5 Signs of Dangerous Bent Rims That Need Emergency Tire Repairs

June 28th, 2018 by

So, you’ve hit one of San Antonio’s notorious potholes on your way home from work. “No big deal,” you say to yourself. Your car is a brute—it can handle a bump or two (or twenty). Then you pull into the driveway and exit the vehicle to see your tire sporting a nasty bent rim. Ouch!

Aside from alignment problems and flat tires, a bent wheel rim is one of the most common issues to plague vehicles after winter. Many drivers incorrectly assume that bent rims are simply minor inconveniences that don’t necessitate repairs. In reality, when you bend your tire rim, whether due to smacking into a pothole or hitting a curb, it can have a dramatic impact on the way your vehicle functions entirely.

If you’re worried that those bent rims are dangerous, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a service or auto body technician. Otherwise, you can DIY-diagnose the problems by running through these five common signs of wheel rim damage.

5) Visible (and Invisible) Damage
Most of the time, you can use your peepers to spot a bent tire rim, especially if it’s made of aluminum (aluminum rims bend easier than steel rims). It’s usually the first and only sign that you need to repair your tire. However, you can bend the inside of your tire rim without leaving any trace of evidence for the naked eye to uncover. In these instances, you’ll usually be informed of the rim damage during your routine maintenance and wheel alignment.

4) Vibrations
Oftentimes when the front tire’s rims get damaged, you’ll notice it in the steering wheel first; bent rear tires produce the effects of a shaky car or vibrating seats. Although many other car problems may cause your vehicle to shake, a vibrating car, especially at high speeds, is a major problem that necessitates an emergency visit to your mechanic or auto body repair shop.

3) Loss of Tire PSI
After hitting a pothole, you may begin noticing your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) going off regularly. This is a classic sign that your bent rim has damaged the tire wall. Sometimes the PSI loss will be slow, forcing you to visit the air pump once or twice a month. If the wheel rim damage is extensive, you may wake up one morning to see the tire completely flat.

“Why do bent rims affect my tire pressure?” The answer is simple: Tire rims help seal the air between the tire and wheel, but when the rim is bent, that seal can be broken. In extreme cases of car rim damage, the tire itself may even become compromised. If this is the case, in addition to bent rim repairs, you may need a completely new tire or, at the very least, a tire patch.

2) It Feels Like You’re Driving on a Flat Tire
If your bent rim is damaged too extensively, your car probably won’t handle well—at all. Damaged rims can mirror the symptoms of flat tires in numerous ways, such as:

Producing rhythmic “thumping” sounds when the car is in motion;
Vibrating nonstop;
Pulling to the side that has a bent rim;
Incredibly poor fuel efficiency; and
TPMS notifications popping up mid-drive.
Left unfixed for too long, those bent rims could even pave the way for a real flat tire or complete blowout at high speeds.

1) Poor Braking
Pothole damage isn’t likely to harm your brake rotors, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect the way your vehicle stops. A severely bent rim may cause your car to pull to the side when coming to a halt. This symptom of a damaged car rim is most noticeable in instances when you must stop abruptly, such as avoiding a fender-bender or braking at a yellow light.

Don’t Hesitate to Repair or Replace Bent Wheel Rims!
It’s never in your best interest to hold off on getting your bent rims un-bent. Fixing or replacing a rim is fairly cheap—you can typically expect to pay under a couple hundred bucks for aluminum rim repair—and may very well keep other problematic car troubles from emerging. Better yet, if you have a good tire warranty, the costs to replace a damaged rim may be very minimal.

If you need to schedule tire rim repair in San Antonio, head to Northside Ford. We can replace your tire completely or restore minor rim damage in no time. Contact us at (210) 525-9800 to speak with a member of our San Antonio tire center today.