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What is a wheel repair?
A wheel repair involves, well, repairing the wheel. We’re not talking about the steering wheel either, we’re talking about the 4 wheels that your car travels the road on. Wheels are commonly made from an alloy of magnesium or aluminium, or mixtures of other metals. Whilst they’re built to be tough, wheels can still be damaged to various extents and sometimes require repair.
How to tell if you need a wheel repair
Wheel damage can take a few forms, which include;
- Damage from an accident
- Gutter rash
- Damage from potholes
- Buckled wheels
- Cracked wheels
- Bent wheels
Things like gutter rash and other surface marks only really affect the physical appearance of your wheels, and if you’re not bothered by the way they look, you can go without a repair. However, if you want your wheels to look as good as new, you’ll need to get that repaired.
More serious damage, such as a buckle, crack or large chips will need to be repaired. Whilst buckles are hard to see, you might feel it whilst driving, such as through shaking, vibrations or changed driving characteristics.
If you’ve recently hit a pothole, ran over a kerb or hit something with your wheel, it’s worth paying extra attention to the way your car feels and drives. If something has changed, get your wheels inspected by a professional.
How important is to get wheels repair?
If wheel buckles are left unattended, they can quickly form into cracks. Cracks that go through the spoke of your wheel will mean your wheel is unrepairable, and you might be up for an expensive replacement.
It also means that the structural integrity of your wheel is now compromised, and is no longer safe to drive on. Cracked and buckled wheels can also puncture tyres, which is dangerous in itself as it reduces the turning and stopping ability of your car.
To avoid this, you should get your wheel inspected as soon as you notice that something is not right. Sudden failure in either your wheel or tyre can be extremely dangerous, so getting it fixed as soon as possible is very important.
Fixing surface damage is gutter rash or marks isn't as important. However if your wheels have suffered a nasty hit, it's definitely worth your while getting them checked out by a professional who can give you the all-clear.
How is a wheel repaired?
The process to repair a damaged wheel is quite complex, but differs depending on the damage.
Repairing light gutter rash or marks
- Wheel is removed from the car
- Tyre is taken off
- The damaged area is machined and polished
- Tyre is put back on wheel, wheel back on car
- Wheel is removed from car
- Tyre is taken off
- Wheel is set up on a jig with dial gauges
- Wheel is heated up to approximately 230 degrees celsius, softening the metal
- Wheel is pushed and reformed in a constant pushing, cooling and reheating process until it is running true again
- First two steps as above
- The crack is cut
- Fresh material is rewelded to the wheel
- Wheel is machined and restored
How much does a wheel repair cost?
Wheel repairs can cost anything from around $100 per wheel for a gutter rash repair (depending on the severity), all the way up to hundreds of dollars plus for buckles and cracks.
When the cost of buying new wheels can be thousands, repairing a damaged wheel makes the most financial sense. It is worth keeping in mind though that some damage, such as cracks through spokes, cannot be repaired so a replacement is your only option.
Where can you get a wheel repaired?
You can get your wheel repaired at any local wheel repair specialist. There are both physical shops you can take you wheel to, or mobile businesses that come to you.
A mobile business may be the best option if your car is no longer driveable.