When painting a truck, bus, or trailer, repairers shouldn’t forget to paint the wheels. If the vehicle needs paint, chances are the wheels do too. While wheel preparation for the painting process is similar to the preparations for the cab, body, and chassis, there is one unique, taxing issue in wheel preparation: wheel masking.
Traditional wheel masking is very time consuming, as one has to manually tape around each tire, hub, and lug nut. In the past, there were no “wheel masking templates” on the market, so repairers would have to spend time trying to fabricate them. Usually this has been done by cutting cardboard, which is flat and never fits, or by using excessive amounts of tape and paper.
A wheel masking system of pre-formed, reusable plastic maskers that cuts time and labor, and provides a professional finish with minimal clean-up now exists. This solution is known as “Tire Mask”. These wheel masking templates are available in many popular fleet wheel sizes (17.5″, 19.5″, 22.5″, 24.5″) and contour to each tire, wheel + rim component. In addition, Tire Mask users can trim or use extra tape for a custom fit. Each masker is reusable up to 20 times, and “Hubb Capps” last forever. The use of Tire Masks can reduce masking and clean-up by approximately 90%. Freshly painted wheels can drastically improve fleet appearances, while increasing resale value and decreasing DOT fines associated with neglect.
Useful Tips for the Road Ahead
When painting wheels remember, “The better the prep, the better the finish”.
Remove rust and be sure your lugs are properly torqued before painting, as this helps to avoid fresh paint in between the mating surfaces.
Follow FMCSA (DOT) Statute § 393.205 regarding wheels
Follow OSHA guidelines for painting, and the 3.5 mil paint thickness as recommended by the TMC.
As always, safety first.