14 Pros and Cons of Powder Coating Wheels (2023)

Powder coating is a process that can improve the look of your wheels while reducing the overall cost of your aesthetics. Instead of paying for custom rims when they begin to look worn out, refinishing them by investing in this service can help them to make them look brand new once again.

The powder coating provides ground particles that are made of specific pigments and resin. They are electrically charged as they get sprayed to the surface that needs refinishing – like your wheel rims. That charge makes it possible to adhere to the metal, and then the wheels get baked so that the surfaces blend together to create a hard cure. That process results in a high-quality, durable surface that gives you a look that is consistently fantastic.

Although there are other ways that you can improve the overall look and durability of your rims that need an updated finish, there are several pros and cons of powder coating wheels that you’ll want to look at today.

List of the Pros of Powder Coating Wheels

1. You receive a higher level of resistance with the powder coating.
The rims of your vehicle are going to see a lot of action as you drive. Depending on the season, you could start dealing with flaking, chipping, or corrosion issues that the salt, road grime, and other outdoor elements can cause with each rotation. The debris on the road, or even the gravel of a country street, may create damage that requires a repair.

The powder coating on the rims will create a non-porous surface that shields the wheels more than a traditional paint would create. You’ll come out of some unforgiven conditions with less overall damage than you would in most other scenarios.

(Video) Why You Should Powder Coat Your Wheels | Top 5 Reasons

2. Powder coating provides your wheels and rims with better durability.
When you have the particles from the powder coating sprayed onto your rims, then they go into an oven to bake at high heat levels. This process causes the coating to fuse together, creating a curing process that will help to add another level of durability to the product. You’ll see a thicker surface, consistent surface coverage, and a longer overall life.

When someone applies a powder coating to your rims correctly, then the surface can last up to three times longer than the traditional painting work that some vehicle owners prefer.

3. It is better for the environment to be powder coating your rims.
When you can redo your rims by yourself, then it can feel like you’re saving some cash and doing something good for your vehicle – or even the environment. The only problem with a standard paint covering is that many of the products that get applied to rims today tend to have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in them. Not only is this product harmful to your lungs if you were to breathe it in, but it is also problematic for the ozone layer.

When you decide to use a powder coating for your wheels instead, then you can eliminate the threat of VOCs completely. You won’t need to deal with the excess paint you might have as well, which is virtually impossible to capture or reuse after you finish your wheels. If you have extra powder with this process, you can quickly recycle it without difficulty.

4. Powder coating provides you with better coverage for your rims.
If you compare the coverage that you receive with a traditional liquid paint to the powder coating, then the latter wins every time. There are certain areas of your wheels where a liquid paint is almost impossible to apply without adversely impacting other areas of the vehicle. If the rims are complex or feature intricate designs, you’ll encounter that issue as well when you are painting them.

(Video) How Wheels Are Professionally Powder-Coated | Cars Insider

Powder coating uses an electrostatic method that, when combined with the curing process, allows you to access the most challenging parts of your wheels to ensure that there is adequate coverage over the entire surface.

5. You’ll save money with a powder coating when compared to other surfaces.
Although you will typically pay a little more for a powder coating on the initial work, it can you a ton of cash in the long run when you choose this surface option for your wheels. According to pricing information provided by Thumbtack, the average price to do an entire set of wheels is typically between $400 to $700. Some areas might provide this service for a little less if there isn’t much demand for the product. You can also find providers charging in excess of $4,000 for complex jobs.

6. The curing time for powder coating is much less than paint.
When you compare the liquid coatings that you might use on your wheels with the powder coating option, then it requires less processing time. It will go through the drying and curing process faster as well. Instead of needing several hours to have your rims ready, you can have the powder coatings ready in as little as 10 minutes. Painted wheels might take several hours to dry without heat, or even 45-60 minutes if you have an oven.

That means you can get in and out with your updated look in very little time. You’ll also be working with fewer staging areas if you do the work on your own, which means the spatial requirements are a lot less.

7. Powder coatings can apply to several different wheel materials.
When you want to powder coat wheels, you’ll be primarily using this process for metal materials, such as aluminum, steel, or stainless steel. You can also use brass with this process if you wish. There are a variety of non-metal rim components that may benefit from this option as well, such as fiberboard or glass. The only limitation that you have when creating the durable finish is that the material you use must be able to go through the heating process.

(Video) Paint VS Powdercoat!

8. You can utilize all of your materials.
Powder coating materials use almost all of the coating when working with your wheels. That means you don’t suffer the losses of overspray like you would with the traditional liquid paint. This product doesn’t contain solvents either, which means there is zero loss because of evaporation. The utilization rate for this product is almost 100%.

