Do you have bent rims? There are different explanations as to why that is happening to you.
However, you need to be able to decipher the type of rim damage to know if it can be fixed or not.
This article explicitly talks about the different types of rim damage – but first with its classification. It then discusses the various ways to repair wheels. Read below.
Wheel Damage Classification
Talking about wheel damage, it is an unfortunate occurrence that many drivers don’t ever wish to experience. However, it is inevitable regardless of how good of a driver you are.
Some of the major causes are road hazards like hitting a pothole or curb, bad driving, and poor alignment.
But before you get into the different types of wheel damage, you need to understand that there are two main damage classifications for wheels – Cosmetic and Structural.
They are also factors that determine whether your dented wheel can be repaired or not.
Cosmetic Damage is superficial damage to the rim and is often repairable. It only affects the outer lip or part of the wheel and most times needs sanding or refinishing.
Examples of cosmetic damage are scratches, scuffs, curb rash, and scrapes. The cost of repair isn’t always much.
Structural Damage is anything that causes serious damage to the structural integrity of a rim. It often occurs as cracks, dents, or bends. It may need some reshaping, welding, heating, straightening, or debris removal.
Structural damage often costs hundreds of dollars. Sometimes, you may have to get a new wheel if not repairable.
7 Common Types of Wheel Damage
Now that you know the different classifications of damage, it is time you get familiar with the various types.
1. Dent Damage
One of the structural damages done to wheels is a dent. It often occurs when your rims hit potholes at high speeds. If you use alloy wheels, the impact is always much and can damage the tires.
Eventually, a damaged alloy wheel makes the car difficult to drive.
So, if you start noticing strange things about your alloy wheel when you drive, you should endeavor to check and make sure it is in good condition. If it isn’t, you should have it repaired by an expert.
2. Curb Rash
Another situation you may have with your wheels is a curb rash.
This damage often occurs when you scrape your wheel unintentionally on concrete curbs or experience other road hazards.
It is cosmetic damage, so you may not spend much fixing it. That means you may have to apply a clear coat on the layer that was scrapped.
This chemical coating on alloy and metal wheels helps protect the rims from corrosion or rust.
3. Bent Wheels
A bent wheel is another situation you may experience with your rim. It often occurs as a result of impact damage – by getting into a road accident, hitting a pothole, or experiencing a road hazard.
Bent wheels are often the worst. The structural integrity of your wheel is compromised since the inner and outer lip are now bent due to the force of impact.
Therefore, you may have serious problems with driving.
As a matter of fact, you should stop driving immediately because it could affect the tires, causing a blowout or flat tires, which could ultimately result in a road accident.
More so, an uneven contact with the road could cause further problems with the vehicle’s suspension system, wheel bearings, and steering wheel.
Bent wheels are common in low-profile tires because they have a shorter sidewall.
4. Cracked Alloy Wheels
A cracked wheel is also another type of wheel damage. It could happen for a number of reasons.
However, the most common cause of cracked wheels is a collision with a stationed option or road debris.
The effect isn’t so different from that of bent rims – they both can’t absorb impact, so they deform.
One would expect wheels to be strong but there is only little they can withstand, especially if they are alloy wheels – those ones are not crack- or fracture-resistant.
Another reason you may have a cracked wheel is if the manufacturer produced a defective type to be sold on the market.
Gouges and Cracks are almost the same things. They are both impact damage, i.e., caused by hitting a pothole or getting into a speed bump or accident.
Likewise, the structural integrity of your wheel is compromised but it can be repaired by simple welding of the gouged spot.
Wheel corrosion is also a thing. It is one of the most dangerous things that could happen to your vehicle.
Wheel corrosion is caused by a number of things, but most reactions are to road chemicals, tire sealants, chemical cleaners, and corrosive liquid.
You may also have rusted rims, especially when there is prolonged exposure to water. And as the rust destroys the wheels, the corrosion affects the tire bead.
Ultimately, it would be very difficult to maintain tire pressure and drive well.
7. Wheel Buckles
Finally, Wheel buckles are the last type of structural damage. They also look like bent alloy rims and are often caused by bad road conditions.
If a wheel is buckled, a driver could experience a flat spot, making it even more difficult to drive your vehicle to safety.
A little straightening work should fix the buckle.
Getting Your Wheels Fixed: Repair Basics
If you would like to do a safe repair of a damaged wheel caused by a curb, potholes, or road hazards, then you need to learn a few repair basics.
In case you are ever in a bad situation due to wheel damage, you can fix it temporarily until you get the entire wheel replaced.
So, here is what to do:
First, station your car on a flat surface. If you use an aluminum wheel, you should get a grinder to smoothen out the edges. It is a preparatory step to getting it reshaped.
Secondly, as soon as the rough edges are smoothed out, do a Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding.
This process will fill up dents and also improve the wheel’s strength. You can do this at an auto repair shop or auto service center.
Finally, finish up the wheel repairs. You will need certain pieces of equipment to balance the wheel out and make sure it is ready for the road again.
It is important, however, to know that the process is only valid for rims not beyond repair.
Best way to repair Cracks, Gouges, Deep Scratches, Corrosion & More
If there is anything wrong with your car, the first thing you need to do is assess it and see the degree of impact or damage.
That means, before you can do a proper wheel repair, you need to be sure about the type.
Here is a breakdown of the best ways to repair different damages done to your vehicle wheel.
How to Fix Cracks and Gouges
If you are dealing with cracks and gouges, the best thing to do is to get a replacement from a reliable manufacturer. It is almost impossible to repair whatever has been cracked.
You don’t want problems in the future; hence, the reason why you should go for the best brands.
How to Fix Deep Scratches
Whether you are dealing with a light or a deep scratch, it is cosmetic damage and can only be best corrected by repainting or re-coating to improve appearance, texture, and strength.
However, you should always use a clear coat for good results.
How to Fix Corrosion
For corroded wheels, the repair depends on the gravity of the situation. However, if it is slight corrosion, a full refurbishment should do the trick.
On the other hand, you should consider getting new sets of rims.
How to Fix Other Damages
If there are other damages that need fixing, you should contact a professional immediately. Such a person might be able to give guidance on repairs or provide services for safety.
But you should know that wheel repair cost is too high for structural damages.
If you’ve always wanted to know the different types of car wheel damage, they’ve been listed above for you to decide what the problem is. With the list, you can decide whether it can be repaired or not.
More importantly, you should always look out for signs.
If you notice you have a flat tire recurrently or there is a problem with your handling and cornering, you shouldn’t hesitate to have your car checked by a professional.