First up, maybe you didn’t even know that your rims could get repaired? We’d also bet you don’t know quite how dangerous a bent tire rim can be. I often take advantage of our vehicles, not really paying too much attention to how they work until they become a problem. However, ignoring bent wheel rims can be highly dangerous and also cause more damage to your vehicle over time. If you are worried that you have a damaged rim, read on to determine what steps you need to take for rim repair.
Not All Rims Are Equal
Not all rims are made to be fixed. Some minor damage to rims can be easily repaired. However, anything that is considered structural damage may be a different story. It depends on what type of material your rims are made from and how damaged they are. Some rim materials are more easily repaired than others, but minor damage is fixable on nearly any rim type.
Diagnosing Bent Rims
The symptoms of bent rims can mimic other tire problems, so these are only examples. You should always seek professional advice for something as crucial as your vehicle. If you’re not sure that bent rims are what you are dealing with, please make sure you seek a tire and wheel expert.
Visual bends in the rim are relatively easy to see. It will clearly look as if there has been damage to the outer metal edge of the rim where it meets the tires. There are several ways that this part of the rim can get damaged.
One of the most common ways this happens is by getting too close to the curb when parking or pulling through your morning coffee drive-through. It’s unfortunate but reasonably common.
Depending on the severity of the bend and the angle, it can cause all sorts of problems. From damaging the wall of the tire and making it eventually begin to leak.
If you go over something rough or hit a pothole and your car starts driving strangely directly after, it could be a bent rim that’s causing the problem. Unfortunately, those damages are almost always interiors rim damage and not something you can see from a basic visual inspection. Other causes that could create this problem include things like a flat tire, which you’ll notice much more quickly. If you hit at the wrong angle or hard enough, you may have even knocked your vehicle out of alignment.
Your car may give you other signs that you’ve bent a rim that are far more subtle. For instance, you might start to feel a minor vibration or bumpiness in the driving. You may also feel like you don’t have complete tire control. These problems can also have multiple issues, so we recommend seeking a tire and wheel expert to see if the rim is eligible for repair.
How dangerous is a Bent Rim? Do I Really Need Rim Repair?
So, it’s surprising how much damage something as small as a bent rim can actually cause. When you are driving, if your car is vibrating, you can be causing damage to the tires, the axles, and even possibly the drive shaft. When your car vibrates, it can do damage to almost every part.
If ignored, these damages can lead to accidents, so bent rims are more dangerous than most people assume.
You also want to ensure no damage has happened to the tire itself. Bent rims can often create gouges or even a tear in the sidewall of a tire. Tires are very susceptible to wear, especially in the sidewall, and therefore even a small gouge or tear can make for severe damage.
Another way wheels can create tire problems is if you bend them in a way that damages the bead seal. The bead seal keeps your tire inflated while on the wheel, and if this becomes damaged, it can cause slow leaks, or in a worse scenario, it can make the tire pop off the wheel altogether.
You do not want to ignore either of these issues as they can at any moment cause the tire to go flat or, in worse case scenarios, rip apart while driving. If you have ever seen an accident caused by a tire blowout, you’ll know precisely why we caution you not to hesitate to get professional assistance and repair those rims.
Bent Rims Might Be Cheaper to Replace
Depending on the style material and how badly damaged the rim is, it may be cheaper to replace them rather than seek out rim repair. This isn’t always the case, and you should always talk to a rim and tire specialist to ensure that you are making the right choice.
Significant damage like cracks or buckling is often cheaper and safer to replace the wheel than repair it. At this stage, the rims are just far too gone to undergo rim repair safely.
Minor Damage is Repairable
These are reasonably easy rim repairs for more minor bends that aren’t impacting the wheel’s functionality or are just cosmetic. The process is relatively straightforward. Your wheel is heated and then manipulated with machines and by hand to get it back to its former proper shape.
After it’s back in the right shape, the professionals will tackle the cosmetics. So for those of you who love your rims and the overall look they give your car, this may be particularly interesting.
Rims with scuffing or scratches can often be repaired to look nearly new. These cosmetic flaws can be fixed easily by buffing and new coatings or paint. You’ll have your shiny new-looking rims in no time if all you have is minor or cosmetic damage.
This is still best handled by a professional tire and wheel service. Because, as we pointed out before, some damage can’t be seen until the tire is off of the wheel, and no matter how shiny it looks, if you have internal wheel damage, you’re driving a time bomb.
Is Insurance Going To Cover This Damage?
Unfortunately, not very many insurances are willing to cover this kind of damage. Wheels aren’t considered part of the comprehensive insurance policy, and you’re looking at paying for the rim repairs out of pocket. Fortunately, these services aren’t terribly expensive, and the risk of damage they prevent is worth every penny you spend on getting that rim repair handled.