List of the Cons of Powder Coating Wheels

1. There can be problems with the color application with powder coating.
When you opt for the powder coating instead of the paint, there may be issues with the final tone or hue that you receive once the rims come out of the oven. The baking process usually creates a consistent result, but there can be times when recycled product can get into what you’re using. That means you can encounter problems with cross-contamination, even when the same particles are applied to all of your wheels.

If you want a precision color matching experience with your vehicle, the powder coating option for your wheels might not be the best option.

2. The thickness of the surface can be problematic for some wheels.
Powder coating is an excellent choice for wheels when you need a thick finish that can handle some challenging situations. When your goal is to create a thin surface on your rims for a specific look, then you’ll find that this option works against you. It is virtually impossible to create thin surfaces when choosing this option. If your project requires a build that is less than 6mm, then you’ll need to rely on a different process to create the results you want.

3. You will have the startup costs to consider with this surfacing option.
If you have a local provider who will put together a complete set of wheels for less than $400, then powder coating them is a legitimate option. When your provider is in high demand and is charging 10 times that amount, then the start-up costs could bankrupt the rest of your project. This issue applies to providers as well. Operators need a specific booth to apply the particles for the surface in the first place. Then there is the oven that needs to be of a specific size and operate at high temperatures to avoid limiting the size of the rims that are workable.

(Video) Advantages and Disadvantages of Powder Coating Rims (Audio Lesson)

4. You need to grind the rims to get a solid coating.
If you want the powder coating to hold well, then you need to grind your rims so that the surface is workable for the baking process. That means any paint needs to come off of the wheels before you can get started. If you already have a powder coat on there that needs a touch up, then this preparation work can become a real headache over time.

Because of this disadvantage, touch-ups are quite difficult to complete if you do catch some scratching. You need to take it back to your provider to finish the task (which might mean a complete redo), or you’re stuck painting the product to make the appearance aesthetically similar – which negates many of the advantages that you had in the first place. If you have a non-metal surface, then a fluidized bed coating application is necessary, so the coat is more difficult to achieve.

5. There is less control over the smoothness of the coating.
If you’re working with an experienced powder coating provider, then the results of the work are usually consistent. You do have less control over the final smoothness of the surface because the baking process works with the electrolysis to create a strong bind. There are times when the heat might be a little off or the powder doesn’t affix as it should, which means your rims will need to be restarted because the look might be inconsistent.

6. Thicker parts can be problematic with powder coating.
When you work with your average set of wheels and rims, then powder coating can give you a shorter drying time. Your curing and processing work speeds up as well. If you have heavier rims or larger parts that you plan to use with your vehicle, then your advantages may be somewhat negated. You experience this issue because the entire part must receive a sufficient amount of heat to experience the advantages of this product. The extra size requires a larger volume of heated air and exhaust, which means it needs more time to complete the work. That can negate many of the pricing advantages which are possible with this technology.

Verdict on the Pros and Cons of Powder Coating Wheels

Powder coating is a viable option for most wheels if you want to update your look or restore what you have. Although it may not be the best option in every scenario, the value of this work is typically worth the investment that you make.


The pros and cons of powder coating wheels may not apply to every driver, but these key points can help you to decide if a custom look is right for your vehicle. Talk to your provider about all of your options before proceeding to ensure that you get the results that you want.

About the Author
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.


Is powder coating bad for your rims? ›

Powder coating makes your wheels more durable than painting them, and it is resistant to flaking and chipping. The powder-coated surface strongly bonds with the metallic surface on your rims and it gives your rims a brand new look.

How much does it cost to powder coat 14 inch rims? ›

Professionals within a specialized facility typically carry out powder coating. Due to the complexity of this service, you expect to pay a reasonable amount for these services. The cost of powder-coating wheels ranges between $350-$700 to powder coat all four wheels.

How much does it cost to powder coat 4 rims? ›

On average, powder coating rims costs $550. Powder coating rims costs range from $400 to $700 according to. BONE HEAD PERFORMANCE has a nice page where they list pricing for powder coating different rim sizes including the following.

Is it better to powder coat or paint wheels? ›

Powder-coated wheels also provide better coverage than liquid paints. This means the more difficult to reach spots on the wheels will receive coverage where liquid paint can't reach. The electrostatic nature of the particles aid in a complete application.

Is it cheaper to paint or powder coat rims? ›

Meanwhile, painting provides more color options and is easy and cost-effective, but it sacrifices the durable shield offered by powder coating. However, painting wheels is far easier and less expensive than the complex process of applying a powder-coat finish.

Does powder coating chip easily? ›

Sometimes powder coating will chip or crack, and continue peeling just like an egg shell. Not only does chipped powder coating look bad, it can it allows the elements to wear away the precious parts you tried so hard to protect.

