You know how jarring it can be if you’ve ever hit a curb or a pothole while driving. This can be a hint of a bent rim, which can entail a range of problems for your vehicle. The big question that many drivers have is: can you fix a bent rim?
Let’s discover more about this issue and the repair options available. We will also discuss what you can do to prevent this problem in the future.
In this article:
Can A Bent Rim Be Fixed?
It depends on the severity and location of the damage. In some cases, minor bends can be straightened out using specialized tools, while more significant damage may require the rim to be replaced entirely.
Thus, it is always advisable to have a professional mechanic inspect the rim to determine the extent of the damage and the best course of action. Attempting to fix a bent rim on your own or continuing to drive with a damaged rim can lead to further problems and safety concerns on the road.
Below are my own tips to decide whether your wheel is repairable or must be replaced.
When To Fix And When To Place The Rim?
Depending on the crack’s placement, cracked wheels can be mended safely. The majority of damages on wheel edges are repairable. However, any crack in the spokes or at the point where the spoke, and barrel meet renders that wheel irreparable.
In most circumstances, it won’t matter if there is a minor ding. You’d be better off replacing it when there was a significant dent because a blowout while moving is risky. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Steel wheels are not too difficult to reshape. It is easier to perform it on a professional wheel balancing machine, so you can fix it this way. But alloy wheels are a different story. The aluminum/magnesium alloy splits fairly easily, though not necessarily noticeably, so you must be much more careful. I recommend changing it or leaving it for a qualified mechanic.
Still, many reputable locations offer to fix your wheels for a modest fee, which may or may not be completely successful. They, as well as you, are unable to perceive all of the metal’s deterioration, which is a concern. So if it’s an aluminum/magnesium alloy rim, it’s preferable to replace it.
Take your bent rim to a dependable tire dealer to determine whether it can be fixed. But it’s best to tow it there.
When I drove with underinflated tires over a curb, my aluminum tires were deformed on the edge. But it was quite close to the nearest auto store, so I decided to continue driving, which was one of my disastrous blunders.
The moment I arrived at the shop, the mechanic told me that my tires were beyond repair, and I had to pay more for replacement.
Bent Rim Signs
To help you identify the issue more precisely, here are 5 warning signals that your car’s rim is in jeopardy.
Shaking And Vibrating Issues
Vibration and shakiness that travel up the steering column are two of the most blatant indications of a bent rim. Your tire will come into touch with the road unevenly if a rim is deformed or damaged. As a result, when you’re driving, you experience excessive shaking.
Shaking in the car’s front, like the steering column, is a clue that your front rim is bent. Meanwhile, vibration in your seat or further behind your automobile may signify that your rim has been bent or further damaged.
Poor Brake & Handling Performance
Abruptly stopping is one method you can use to test your brake pads’ condition. While a damaged rim can be risky when stopping, a faulty brake pad might not immediately affect the associated issues. When you apply the brake to bring the car to a halt, you’ll feel it pull to one side.
Besides the braking, the handling performance of your car might be greatly affected, and a bent rim can result in problems with tire pressure and different concerns. You have a damaged edge when your automobile feels “slushy” or difficult to steer. Make a quick inspection or bring it to an auto service facility to have it inspected.
Wheel damage is typically easy to see, but if your wheels are covered in massive plastic or metal hubcaps, it could be harder for you to see the damage. It should be simple to take off your hubcaps and inspect your wheel and tire to check for damage.
Once your hubcap has been removed, inspect your wheel thoroughly around each and every tire to check for any signs of wear or deformation. If so, it must be straightened and fixed. In the worst-case scenario, when there is significant damage, replacement is the best solution.
The rims and tire casing, two components made to fit together harmoniously, make up the perfect structural combination of a wheel. One’s impact will also have an effect on the other. Plus, a flush fit between your wheel and tire is intended. Air leaks or even a flat tire might result from a twisted wheel pushing away from the tire.
Some damage might result in a gradual leak when your tire leaks slowly and you must fill it up frequently. It would help if you had this tire changed because continuing to drive on it could put you at risk of having a major blowout.
Feel Like A Flat Tire But It Doesn’t
When a rim is bent, it can cause the tire to become unevenly inflated, resulting in the tire feeling flat or low on air, even if it’s properly inflated. The unevenness can create a bulge or dip in the tire, which causes the tire to wobble or vibrate as it rotates. This wobbling sensation can be felt throughout the vehicle, including the steering wheel.
You’ll feel uncomfortable going since the tires are not fixed quickly enough, and the rim is too seriously damaged. This can make it feel like you have a flat tire, but everything appears to be in order when you check.
How To Fix A Bent Rim
Suppose you want to attempt doing a minor wheel bent repair on your own; here is what you need to do.
- Car Jack
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Rubber mallet
- Heat gun (optional)
- Pry bar or adjustable wrench
Step 1: Begin by safely jacking up the car and securing it with jack stands.
Step 2: Remove the tire and inspect the rim for the extent of the damage.
Step 3: If the damage is minor, you can fix it by carefully bending the rim back into place. Using a pry bar or adjustable wrench, gently apply pressure to the bent area and slowly work the rim back to its original shape. Avoid applying too much force or bending the edge too quickly, which could cause further damage.
Step 4: When the rim is severely bent, you can try using a rubber mallet to tap the bent area back into place gently. Alternatively, you can use a heat gun to soften the metal and make it easier to bend back into shape.
Step 5: Check for any cracks or other damage once the rim is straightened.
Step 6: Reinstall the tire, and torque the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Step 7: Lower the car back to the ground and test drive it to ensure the vibration or shaking sensation has been resolved.
How To Prevent This Problem
Prevention is always better than cure. Below are a few things you can do to minimize the chance of encountering this issue.
- Avoid hitting potholes, curbs, and other obstacles on the road as much as possible.
- Slow down when driving over speed bumps, railroad tracks, and uneven surfaces.
- Keep your tires properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, as underinflated tires can make it easier for the rim to become bent.
- Check your wheels and rims regularly for signs of damage or wear, such as cracks or dents, and have them repaired or replaced if necessary.
- Invest in quality tires and edges designed to withstand everyday wear and tear.
- Consider installing rim protectors or rims with thicker sidewalls to help absorb impact and prevent bending.
- Avoid overloading your vehicle with excess weight, as it can put extra stress on your wheels and tires.
- Ensure that your vehicle’s suspension system is in good condition, as worn components can cause excessive vibrations, leading to rim damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is A Slightly Bent Rim Dangerous?
Yes. When left unfixed, even a small rim bend can cause major problems for your car. Changes in driving styles and road vibrations can disturb the driveshaft, damage the tires, affect the vehicle’s axles, and cause lots of other issues.
How Long Can I Drive On A Slightly Bent Rim?
If the damage is not too severe, you can drive it for up to a year or even six months without any problems. However, that also depends on how skillful you are behind the wheel.
How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Bent Rim?
The cost to fix a bent rim can vary depending on the extent of the damage and the type of rim you have. In general, minor bends can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 to fix, while more severe wear or cracks may require replacing the entire rim, which can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 or more.
The Bottom Line
Remember, even a slightly bent rim can cause further damage to your vehicle if left untreated and can potentially be dangerous. So if you suspect that you have a bent rim, don’t hesitate to have it inspected and repaired by a trusted mechanic.