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Wheel Repair and StraighteningBent wheels or dented rims don't have to mean wheel replacement
Article updated October 2011
Bent or dented wheels, dinged or scuffed rims, these aren't what we need when we take to the road. But considering the obstacle course of wheel damage we travel everyday, these things happen. The good news: Wheel repair is a doable option. These bent, dented, dinged wheels can be straightened and repaired to like-new condition.
To name a few of the usual suspects-potholes, chuckholes, seemingly invisible curbing, separated truck tire treads, flotsam and jetsam leftover from someone's move across town-all of these things can cause damage to those things that keep your vehicle rolling smoothly down the road: your wheels. While curb-scraping a plastic hubcap cover on a steel wheel may not bring on any "Why me-" cries, that same scrape on a set of polished or painted aluminum wheels might ruin your entire day. Worse, if a wheel lip or the wheel itself gets bent or damaged, you may suddenly find yourself standing face to face with dealer prices for OEM replacement wheels. Or will you?
All Is Not Lost
The good news is that even seemingly irreparable wheels can be fixed up to be good as new. For nearly as long as there have been wheels on cars, there have been people around who have made it their business to get things back into the round. Adopting skills and craftsmanship that have been passed on from one generation to the next, the skilled wheel repairman uses methods both old and new to reverse any damage caused to wheels. From a common curb scrape to complete reconstruction and restoration of one-off wheel rarities, even the most hopeless looking hoops can be fixed to be rolling along and looking good again in virtually no time.
Check It Out
Don't assume wheel damage has to lead to a new set of wheels. Look into wheel repair to effectively take care of that damage. Various tools and fixtures, combined with old-style metal forming skills reverse the many forces that may have put that wheel out of the round in the first place. Remember that the visible damage caused by a chuckhole or unseen curb may be just the tip of the iceberg. If one or more of your wheels take a hit, make sure to get them all checked out. The vibrations from an out-of-round or out-of-true wheel can wreak mechanical havoc on everything connected to it. Fortunately, whether uyour rims are made of steel or alloy, it's possible to straighten them out to where they look great and roll right.
A special thanks goes out to Pico Wheel Service in North Hollywood, California for an inside look at how wheel repair is done.