by Pat Goss
As long as there are potholes there will be wheel damage, and to give us some pointers about damaged wheels, we have Sam Friedman from Rim ReNew. Sam, welcome to Goss’ garage.
SAM FRIEDMAN: Thank you, Pat.
GOSS: Alright, you brought us some examples of wheels. What are we looking at?
SAM FRIEDMAN: Well we’re looking at two very pretty wheels over here with not a mark on them, and then over here we’ve got some damage.
GOSS: Alright, this one looks familiar?
SAM FRIEDMAN: Yeah, all too familiar if you’re in the north east. This is pothole damage. This customer came in complaining of a vibration. They didn’t know why the car was vibrating at speed…and took the wheel off and found that it is indeed bent on the inside lip… and it’s on the inside lip, you just can’t see it when the wheel is mounted to the car.
GOSS: Alright, what do you do to repair something like this?
SAM FRIEDMAN: We put a wheel like this on our rim straightening machine, it’s a very slow methodical pressing out of the wheel, and we get it within twenty thousandths of an inch of a perfect circle to be spec. Remount and balance the tire, and the car drives smoothly down the road.
GOSS: Alright, not a do it yourself repair though?
SAM FRIEDMAN: Not a do it yourself repair. We see a lot of people that attempt this as a do it yourself repair, hit it with a hammer, and the wheel will inevitably end up cracking because aluminum does not like being hit with a sharp blow.
GOSS: Alright, and over there you have curb rash.
SAM FRIEDMAN: Curb rash, road rash, whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same, it’s ugliness and we’ve all done it. Parallel parking a little bit too close to the curb and you hear the noise, you know exactly what it is. But the good news is this is repairable as well.
GOSS: Alright, how do you go about repairing that?
SAM FRIEDMAN: Well there’s three different options: in shop, out of shop, or maybe even do it yourself. In shop we smooth out all the damage and we powder coat the wheel back to its original color. Out of shop we smooth out all the damage and then use wet paint. If we’re doing a spot repair we’ll smooth out all this damage, put paint on, put clear coat on and then use a blending agent to make the new paint meld into the old paint. If you want to try it at home, you can. Use some spray paint and see what result you get. Hopefully you’re happy, if not you can always come see a professional.
GOSS: Ok, now our nemesis lots of times is chrome wheels.
SAM FRIEDMAN: Yeah the chrome wheels will present with slow leaks and from no apparent place until you start leak checking it, and then it will end up being all the way around the entire wheel, front and back bead. And what happens is the chrome will de-laminate from the aluminum underneath from corrosion, so those wheels either need to be scrapped and need to be replaced or we do have some luck with putting them on a lathe and spinning them and re machining the inner and outer beads to make a smooth surface for the tire to mate up to.
GOSS: Ok, and finally we have the ones with the plastic inserts.
SAM FRIEDMAN: Yeah, chrome clad or polycast, if those get scratched they can’t be fixed, it’s a plastic part, they need to be replaced. If they get bent or cracked on the backside they can be fixed as with other aluminum wheels.
GOSS: Ok. Sam, thank you. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line right here at Motorweek.