20 year old vehicle, my windshield wiper arms are all faded and paint is starting to wear off. We live in a pretty wet climate (Pacific Northwest).

Considering that when painting, the prep is 90% of the work, I would really prefer to use a high quality paint that will actually last so I don't have to redo it in 1-2 years! Trying to figure out what that might be... So many cheap-ass paints on the market, I've been scarred too many times.

Disclaimer: I don't have an air spray gun, so looking for a spray can. I've heard that you can get 2K style paint in a spray can these days (pop mix switch, shake, and spray). These are really high quality, but can't seem to get those in Canada :(

Any advice on paint type (as far as spray can varieties go)? I'm assuming oil-based enamels are best? I've heard that Acrylic Lacquers are weak and should be avoided?

Process wise: I'm assuming my best bet is to wire wheel any loose paint/rust, then wash a good paint prep wash that will remove all oil/grime/wax, then prep any bare surfaces with zinc (phosphating, sacrificial zinc coating to prevent rust from forming under paint), THEN prime, then paint. Would an oil based enamel be my best bet? I need a flat black color.

  • 1
    have you considered having them powder coated?
    – jwh20
    Apr 20, 2020 at 10:33
  • Asking for specific brands is off topic as it's shopping assistance, the reason is that there's different products across the world and they change, and it looks like people are voting to close because of that. However, you have plenty there which is on-topic, like method and type of paint to use, if you edit to focus on that it should get answers.
    – GdD
    Apr 20, 2020 at 13:42
  • For the amount of effort and cost of 2-part paint you could probably just buy two new wiper arms
    – user9181
    Apr 20, 2020 at 14:23
  • Edited question to avoid brand references or shopping advice, fair enough. Re-framed question more towards paint type. And yes, for this particular instance I could probably just get two new arms - but I'm also trying to learn in general how to paint smaller automotive (non body) parts - the wipers is more of an example you could say.
    – wild.coast
    Apr 20, 2020 at 17:02

2 Answers 2


I personally wouldn't bother with this if parts are available and inexpensive because it's a lot of work for little benefit, however I respect your motivation to reuse and learn at the same time.

The first step is to make sure they are clean, your plan seems sound on that. Make absolutely sure all loose paint is off, I'd be tempted to strip them completely - if they are already peeling the tendency is for it to continue, new paint on loose old paint isn't a good long-term solution. If you do decide to paint over the remaining paint give the old paint a key using some fine sandpaper to make sure the new paint sticks.

I would be careful about priming as what you use depends on what you are going to paint over it. The recommendation I've seen is to use black engine enamel as it is very tough and resistant to damage and fading. Use the primer recommended for that particular paint.


I would get some cold-galvanizing paint as a base and then whichever satin black is in stock at my local hardware store.

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