The rim is a vital part of the car’s wheel. It rotates around axles and holds the rubber tire in place so the car can operate. The rims are known to have two uses – to help lessen the friction and to provide leverage. Although some friction is needed to turn the wheels and move the car, it will be provided by the tire when it touches the surface. The car’s rims should always be in excellent condition to ensure that no tire or wheel-related problems can occur. However, a bent rim can occur. It is usually caused by impacts due to driving into or over curbs, potholes, or speed bumps, corrosion, and driving on underinflated tires. Common signs of a bent rim include poor handling, vibrations when steering, tires keep on deflating, and visible damage on the rim.
Bent Rim: Can I Drive with a Bent Rim?
For people who have cars with a bent rim, maybe you are wondering if you can still drive it. The answer is no, it is not recommended. Driving with a bent rim can cause your tire’s air pressure to decrease over time. It can compromise your safety since it can result in a tire blowout that can cause a serious accident. A bent rim can also cause some steering issues, making it difficult to drive properly and safely.
But what makes the rim so important that it can be unsafe to drive with a bent one? There are many people who think that the rims of the car are just for aesthetics. Although the rim can create a new look for your car by changing its size or style, it does more than that. Like mentioned earlier, it helps reduce friction and it provides leverage. Plus, it also provides a firm base to mount your tires, a smoother ride and it can help enhance the performance of the car as well as its handling.
The components of the car rim consist of the outboard face, center bore, plate, spokes, dish, bolt circle, and the valve stem. There are three different kinds of rims which are the steel rims, aluminum alloy rims, and carbon fiber rims. The steel rims are the most affordable ones and it might come with hubcaps. The aluminum alloy rims are the most popular rims since it combines durability and affordability while the carbon fiber rims come with a lightweight design and are known to be more durable.
Bent Rim: What Causes a Rim to Bend?
A car with a bent rim will no longer be considered safe to drive. You may wonder, what causes a rim to bend? A bent rim is usually caused by an impact. However, there are some other damages that can make your rim susceptible to bending over time. It is important that you understand and know what causes a bent rim so you can prevent it from happening. Here are some of the most common causes of a bent rim.
- Driving into or over speed bumps, potholes, curbs, and other road hazards.
No matter how careful you are, there are instances where you drive into an unexpected curb, especially if it suddenly turned up in unexpected places. There are also some drivers who fail to notice speed bumps or parking blocks and just drive into them. If you happen to accidentally rub your rim against or bump the curb, it can cause a bent rim.
Potholes can also be the reason why you have a bent rim. There are roads that have big and deep potholes that can cause damages and bents on your rims. Potholes can occur due to expansions and contractions, temperature differences, and water infiltrations. Although some of these potholes seem to be harmless and small, you should still be careful when driving into or over them. You can never be too sure how deep and damaging they are to your rims.
- Driving on underinflated tires.
It can’t be stressed enough how important proper tire inflation is for car safety. Many drivers probably know this already, but there might only be a few drivers that know that an underinflated tire can be the reason why you have a bent rim. When you drive through rough surfaces with underinflated tires, it can make your car’s rim more vulnerable to impacts from rocks, bumps, and other road flaws.
During winter, road salts are often applied to clear icy roads. It is a standard practice in a number of states and is considered as an effective method to avoid collisions or accidents caused by the extreme weather. Road salts are applied to lower the freezing temperature and melt the ice.
As beneficial as these road salts are, it can have a negative effect on our cars. When it comes in contact with the metal parts of our car, it can lead to rust or corrosion. Keep in mind that all types of metals are prone to corrosion. When you are driving on a road that is covered with road salts, it can cause your metal rim to corrode and can weaken it over time. A heavily-corroded rim can become bent or uneven.
To keep this from happening on your car’s rim and avoid a bent rim, make it a habit to wash your car, including your tires and rims frequently. You need to practice it before and during winter, especially when you know that you are driving on a salt-covered surface. You can also use some wax or sealants to make sure that your car is protected from corrosion during winter.
Bent Rim: How Can You Tell If a Rim is Bent?
A bent rim can sometimes be overlooked especially if you don’t check your car that much. You might begin to notice some signs that there is something wrong with your car but you just couldn’t point a finger on it. Then you remember that you recently just hit a deep pothole or have driven into a curb. Did that cause a bent rim?