How many years does powder coating last? ›

Powder coating finishes can last up to 20 years, but due to the consistent use, exposure to UV light, and outdoor environment may break it down faster. Different coatings also have varying lifespans. For instance, coatings that have fluoropolymers and urethanes can last longer.

What's better than powder coating? ›

STEEL-IT® stainless steel based industrial coating – a top alternative to powder coating – is tougher, lasts longer, and offers superior protection against corrosion and abrasion.

Is it safe to powder coat aluminum wheels? ›

Is powder coating safe for alloy wheels? YES, we take great care to closely monitor curing temperatures and in special cases, Porsche Fuchs come to mind, where the wheels are made of an alloy that is rich in magnesium, we can use specially formulated powders that cure at lower temps to make sure your project is safe.

How many days does it take to powder coat wheels? ›

Accordingly, the total time required to apply a powder coating to a wheel is about 2 hours. Powder coating all 4 wheels for a client's car won't take more than a day, even when working on one wheel at a time.

Do powder-coated wheels rust? ›

Powder coating doesn't prevent rust, but it is more resistant to the elements and everyday wear and tear than paint because it's applied thicker, which also gives it a cleaner finished look.

Is powder coating cheaper than painting? ›

Cost. Powder coating is usually cheaper than wet paint in the long run, but the upfront costs tend to be higher. Wet paint technology has been around a lot longer (powder coating was developed in the 1950s), so the equipment and materials are more widely available.

Does powder coating fade? ›

Over the course of a couple of years, you can expect to see a significant amount of fading over windows and panels coated with powder coatings. Unfortunately, due to British weather, it is more likely to deteriorate at a faster rate, due to all the rain and sunshine.

Can you powder coat chrome rims? ›

First and foremost, it's important to realize that you can't powder coat over chrome. The powder coating won't stick to the chrome. In order to do the job properly, you must strip the chrome surface off of the parts and then apply the powder coating.

What is the best wheel finish? ›

Topping out our list of wheel finishes is powder coating, easily one of the most popular finishes on modern wheels. Powder coating is the process where a powder coat is electro-statically held to the grounded parts of the wheel.

What is the most durable wheel finish? ›

Powder Coated:

This process creates a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint. Powder Coated wheels are lacquered in the same way that painted wheels are and as a result can be cleaned and sealed in the same way.

Which lasts longer powder coating or painting? ›

Since powder finishes are stronger and more durable than paint coats, powder will generally guarantee superior, longer-lasting protection to the surfaces of metal-bodied products.

Is powder coating worth the money? ›

In many instances, powder coating is the superior finishing option for its durability, texture and ease of application. It can stay on for years and protect your parts from corrosion and rust. Powder coats look good in any home and offer a much safer application process than spray paint.

Do powder coated wheels need clear coat? ›

You don't necessarily need to add a clear top coat if you are powder coating a part or a surface. However, there are a variety of benefits of clear powder coating that can make it a worthwhile investment as part of your project.

Can you repaint powder coated wheels? ›

Normally, powder coating has a slick surface which does not allow paint to stick. Sanding it down carefully will enable you to paint on it effectively. Wipe down the area you will be painting with an appropriate solvent cleaner.

What is the failure of powder coating? ›

Failures in powder coating can also stem from how it is applied. If the powders are applied too thinly, the patchy surface will not have full protection and could lead to corrosion. If a layer is too thick, flexibility will be limited.

How can you tell if something has been powder coated? ›

Powder will likely have more texture than liquid and be more rounded at the edges than liquid paint. Measure the film thickness if you can. There are gauges made for that purpose. If you do not have a thickness gauge you may be able to take your part to a coating shop and have them do it for you.

How can you tell if powder coating is good quality? ›

Adhesion Tests
  1. Crosshatch. The crosshatch test is designed to test the adhesion of the powder coating to the metal substrate. ...
  2. Mandrel Bend. This test checks the elasticity and the adhesion of the powder coating to the substrate. ...
  3. Impact Test. ...
  4. Salt Spray Test. ...
  5. MEK Rub Test. ...
  6. Color Match. ...
  7. Gloss Measurement.

Is powder coating rust proof? ›

Corrosion resistance: The powder coating creates a barrier to protect against many different types of corrosion, including rust. Many natural metals like steel rust over time with exposure to moisture and oxygen. Powder-coating creates a protective barrier so the metal remains rust-free.

How do you maintain powder coating? ›

Powder coated items should be cleaned occasionally with mild detergent soap and water. Harsh chemicals and solvents are unnecessary and can damage the finish. Use a wet sponge or a soft, non-abrasive bristle brush to loosen stubborn dirt.

