You are driving down the road when you hit a pothole. Although you are not injured, you are shaken up and you notice that your car is diving differently. Chances are, the rims of the vehicle have become damaged and will need repair or replacement if you want to continue driving it safely.
New rims are not cheap and it is very easy to damage them. Bent rims butter the bread of many a mechanic. It is helpful to know a bit about bent rims and how to fix them.
How to Tell if Your Rim is Bent
If your car starts driving funny right after you hit a bump, you may have bent or damaged one of your rims or, you may have a flat tire. You may also have an allignment problem, or a damaged or broken wheel.
If you have damaged your rim, you may see or feel a bend in the construction of your wheel. You may not be able to detect a bent rim right away. It might be located on the inner portion of the wheel and therefore not immediately apparent.
If you have a bumpy ride when you are driving, your rims may well have been damaged. Damaged rims can cause tire misalignment and that can cause poor fuel efficiency.
If you are not sure if your rims are bent, you should take your car to a mechanic. A shop will have special equipment to analyze your tire and rims.
Is a bent rim serious?
A bent rim can cause very serious problems for your car. The road vibrations can cause problems for your vehicle’s axles. It can also damage the tires and interfere with your driveshaft. If you don’t get a bent rim fixed, it can cause a lot of issues for your car’s body and engine. If you observe an issue with your wheels, you should bring the car in for service.
How to Repair Rims
There are several different methods of straightening rims. Be very leery if a mechanic tells you they are going to use a cold roller method. The ‘cold roller' method actually leaves the bent area of the rim weaker.
The cold roller method has been tested and rejected by most auto body shops. This is because it is impossible to properly straighten the wheels that come with a cold roller press.
Cold rollers beat the wheel until they are true. The theory behind it was that heat might damage the rims, although there is no proof of this. You cannot control the impact of cold force on the metal. However, you can control heat.
It is usually simpler to bend a rim from the inside with heat. Custom rims may make a car look good, but the lighter they are, the easier they are to bend. You may be able to fix the rims yourself if they are not damaged too much. Here are the basic steps to straightening your rims.
- Protective gloves
- Hydraulic jack
- Piece of flat wood
- Air compressor
- Soapy water and a sponge
- lifts, and blocks
Remove the Tire
Position the jack underneath the vehicle on the side that has the bent rim. Raise the jack to lift the vehicle. Lift the car until the tires do not have contact with the ground. Stabilize the car by blocking the tires.
Take the lug nuts off of the wheel. Pull the rim and tire off of the car. The more the rim is bent, the easier it will probably be to remove the tire.
The pry bar should be used to separate your flat tire from the bent rim. Pull the seal of the tire off of the rim with the pry bar. Repeat the same steps on the other side.
At this point, you should put on your goggles.
Turn on your blow torch and heat the bent area of the rim. Focus the heat on each section of the bend for around two minutes. In some cases, you may have to heat some spots longer than this depending on how bad the bend is.
Take the mallet and bang the heated section of the rim until it is back to its original shape. If your mallet leaves marks on the rim, take the wood and put it against the rim when you hit it with the mallet. Repeat the first two steps as needed.
When the rim is cool, put the tire back on your rim using the pry bar. On one side of the tire, Move the bar around the seal. Pull it back onto the rim. You will then need to inflate the tires.
Take the sponge and soak it in the soapy water. Soap in the spaces where the tire and rim come together. If bubbles begin to form, it may mean that there is an air leak in your tire and you should take your car to a mechanic.
Bring the tire back to your car. Lift the tire and line up the holes in the rim with the lug nut studs. Slide the tire onto the automobile.
Screw the lug nuts back onto the wheel studs. It is always a good idea to start with the lug nut on the bottom. The rim will pull against the studs evenly if you screw in the lug nuts that are across from each other. Screw on the top lug nut then tighten the lug nut on the right side and then the left side.
After you lower and remove the jack, you should tighten the nuts again. You can also take your rims to a mechanic to be straightened. If you do it will cost about $75 per tire.
How much do new rims cost?
Rim costs vary greatly depending on what they are made of and what type of car and tires you have. There are many different types of rims and the prettier your rims, the more money you are likely to pay for them.
Steel rims tend to run about $30 each, alloy rims cost about $50 each, and chrome rims can cost as much as $100 each. If your rims are bent, you are likely to have to replace the tires as well. They will usually be sold as a set.
Although it may save you a few dollars, it is not a good idea to buy the tires separately. A set of four tires can cost as low as $400 and as high as $1,800.
If you get your rims straightened or replaced, you will have a couple of options for where to take the car.
Going to an Auto Body Shop
Auto body shops are far and away the most popular place to take cars for repair. Auto body shops are much less expensive than taking your car to the dealership and you will be able to communicate with the mechanic directly.
Before you select an auto body shop, you should visit the AAA website. They maintain a list of approved mechanics all over the country. You should also check the Better Business Bureau's website to make sure that the auto body shop does not have any complaints against it.
If you are just having rims straightened, most mechanics should be able to handle the job. If you are having the rims and tires replaced, you may want to ask what kind of training the mechanic has had and if they are certified in your make and model of vehicle.
Many chain auto body shops will offer discounts to loyal customers. Be sure to ask what discount programs you can sign up for.
Going to the Dealership
Dealership mechanics will charge you a lot more money than they will at an auto body shop. In the majority of cases, it is not advisable to go to a dealership simply for straightening or replacing rims.
However, there are some cases in which bad rims might have done damage to other areas of the car. The dealership mechanic will always be certified in your make and model of car and it might be beneficial to go to the dealership if this is the case.
A dealership will charge you by the job and not by the hour, so you'll never be surprised by the bill. If they have to keep your car overnight, they can rent you a car right there. They should always have any necessary parts on hand.
In some cases, the rims and tires may be been beyond repair and the car itself may be too old to warrant replacing all the tires. In other cases, the bent rim may have caused so much overall damage that it is not worth keeping the car. If you decide to get a new car, you will have several options for making money off of the old one.
Selling Your Car Online
There are many websites on which you can list a used automobile. You can go to a general sales bulletin board, such as Craigslist. or you can sell your car on a site that is dedicated specifically to automotive sales.
If you go to an automotive sales website, they will charge you a monthly fee to list your car. You can post several pictures of the vehicle along with its specs. You will have plenty of competition if you sell your car this way.
It may take a very long time to get an interested party, especially if your car isn't running very well. People who look for cars on such sites are often looking for individual parts rather than the whole car. You may end up with a parted out car on your property and you will still have to pay to get it towed.
When you finally do get a prospective buyer, remember that you will have to take the time to show them the car. They may decide they're not interested or they made it decided they want to pay you way less than you're asking for.
Use Your Car as a Trade-In
When you go to buy your new car, the dealership is likely to offer you a certain amount of money as a trade-in allowance. They are unlikely to offer you what your car is really worth. They know that you want to get the transaction over with and will rely on your agreeing to the lower price.
They may also offer you what seems like a good deal for your old car and then tag that same amount of money right back onto the price of your new vehicle. Be sure to read your paperwork very carefully before signing anything.
Sell Your Car to Us
Cash Cars Buyers will give you a great price for your old car. Whereas the dealership would need a pink slip to give you a trade-in, we can usually buy your car even if you do not have the title.
We simply asked you to fill out our online form. We ask for your name, number, and e-mail address. We will also ask for the make, model, year, and VIN number of your car.
Once we get your information, We will call you right back with an offer. If you accept our offer, we will make an appointment to come to pick up the old vehicle. Our team member will arrive on-time, do a brief inspection, pay you in cash, and tow the car away for free.