Many people don’t always pay much attention to their vehicle’s wheel rim, but they are incredibly important. Rims not only provide leverage and a solid base to mount your tires, but also play a critical role in handling and friction reduction. However, like any other component of your car, rims don’t last forever and will either get damaged or wear out. And in the event that your car’s rim suffers damage, you’ll want to fix the problem as it can be quite expensive to purchase new tires. But how much does it cost to fix a bent rim? Continue your reading and learn more about rim damage and repair.
Understanding car rim anatomy
Wheel rims feature different sub-parts designed with a few different materials, which does not only impact the aesthetics of the wheels but more importantly, how much it costs to fix a bent rim. These features include:
- The outer lip: This is the rim portion out from the center on the exterior of the car. Deep dish rims feature large outer lips whereas most stock rims have relatively small outer lips. It’s worth noting that wheel rims with larger outer lips are more prone to damage compared to those with smaller outer lips.
- Inboard and outboard flange: Every type of wheel rim features these two sub-parts. Their job is to prevent the tire from accidentally coming out of the rim, which is a vital task!
- Bead rests: Today’s wheel tires come equipped with what’s referred to as a bead running in them. A bead is simply a metal braid or wire that creates a robust structure, where the rim’s bead rest slips into for a proper fit.
- The valve stem: This is the rubber stem connected to the rim, and promotes the passage of air into the tire for inflation and out of the tire for deflation.
- Drop center: Just as the name implies, the drop center is the central part of the rim. It has a relatively narrow structure to allow the tire to loosely fit around it, before having the bead set into the rim.
How can you identify a damaged rim?
Not sure how to spot or diagnose a damaged or bent rim? Below are a few tell-tale signs that your car’s rims may be bent and needs immediate attention:
- Feeling the damage: Two of the most obvious signs of a damaged rim are vibrations and shakiness that get transmitted up the steering column. When a rim is either damaged or bent, it will inevitably cause your tire to make uneven contact with the road. As a result, you’ll feel some shakiness and vibration as you drive.
- Visible damage: Sometimes the damage to your vehicle’s rim is significant enough to be visible to your naked eye. It should be quite easy to remove your hubcaps and physically examine your tire and wheel to see whether there is any damage. If some sections of the rim seem out of shape, cracked, or dented, it’s high time you fix your rim.
- Unending flats: If your car tire keeps deflating regularly, and you find yourself filling it up every few days or weeks, chances are high that some tire damage is causing a slow leak. When the rim is bent and pulls away from the tire, it can lead to air leaks or even a flat.
What is the cost of rim repair?
When rims don’t have any significant damage, they can almost certainly be repaired. But it’s worth noting that more extensive damage can be tough to repair, and will warrant the acquisition of a new tire. When your rims are severely bent out of shape, they are seemingly beyond repair. Rim replacement should be your ultimate option in this case.
Minor rim damages can be repaired depending on the type of rim your car has. The most common types of vehicle wheel rims include:
- Steel rims: They are simple and affordable, generally basic in design, and fitted to low-cost vehicles. In terms of repair, steel rims are almost effortlessly bent back into position without any issues, because the material tolerates repeated bending.
- Aluminum alloy rims: These are highly solid, often striking a great balance between weight, strength as well as cost. With aluminum alloy rims, you’ll have to consult your local auto technician to determine whether the damage incurred is repairable or if replacement is necessary.
- Carbon fiber rims: These are incredibly light and strong, but are still very rare.
According to RimBlades USA, the average cost of a rim repair is less than $150. On the other hand, it can cost you between $698 and $710 to replace a damaged rim.
How can you prevent your car’s rim from bending?
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent bent rim incidences, such as:
Maintaining adequate tire pressure
A tire that has a sufficient amount of pressure is able to effectively bounce over uneven spots on the road, including potholes. On the other hand, underinflated tires will ultimately exert more pressure on the rims, especially when driving over rough terrains.
Staying away from potholes
Driving over a pothole is never fun. However, those unsightly dents on the road can do more than spill your latte! Potholes can puncture your wheel, damage your tire’s belts or sidewall, or even crack or bend your rim. while it may not be possible to dodge all the potholes as well as uneven surfaces within your route, avoid them when you can, and also drive with extreme caution anytime you have to pass through them.
Avoid low-profile tires if possible
In an ideal world, urban roads should be well-maintained and smooth. However, in most cases, this is not always certain. Most urban drivers prefer low-profile tires because they are fairly thin. But it’s worth noting that low-profile tires tend to have lower bounce, thereby pushing the pressure onto the rims.
The Bottom line
If you have a bent or damaged rim, don’t hesitate to have it repaired or replaced accordingly. A damaged rim not only impacts your vehicle’s safety, but also puts your life in grave danger, prevents smooth rides, causes alignment issues, and also affects your car’s fuel economy.
Thankfully, fixing a bent rim is an affordable project that won’t hurt your pocket. Provided the damage is repairable, you’ll probably need less than $150 to have your rim firing again!