Contrary to popular belief, painted alloy wheels aren’t just for show. When left unprotected, oxygen can wreak havoc with your rims, resulting in rust and corrosion. While the colours certainly do give your car some personality, their primary purpose is to provide a functional barrier between oxygen and your alloy wheels. As such, if you find that your rims’ paint job is flaking, it’s a good idea to have them repainted right away—even if you haven’t noticed any rust yet. 

Whether you’re looking for a wheel colour change or a refurbishment, you may have been asked to make a choice between powder coat or wet paint. In case you’re curious about the advantages and disadvantages of either method, here is a comparison of using wet paint and powder coating for your alloy wheel refurbishment job.

Skill is required for both powder coating and wet paint

Powder coating and wet paint both require pre-treatment. The surface of your alloy rims will first need to be chemical stripped and sand blasted to take them back to the bare metal. Kerbs and scuffs will be addressed using hand tools. Both applications also need a primer for a base coat.

The powder coating process starts with dry powder being loaded to an electrostatic gun, which gives it a negative charge. Metal conducts electricity. As the gun shoots, the negatively charged powder clings to the surface of your alloy wheels, which acts as the ground for the powder. The attraction between the metal ground and the negatively charged paint is enough for the dry powder to coat the surface adequately. The process ends with curing, where the coated rims are placed in an oven. The curing bonds the powder particles together through heat, which results in a smooth finish. 

Meanwhile, wet paint is applied using a fine spray. Due to the spray action, paint is also negatively charged, but in a markedly less level than that of powder coating. Due to its liquid properties, it is important to avoid sags and drips. Both methods will require a clear topcoat for durability. 

Matt and Gloss finishes can be achieved with powder coating and wet paint  

Whether you love the look of matt or gloss finishes both can be achieved using powder coat and wet paint. Depending on the kind of lacquer coat used you can achieve both finishes. There are some really interesting lacquers available for powder coating including one called disco lights that contains multiple colour metallic flakes, so the lacquer can give you an enhanced look.

Wet paint is superior at colour matching

Powder coating has the added benefit of being more durable and offers a vast range of colours. However, if you’re looking to match OEM paint then wet paint could be the way to go. This is especially true for colours that require a combination of two existing pigments. While combining blue and red wet paint will allow you to achieve a purple finish, combining the same colours of powders will not. This is due to the lack of solvent in powder paint, which is the agent responsible for mixing in wet paint. 


Depending on your preference and expectations on your alloy wheel paint, both wet and powder applications will serve you well. That being said, if you’re looking for durability, go with powder coating. If you’re looking for flexibility in choosing OEM colours wet paint is a good option.  

Are you looking to get your alloy wheels refurbished or repaired? Wicked Rims provides the best services in alloy wheel refurbishment in Stevenage. Our services include alloy wheel refurbishment, alloy wheel repair, straightening, aluminium welding, diamond cuts, and more. Contact us today to know more.