Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

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ralphgonz
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Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ralphgonz » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:51 am

I have a 2009 Vibe with what I thought were chrome or polished aluminum wheel covers. On closer inspection they appear to be plastic (?), with decorative (fake) nuts around the perimeter. I would like to remove them for painting but am confused about how to get them off without breaking.

They are NOT held on by the lug nuts and they appear to wrap the actual hub metalwork. Can I just pry them off around the edges with a screwdriver? Are they glued in place!?

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ehoff121
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Location: Conn.

Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ehoff121 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:09 am

One of our 2nd Gen members could confirm, but I'm pretty sure the only plastic on that wheel is the center cap. The rest of the wheel is aluminium alloy.

The mark at 9 o' clock in the second picture is the Japan Light Wheel Alloy certification.
2005 Pontiac Vibe AWD - Platinum

ralphgonz
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:58 am

Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ralphgonz » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:33 am

Very curious! Are you sure the JWL mark doesn't refer to the underlying wheel, and that it is still clad in chrome-plastic? Based on some chips around the edge and the sound it makes when you hit it with a screwdriver it really seems like one of these plastic-clad designs: https://etools.org/Cladwheels. Also see this topic: viewtopic.php?t=28448

ehoff121
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Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ehoff121 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:20 pm

Learn something every day! I didn't know there were chromed plastic cladded wheels. That mark probably does refer to the aluminum part.

I wouldn't try to separate the cladding. How would you get it back on? :?

I've been refinishing my 1st gen 16" alloy wheels with the tire still on using the Rustoleum High Performance Wheel paint products. I think they make a chrome spray if you want to try it: http://www.rustoleum.com/en/product-catalog/consumer-brands/auto/specialty-paints/metallic
2005 Pontiac Vibe AWD - Platinum

ralphgonz
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:58 am

Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ralphgonz » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:50 pm

I think that's exactly what I'm going to do: remove the wheels from the car, mask off the tires, remove the center cap, and spray paint them. I'm actually looking to get away from the chrome look and go to black. My first time doing this so hope this is the right process...

  • rough them up with 0 or 00 steel wool
  • apply a spray adhesive promoter (Dupli-Color Adhesion Promoter)
  • spray paint (Dupli-Color gun metal wheel coating -- EDIT I ended up using silver color)
  • matte topcoat (Dupli-Color wheel top coat)
Last edited by ralphgonz on Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:14 am, edited 3 times in total.

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tpollauf
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Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby tpollauf » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:16 pm

ehoff121 wrote: I didn't know there were chromed plastic cladded wheels.


Same here. I thought they were 100% aluminum but just polished! Also these were suppose to be rims available on the 2009-10 AWD models only!
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SeattleJeremy
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Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby SeattleJeremy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:45 pm

Good old GM Chrome Tech :ugeek:
06 Vibe Base - Mono Platinum - Manual

ehoff121
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Location: Conn.

Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ehoff121 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:26 am

ralphgonz wrote:I think that's exactly what I'm going to do: remove the wheels from the car, mask off the tires, remove the center cap, and spray paint them. I'm actually looking to get away from the chrome look and go to black. My first time doing this so hope this is the right process...

  • rough them up with 0 or 00 steel wool
  • apply a spray adhesive promoter (Dupli-Color Adhesion Promoter)
  • spray paint (Dupli-Color gun metal wheel coating)
  • matte topcoat (Dupli-Color gun metal wheel top coat)


Does the adhesive promoter's directions say you should rough up the surface first? I'd be worried about all those scratches showing unless it is a filler, too...

Maybe a sandable primer? That should take care of steel wool swirls.
2005 Pontiac Vibe AWD - Platinum

ralphgonz
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Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:58 am

Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ralphgonz » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:03 am

To set the record straight, there are essentially 3 layers as shown here where the previous owner hit a curb: The alloy hub itself, the plastic wheel cover which appears to be glued to the hub, and a thin layer of aluminum/chrome foil wrapping the wheel cover:

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So what you're looking at is real aluminum (foil) on the surface, and I found it polishes up real nice with fine steel wool. I'll post photos of the results from painting it later this weekend.

ralphgonz
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Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ralphgonz » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:17 am

I got cold feet about painting the wheels a dark or black color, because I still like the lighter metal color and because I was concerned that scratches and wear would be more visible. So I went with silver color.

Here is the wheel prepped for painting. Someone at work suggested this trick using playing cards to mask off the tire:

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I applied 3 coats of Dupli-color adhesion promoter, 3 coats of Duplicolor silver wheel coating, and a couple coats of Duplicolor matte wheel clear coat (I'm not sure how important the clear coat is, and left it off the wheels on one side of the car because I was in a hurry.) Here is before and after.

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ralphgonz
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Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ralphgonz » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:21 am

Here are before and after photos showing three changes: (1) painting the wheels silver, (2) painting the front grille trim black, (3) painting the roof rack plastic boots black.

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Some people might prefer the "before", but I'm happy with the results!

ehoff121
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Location: Conn.

Re: Plastic wheel covers, how to remove and paint?

Postby ehoff121 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:25 am

Maybe it's because I'm re-painting my wheels, but I like the new look!

Nice job!!
2005 Pontiac Vibe AWD - Platinum


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