Does Weather Affect powder coating? ›

Humidity and Moisture

Moisture in any form can also impact a powder coating's permanence. Coatings must be applied in a dry area. In a humid area, the layer will trap moisture and cause a discolored finish. After the coating is added, it will last the longest in areas with 47% to 55% humidity.

Is there an alternative to powder coating? ›

Spray paint can be a viable powder coating alternative.

It is true if you need a quick and straightforward color coat. Atomized paint particles can help you achieve an even layer for your perfect finish. With patience and a few even coats, spray paint can give a smooth finish to your part.

Is powder coating matte or gloss? ›

Powder coating is an organic powder applied onto metal using an electrostatic process. Upon heating the coating, it creates a smooth, robust, chemical-resistant, and hard layer over the metal surface. The result is a subtly glossy finish.

Why are cars not powder coated? ›

Paint is most often used as the coloring method for car body panels, the hood, bumpers and other large parts. This is because it is easier to use paint on these than powder coatings. Once the component is prepped, it can then be sprayed and left to dry — job done.

Can you wash powder coated wheels? ›

Use a Mild Soap and Water

All powder coated products should be cleaned with either a soft cloth or a brush, using a solution of mild soap and warm water. The best type of soap to use for this purpose is one that has emulsifiers that can break down the most common types of stains.

Can you powder coat brake calipers? ›

Powder coating brake calipers is a great way to make your vehicle stand out. We always remove pistons, seals and rebuild brake calipers after powder coating.

Do you have to sandblast before powder coating? ›

Simply put, yes. As touched on above, without sandblasting any type of coating won't properly adhere to the surface of a material. The sandblasting not only removes dirt and grime but leaves behind minuscule scratches that make it easier for coatings to sink into and bond with.

Can I wash my rims after powder coating? ›

Abrasive cleaners like solvents and detergents can remove or damage the powder coating finish. Avoid using such products to clean your wheels. A gentle cleaner like mild soap and water can remove dirt and grime buildup without hurting the finish.

Are wheels powder coated from factory? ›

Wheel manufacturers powder coat their wheels at the factory (Vossen, HRE, Forgeline, etc) so please don't believe the commenters who say otherwise.

Can powder coated wheels be touched up? ›

Steps for Touching Up Powder Coating

Prepare the surface by cleaning away the loose and flaking coatings with a putty knife or wire brush. Sanding the area will also help remove some of the more stubborn chipping, but stick with fine-grit options to prevent additional scratches.

Do powder coated wheels rust? ›

Powder coating doesn't prevent rust, but it is more resistant to the elements and everyday wear and tear than paint because it's applied thicker, which also gives it a cleaner finished look.

Does powder coating make wheels weaker? ›

Yes. The amount of basic heat required to powder coat a wheel is enough to pre-maturely "age" and weaken the metal alloy to the point that it is more brittle. This is exactly why wheel makers like Enkei say that powder coating voids their warranty.

Can you remove powder coat on wheels? ›

Thermal stripping is quite popular because it's one of the quickest ways to remove powder coating. It doesn't come with the same environmental concerns of chemical stripping.

Do you have to take wheels off to powder coat? ›

The wheel powder coating process:

In order to powder coat your wheels, they must be taken off of the vehicle.It is possible for us to remove the wheels from your car or you can even leave your car with us! This allows a smooth, even finish to coat the entire wheel surface.

What is the typical cost to powder coat wheels? ›

Inexpensive: While pricing varies depending upon the installer, wheel complexity, size, and materials used, the average powder coating job for a set of aluminum alloy wheels runs about $400-$500 a set.

How long does it take to powder coat rims? ›

Accordingly, the total time required to apply a powder coating to a wheel is about 2 hours. Powder coating all 4 wheels for a client's car won't take more than a day, even when working on one wheel at a time.

Do powder coated wheels scratch easy? ›

Powder coating, properly applied, will give surfaces a strong, uniform protective coating. It is a combination of paint pigments and resins, which harden when cured under heat. However, even with its considerable durability, powder coating may still get damaged over time, and this damage can include scratches.

Does powder coating scratch easily? ›

The simple answer to this question is that powder coated surfaces are, in fact, more resistant to scratching and chipping.

Can you pressure wash powder-coated wheels? ›

One of the most effective methods of cleaning powder-coated metal is via pressure washing. Its power is useful when removing dirt and debris, but it's important that you keep it on a low pressure setting. If it's too high, it can damage the coating. Additionally, always use filtered water with this method.

How do you take care of powder-coated rims? ›

Use a Mild Soap and Water

All powder coated products should be cleaned with either a soft cloth or a brush, using a solution of mild soap and warm water. The best type of soap to use for this purpose is one that has emulsifiers that can break down the most common types of stains.


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