it involves the same steps, but the drying time was a little quicker (5-10min). I did 2 coats of this as well, though you really could go with just 1 coat if you wanted.

Final step: put it back on the vehicle, and repeat!


Oh ****, I messed up the paint/something got in it!!! What do I do?
Relax, dab a little paint thinner on a microfiber cloth and fix it. Don't get the cloth too wet, just barely get it wet. A little goes a long way. Allow time for the thinner to dry then redo the area you messed up. A lot of the times when you use more than 1 coat it won't show up any ways. If you don't like how it eventually turns out later, you can resand that area and redo it with your new found knowledge.

Hey, that doesn't look like OEM color rims...
Sure it does, you probably just don't remember since it's been so long since they've been clean :D The paint also slightly darkens over time and it'll look right. They bake it bake at the factory so it may look slightly different, but this is your best bet on making them look brand new again without spending a fortune.

What is that black thing on your last picture behind your rim?
You install them on your front wheels on the inside and it should protect the rims from being recaked with brake dust. The guy who posted the review on Amazon doesn't really know what he's talking about, it fits like it is supposed to and it goes on the inside of your rim, not over the rotor.

Should I polish the rims?
You can if you want, but I didn't.

Should I wax the rims? Any particular wax you recommend?
I waxed mine with regular turtlewax, though they make wax "specifically" for rims. I'm not entirely sure if it's worth the extra $2 for the rim wax, it probably just stands a higher temperature before it melts I imagine. Mine hasn't melted off yet, so you'll be safe ;)

I don't really like how the part I puttied turned out...
Let it sit for a day with the paint to let it truly dry, and then if you still don't like it you can resand that area and redo it.

I got some overspray on my tire, what should I do?
You can use paint thinner to remove the overspray if you want, but it's difficult. It will start to flake after a day or 2, and it will be gone in about a week or so.

How does it seem to work out over a long distance?
Well, I did my front left rim by itself and drove on it from Tampa to Miami and back, so I can safely say that this works pretty well. It probably would be a little shinier if I had polished it, but it looks fine.

Can this ruin my resale value?
Probably not, especially if you had tar/dings/paint chips on the rims before. Aluminum rims can always be redone with ease no matter what; chrome on the other hand, needs to be replated. Short answer: No. Long answer: Negative.

You mentioned something about the emblem that we can do something with it later...?
Yes, you can just prime it and paint over it for a slightly different look. If you don't like it I'm sure you can find them on Amazon. Be sure to sand it down first if you do want to paint it. Otherwise, you can just stick them back on.

Can I repost this somewhere else?
Sure! Just give credit where it is due please.

If anyone has questions that I haven't covered, or if there's something I missed, feel free to ask! Above all, have fun with this project, working on cars is supposed to be fun, not daunting. Enjoy!

Edit: If this is in the wrong section, let me know and I can close it and repost in the appropriate section. Seems like this would be the place, but it could also belong in show and shine.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Loved it, i have a similar gash on one of my rims, im thinking about using JB Weld, im about to go through the same process as this, except with JB weld, and not going with stock colors.
JB Weld would probably work as well, you just have to be careful with the way it dries. If you're going with different colors, be sure to use a good primer and at least 2 coats of it, good luck!

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3,744 Posts
Holy Shit..... please tell me the wheels looked like that when you bought the car.

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good job......the inside of my rims look like crap.
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