A bent rim compromises the smooth operation of your vehicle both in performance and safety. The question that arises is whether it is possible to repair a slightly bent rim or replacement is the only viable option. Let’s uncover the truth behind the possibility of fixing it!
In this article:
Can A Bent Rim Be Fixed?
In some cases of minor damage, your bent rim is repairable with specialized tools. However, the actual situation depends on the severity of the bend. When the part is extremely deformed, a replacement is the only thing you can do.
To decide what needs to be done to your wheels, consult a professional or experienced maintenance specialist. Do not make any hasty decisions to make sure you do not waste your money. Most importantly, never drive on a bent rim since doing so puts you in danger.
This issue leads to further damages, such as uneven tire wear, vibration, unstable steering responsiveness, reduced handling and braking capabilities, etc. Without a doubt, it costs you extra to handle these issues. Hence, it would help to repair a bent wheel as soon as possible.
Signs Of A Bent Rim
Drivers familiar with their vehicle can feel signs of cracked rim through unusual vibrations. These feelings often come before you notice any visible damage.
Shakes are transmitted to the steering column or the entire front of your car when the wheel is deformed, hindering your control. The more serious the damage, the more obvious the vibrations. The situation worsened when the wobble gradually spread to the seats and the back.
Poor Brake & Handling Capabilities
If your vehicle pulls or drifts to one side while driving, it may be due to a bent rim. The misalignment caused by the bent rim affects the vehicle’s maneuverability and causes it to veer off course.
The brake system can also suffer from serious consequences. The uneven contact between the tire and the road leads to uneven tire wear. As a result, this part loses optimal traction and increases stopping distances. Try braking suddenly to check for the wheel condition. Once the tire cannot perform this task properly, it is time for a repair.
The rim bend can sometimes pave the way for air leakage from the tire. The change in shape exposes the seal between the tire bead and rim, resulting in a slow leak. If you frequently have to refill the tire or notice a sudden pressure loss, it is worth checking the rim for any visible damage.
Visible Wheel Damage
Carefully inspect the wheel with your naked eyes for any visible signs of damage. Look for bends, dents, cracks, or any irregularities in the rim’s shape. Some models without hubcaps will be easier to check. As a result, car owners can immediately find that their rims are excessively bent or even falling off.
There are cases when the damage may be subtle and harder to detect. Then, you need to perform some disassembly to access the wheel and check the inside. A closer examination reveals the issue.
Repair Or Replacement: Which Is Right For Your Rim?
When Should You Choose Wheel Bent Repair?
Of course, the first benefit of bent rim repair is that they are more economical than replacement. Though we recommend getting advice from an experienced technician, you can make your assessment based on a few factors.
You can proceed with repairing if your vehicle suffers from a minor bend. For instance, you only find a shallow dent on the outermost. It also indicates a good sign when the damage is far from the wheel center. This ensures the effectiveness of the repair as long as the performance and stability are not compromised.
Besides, wheel material plays an important role in choosing the right solution. Despite its considerable weight, steel components are flexible to perform smashing operations without cracking or breaking its construction.
Last but not least, the rim’s condition is also at play. If you have a new and good part, fixing it is worth trying to avoid adjustment to the vehicle’s original structure.
When Should You Invest In A New Rim?
You can do nothing if the rim damage is extensive or severe. Destruction near the center of the wheel also ends up with the same result where repairs cannot continue to maintain performance and safety.
Additionally, alloy or aluminum wheels are impossible to fix even for experienced mechanics. Cheap materials cannot withstand the pressure and crack or deform. Note that some models with high build quality are easier to repair but require more complex techniques and specialized tools only available at trusted repair shops.
How To Fix A Bent Rim
If you are looking for a temporary fix or want to attempt a DIY solution, here are some steps you can follow:
Inspect your component
Thoroughly examine the bent rim to assess its material and the extent of the damage. Look for cracks, dents, or signs of severe damage to ensure it is safe to proceed with the following steps.
Remove the wheel
Park your car at a safe location and jack up your vehicle following your vehicle’s manual. Unscrew the lug nuts on the affected tire and pull it out from your car.
Deflate the tire
Remove the valve stem cap and insert a tool with a sharp tip (e.g., screwdriver) into the metal pin to release all the air pressure from your tire. Do not work with a fully inflated tire, which may hinder your operation.
Separate the rim
Use a pry bar to separate the rim from the tire. Apply pressure at one point while using your other hand to press down on the rubber compound. Apply this technique around the rim until it falls off.
Heat the bent
Turn on the welding torch to heat the bent area for approximately 2 minutes. Maintain the influence of the tool in a certain region so as not to harm the intact ones.
Place a block of wood or a similar sturdy object on the inside of the rim opposite the bent area. Gently hit the bent section by using a rubber mallet or a hammer with a soft face to reshape it. Work around the damaged area with medium force until the rim straightens.
Replace the rim
Wait for the rim to cool down, then stack the tire on top of it. Press around the top of the tire and insert the pry bar to fit the rim into the lip. Then reinflate the tire to the recommended PSI.
Reattach the tire to your vehicle
Check for leaks around the valve stem and ensure the tire properly holds air. If everything is fine, put the wheel back on the car. Place the nuts in their original positions and tighten them before and after you lower the jack.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Bent Rim?
In general, repairing a bent rim costs anywhere from $75 to $300 per wheel. The cost of fixing may vary depending on several factors, including the extent and location of the damage, the type of rim, etc.
However, if the rim is cracked or beyond repair, it may need to be replaced entirely, which is significantly more expensive. New parts are priced between $200 and $500 per wheel, so a full set could cost between $800 – $2,000.
Essential Measures To Protect Your Rims
Maintain Good Driving Habits
- Avoid potholes, curbs, or other obstacles that threaten your rims.
- Maintain a moderate speed, especially on rough road surfaces.
- Do not overload, which puts extra pressure on the tires and rims.
Regular Inspection And Maintenance
- Always keep tires at the optimal pressure range specified by the manufacturer.
- Check your wheels regularly to detect signs of damage promptly.
- Pay attention to unusual symptoms in your vehicle to judge the causes of danger.
- Invest in high-quality tires and rim protectors to minimize impacts to the rim.
How Long Can I Drive On A Slightly Bent Rim?
Travel the shortest distance possible if you have a damaged rim. Pulling to a safe stop and calling a mechanic or road assistance service is best.
What Causes A Bent Rim?
A bent rim is possibly a negative result of hitting a pothole, curbing a wheel, or experiencing a collision.
What Happens If You Don’t Fix A Bent Rim?
Without timely treatment, a bent rim can be the recipe for a flat tire and hide a risk of a blowout. But before that, you may experience a degraded brake system.
Dealing with a bent rim is a common concern for vehicle owners. While bent wheel repair makes sense with some minor defects, some damaged rims may require replacement. Safety should always be the top priority once you intend to pay for repair. It is crucial to consult with professionals to ensure the whole process does not sacrifice the performance and safety of your vehicle.