There are several symptoms that you may encounter when you have a bent rim. The symptoms can vary depending on the severity angle of the dent. Here are some of the signs that can indicate that you have a bent rim.
- Unusual steering wheel or steering column vibrations.
If you notice that your car has unusual vibrations while you are driving, it can be an indication that you have a bent rim. A moderate to severe damage on one or more of your rims can cause the steering wheel or steering column to shake due to the wheels failing to respond properly. This can happen since a bent rim is not perfectly round anymore so when it rolls, it tends to wobble and shake.
When driving at a very high speed, this wobble can turn into a hard shake and when transferred into the body of the car, you will notice it as vibrations. The vibrations may be felt all the time or only at certain speeds, depending on the severity of the bent. Although vibrations while driving your car can be caused by a few issues, a bent rim is the most common one.
- Low tire air pressure.
If you notice that your TPMS or tire pressure monitoring system is often on, alerting you that you have a low tire air pressure, it can be because of a bent rim. This can happen when a bent rim has damaged your tire wall. The PSI loss can sometimes be so slow that you need to fill your tire up a few times each month but if the rim damage is so severe, you might encounter and deal with a completely flat tire.
A car’s rim helps seal the air between the wheel and the tire. When it is bent, it can affect the tire pressure since the said seal will be broken. In some cases, a severely damaged rim can also damage the tire. If this happens, you may need to buy a new tire and replace it.
- Unusual seat vibrations.
If the rim that is bent is in the front-wheel, you may feel the steering wheel vibrate. But when the rear-wheels have bents, you may feel unusual and unexpected vibrations through the soft seat of the car. A passenger might be able to notice it and alert you. It is often an indication of a bent rear-wheel rim.
- Unresponsive or unpredictable steering
When you are driving a car with no issues, you should be able to steer properly. But if you have a bent rim, it might not respond to you like it’s supposed to. It may turn too slow or too fast. It can happen when one or more wheels don’t know which direction they should be facing. The wheel's ability to turn accurately is compromised because of the bent rim.
- Pulling to one side when braking.
A rim that is severely bent can cause the car to pull to one side when braking. Drivers usually notice that this issue only occurs when they need to stop fast like when they are avoiding a collision or braking at a red light abruptly.
- Tires squealing.
Tires usually squeal when they are rubbing against the pavement when they should be rolling over it. It does not squeal when you are driving too fast like how it is in movies. So when you notice or hear your tires squealing at normally safe turning speeds, it can be an indication that you have a bent rim. The squeal can come from the wheel with a bent rim that keeps you from turning and rolling smoothly to the direction that you want to turn.
- The wheel has visible damages.
If your wheel has large metal or plastic hubcaps, you might find it hard to detect any visual damages to your wheel. You will have to remove the hubcaps and inspect it. Once removed, inspect each one of the tires and look for any damages or deformations so you can have it straightened, repaired, or replaced.
Bent Rim: Can a Bent Rim Be Fixed?
When you discover that you have a bent rim, you might wonder if it can be fixed. Fixing it will be a better solution since replacing your bent rim and buying a new one can be a bit expensive. So can a bent rim be fixed? Here’s what you need to know.
- It can be fixed. It is recommended that you take your wheels to a trusted repair shop to ensure that you will get a high-quality repair and professional service.
- If the rim’s bent is not that severe, you can drive your car to the wheel shop and have the wheel checked and repaired there. Make sure that you drive under the speed limit. Do not drive aggressively since it can cause further damage to the wheels.
- If the tire with the bent rim is flat or is blown out, it is best that you take that wheel off and bring it to the repair shop. Do not drive your car with it unless you have a spare tire you can use.
- Do not attempt to do the fixing and remove the tire from the rim. This is because the tires are fitted securely to the rims and removing it can be difficult and dangerous. Let the professionals handle the removing process and repairs.
- If you have checked your rim and you notice that the bent is within its normal limits, you can straighten them up if you have extra money. However, if you don’t have a budget for it yet and it only has very small bumps or it does not give any signs of a bent rim, you can just drive it until it goes back to its normal shape. You will usually have them back in one to two months of normal hiding. Remember that this is only applicable for small bents that are within its normal limits. If it’s not and the rim is deformed, have it fixed and straightened immediately.
A bent rim should never be ignored, it can cause problems like low air pressure level, poor fuel economy, poor handling, or a tire blowout. Make sure that you always check your wheels and tires regularly and be conscious of the signs or warnings your car is telling you.