What to do when you damage a wheel?

Gutter-jumpers, kerb-crushers, pothole-thumpers – if you fall into any of these categories then it’s likely you’ve damaged a wheel or two during your driving career.

In fact, I’m sure most of us have, at one time or another, misjudged a corner or failed to see a pothole and heard that horrible graunching sound. Yes, you’ve just decorated your alloy wheels with gouges and scrapes, possibly even dents and cracks.

Gutter-rash does happen unfortunately, and these days, getting a wheel fixed professionally is far cheaper than buying a new wheel.

A decade ago smaller rims were the norm, and they were wrapped in cushy, high-profile rubber. The trend toward larger rim sizes, even on fairly non-sports-oriented cars, has infiltrated the automotive world, with 18- and 19-inch rims now commonly seen on fairly conventional family cars. Bigger rims equals lower profile tyres, and therefore more chance of the rim hitting the gutter.

There are wheel repair businesses around that specialise in machining and polishing wheels to repair this sort of damage. In this case, the wheel is taken off the car, properly examined for structural damage and professionally fixed.

We all know how expensive wheels can be to replace, so an investment in refurbishment to ensure your safety on the road isn’t a bad deal.

There are cheaper ways that take less time and are more convenient, but you often trade quality and longevity for that quick fix.

Beyond surface damage, there are more serious types of damage that require urgent and expert attention. Wheels can buckle or crack when smashed over a pothole or kerb.

Repairing cracked and buckled wheels is an intricate process and something you don’t want to delay as it can be dangerous. If you have hit a pothole and not realised, here are a couple of ways you might be able to tell that a wheel has dents or cracks – the car could feel shaky, either through the seat which is generally a rear wheel, or if the steering feels shaky it’s usually a front wheel.

The ready availability of fake wheels is also a concern; inexpensive copy wheels are inexpensive because the manufacturing standards aren’t very good compared with factory wheels. The golden rule here is that you get what you pay for.

So how can you avoid damaging your wheels? At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious – avoid kerbs and large road imperfections. It’s as easy as that.

Given the popularity of low-profile tyres and large rims, we doubt we’ll see people switching back to bulging rubber simply to prevent wheel damage. All you can do is be careful and fix structural damage promptly to prevent further problems.

Make your appointment with Wheel Power‘s refurbishment team today on 01803 293139 or go to http://www.alloys-tyres-wheels.co.uk/refurbishment/

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