Plasti-dip is a rubberized coating that can be applied to certain parts of vehicles for an enhanced look. I’ve used plasti-dip on several vehicles through the years to add black accents. In my opinion it holds up better than paint—especially when it comes to wheels. In this tutorial I’ll walk you through 3 super quick steps to plasti-dip your 4runner wheels (or any wheels), for a badass appearance.
Total time to plasti-dip wheels: 2—3 hours
What you’ll need
- Your sweet-ass 4runner
- 1—2 cans of spray Plasti-dip ($6 each)
- 1 Can-Gun tool ($6.99 – optional)
- 4 decks of playing cards ($1 each at your local dollar store)
- 1 small roll of painters tape ($1 at your local dollar store)
Total cost of materials: ~$20
Hopefully you already have a clean rag and soap to wash your 4runner, but if you don’t you’ll need those as well.
Step 1: Wash your wheels damn good
Before you apply any plasti-dip to your 4Runner wheels, you’ll need to make them sparkle. Apply your favorite car wash detergent, or even regular dish detergent will work fine get in all the nooks of your wheels. Plasti-dip needs to be able to adhere to the metal of the wheels. If dirt is in between the plasti-dip and metal, it’ll weaken the bond.
After you vigorously scrub your wheels, I want you to do one more thing…
Wash them again. Seriously, scrubbing the wheels properly is tedious, but if you do it right, the plasti-dip will hold up for years (provided it’s not destroyed on trails!)
Important: After washing your 4runner wheels, you must let them completely dry. There shouldn’t even be one drop of water anywhere in sight. Make sure you allow the little nooks around the lug nuts and seams between the wheel and tire to dry completely.
Step 2: Line your rims with playing cards
This looks silly, but it’s a cheap and effective way to keep the plasti-dip contained within the area of your 4runner rims. If the rubber plasti-dip gets applied to your rubber tires, it’s not the end of the world, but it’ll peel after a short amount of time, making your wheels look weird.
I learned this technique from someone smarter than me on the internet, but forgot who!
You’ll need to do this for each wheel. It takes a little less than a full deck per wheel. Make sure you overlap the cards a bit to prevent them from falling out or allowing plasti-dip to spray through to the tire. I also recommend doing this in a garage or a day with no wind otherwise you’re going to have a bad time.
Cover lug nuts with painters tape (optional)
This is an optional step, but keep in mind if you or a auto shop do any maintenance on your wheels that require wheel removal, the plasti-dip will get stripped from the lug nuts. So you’re better off just omitting it from them to begin with. I think the silver lug nuts on all black wheels on the 4runner looks better anyway!
Step 3: Spray your wheels with plastidip
Important: It’s best to apply plasti-dip when the temp is above 65 and below 85F. I made the mistake of plasti-dipping my front grille during a heat wave when it was 95F+. It created really uneven patches and the texture is fuzzy.
Not required, but I highly recommend grabbing the can gun tool that can be slid onto any aerosol can (spray paint, plasti-dip, etc). It makes even coats of spray painting and plasti-dipping a breeze.
Once your wheels are clean, dry, and lined with playing cards, begin to spray your wheels with plasti-dip. It’s that simple.
- Spray coats on the wheels evenly at a distance of about 4—6 inches
- The amount of coats is up to you, but I recommend 5 or 6 light coats for even coverage of the plasti-dip
- Allow each coat of plasti-dip to dry for 20—30 minutes before doing another
Once you’re happy with the coverage on your wheels, I recommend letting your wheels dry overnight to ensure the plasti-dip is cured completely. Don’t drive your 4runner until it’s cured!
Step 4: There is no step 4
Enjoy your new plasti-dipped wheels my friend. I like to employ a little extra sheen with some armor-all or similar tire foam.
One year later…
I wrote this post almost year after my application. I’m in New England and ride through moderate trails, snow, slush, salt, and ponds / rivers / creeks. The plasti-dip has held up very well. There’s been a little peeling around the lug nuts due to routine vehicle maintenance, but nothing noticeable unless you stare at the wheels. The moment you spray tire foam on it, it looks good as new!
What if parts of your plasti-dip peel or gets removed from use?
If your plasti-dip comes off for whatever reason, don’t fret. You can just spot-spray plasti-dip to fill in missing patches or holes. Apply the same light coat logic I mention above. It blends very naturally and you shouldn’t need to do anything more!
Questions or thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!