Most drivers take pride in the appearance of their vehicle. From the vivid appearance of a vehicle’s paint to the well-detailed interior trim, it’s often the small details that make a car or truck look refined.
However, when it comes to true aesthetic appeal, few improve a vehicle’s appearance as much as a quality set of wheels. While custom wheels of many different configurations are available for most vehicles, powder coated wheels have grown in popularity much more than most over the last decade.
Wheels with this particular finish are undeniably sporty and look great in a variety of applications. From sports cars to jeeps and 3/4 ton trucks, powder-coated wheels have made their way into almost every market.
Due to this growing popularity, many people are considering having their own wheels powder coated, in an effort to improve the appearance of the vehicle. While this is certainly an option, most have questions about how to approach such a proposal.
The following guide will help answer these questions and be a resource for those currently considering the idea of powder coating their vehicle’s wheels.
See also: Average cost to paint a bumper
What is a powder coating?
Powder coating is a term used to describe the process of finishing a particular surface into a dry coating, often electrostatically applied and heat cured. The dry powder substance used in the powder coating process is a polymer base, which is impregnated with a mixture of curing agents, flow modifiers, leveling agents, and pigments.
Once cured, powder coating is generally considered more durable than paint and is naturally resistant to chipping and chipping. This is because the powder coating will adhere to any metal surface it is applied to.
Advances in powder coating technology have created many opportunities for those looking to customize their wheels. This coating can now be applied to almost any color imaginable, as many new pigments are formulated for use each year.
Is powder-coating wheels better than painting them?
In the vast majority of cases, powder coating is considered a better alternative to painting vehicle wheels. It is usually a question of durability.
Since powder coating finishes are applied electrostatically, a durable bond is created between the cured coatings and any underlying metal material underneath. This is in stark contrast to paint, which acts only as a surface treatment.
As a result, powder-coated finishes rarely chip and last longer than painted finishes. That’s important, because of the intensity of life on the road.
Powder coatings tend to work uniformly, in a traditional way. Inconsistencies, such as soft spots or apparent imperfections, are rarely problematic. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most painted finishes.
How long does powder coating last?
On average, expertly applied powder coat finishes can last 15 to 20 years. However, this number is also subject to variation due to factors such as excessive UV exposure, heavy wear, and exposure to corrosive agents.
This lifespan is almost double that of painted finishes, which have an expected lifespan of 5 to 10 years, under ideal conditions. However, powder-coated finishes and paint-based finishes have many of the same dangers.
Over time, powder-coated wheels will undoubtedly become scratched and faded, as a result of typical road wear. Although this type of wear is expected on any edge, regardless of its surface treatment.
See also: 6 Types of Car Scratches (Can a DIY Repair Be Done?)
Can any type of wheel be powder-coated?
Powder coating can be applied to almost any metal surface, including most automobile wheels. Steel and stainless steel wheels can be powder coated, as can aluminum wheels, although treating the final surfaces creates its own specific challenges.
Care should be taken before owning a set of powder-coated aluminum wheels. The temperatures required to cure powder-coated surfaces often exceed those used when heat-treating aluminum wheels.
Therefore, in extreme cases, the structural integrity of an aluminum wheel could be compromised during the powder coating process.
For this reason, many manufacturers void the warranty on all aluminum wheels sent for powder coating. While this shouldn’t be a problem for those who have owned their vehicle for some time, owners of vehicles that are still within the original warranty period should think twice before giving it a try.
Along with wheel composition, the condition of any rim intended for powder coating must also be carefully considered. This is because damaged ridges are often difficult to coat evenly, which can lead to some visual defects.
Average Cost of Powder-Coated Wheels
For many consumers looking to have their wheels powder coated, the first question that comes to mind is the cost of such services. While reports of “at-home” powder coating abound, most of these cases involve the application of rubberized spray finishes, such as Plasti-Dip.
Related: How to Remove Plasti-Dip from Wheels
Although these types of finishes can be applied to vehicle wheels, often with satisfactory results, they are not considered powder coatings in the proper sense. In contrast, actual powder coating is usually done by professionals in a specialized facility.
Due to the complex nature of this work, you can expect to pay a reasonable amount for such services. The exact price of powder coating services often varies depending on the cost of supplies.
However, one can expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark. $350 to $700 to powder coat a set of four wheels.
The lower end of this price range sees the treatment of smaller, sedan-sized wheels with a single tire liner. On the other end of the spectrum, the higher end of this price range covers larger wheels that need additional coats of polish or clear, beyond a standard tire.
Also Read: Average Drying and Curing Times for Clear Coats