How to Tell If That Last Pothole Bent a Wheel Rim and You Need New York City Rim repair

Dec 15, 2017

Let’s face it; there are many potholes in and around New York City. Like trash on the road, you can try to avoid them, but eventually, you just don’t have a choice and need New York City rim repair. Potholes can take up entire lanes, turn into gaping cracks, and are always a danger to your tire rims. What happens when you roll over the edge of a pothole is not pretty and as unpleasant as that *bump* is for you, it is a lot worse for the car itself, especially your wheels. There are three things a pothole can do to your wheels. First, it can pop the tires with a sharp or jagged surface, though this mostly happens to cars with over-inflated or weakened tires in the first place. Next, it can scuff your tires with rough edges, increasing their wear and tear. The most common consequence is that you have bent your metal wheel and need New York City rim repair.

New York City Rim Repair Alloy Wheel

The rim is what holds your rubber tire in place, keeps the entire wheel round, and maintains tire air pressure. When a rim is bent, your wheel will not spin evenly and can do serious damage to the rest of your car because of this. However, while still driving in your car after the bump, how do you know if that last unavoidable pothole was the last rim-bending straw and you need New York city rim repair?

There are a number of symptoms your car could indicate if a rim was bent depending on the severity angle of the dent itself. While you should not jump out of your car in the middle of a busy street to check on your rims, we are here to help you spot the distinctive symptoms of bent rims both as the driver and an outside observer.

Unusual Vibration Through the Steering Wheel

Vibration is the most likely symptom of a bent rim. This is because a bent rim is no longer perfectly round and perpendicular to the ground so when it rolls, it also wobbles. A wobble at very high speeds like the kind of rotation speed wheels get up to on the road turns into a hard shake. When transferred through the body of the car, you as the driver can feel it as vibrations. Depending on the severity of the rim dent, this vibration may show up all the time or only after you reach certain speeds. If you are feeling a new vibration through the steering wheel after hitting a pothole (or curb), one or both of your front wheels are most likely bent.

Unusual Vibration Through the Seats

Front-wheel dents are often the easiest for a driver to spot because the steering wheel is something firm and compact that we hold onto with the very sensitive appendages. Our backsides, however, are slightly less attuned but can give us the same information for the back of the car. If you are feeling a strange and unexpected vibration through the soft seat of the car or if your passengers report something similar, then it is entirely possible that one of your back wheels was bent and this is the result of its wobbly shaking.

Signs of Shimmying at Any Speed

Most people have seen the human version of a shimmy involving rocking the shoulders back and forth in a joyful or provocative fashion. When a car does this, on the other hand, it is much more alarming and a lot less aesthetically appealing. Car shimmying is the feeling of the car wobbling back and forth, influenced by a bent rim. If your vehicle has started to feel wobbly at any speed, slow or fast, then there is something wrong with at the very least a wheel if not your entire alignment which can be both dangerous to drive with and costly to repair.

Steering is Unresponsive or Unpredictable

In a perfectly undamaged and properly aligned vehicle, your steering is perfect. The car responds to you smoothly, and your confident experience keeps you and it out of trouble. However, with a bent rim, the vehicle can stop responding in the ways you expect. If the car turns to slow or suddenly too fast, this is an issue with one or more wheels not knowing which direction they should be facing because the dent is skewing their ability to turn accurately.

Tire Squealing at Normally Safe Speeds

Tires do not squeal when you go ‘too fast’ or just because the bad guy is making a getaway in a movie. Tires squeal because they are rubbed against the pavement instead of rolling over it as they should. If your tires have started to squeal at perfectly safe turning speeds, this is a very clear sign that something is wrong with your rims. The squeal is most likely caused by the rim dent preventing the wheel from turning and rolling smoothly in the direction you want it to go. This results in friction and that unpleasant sound.

Loss of Air Pressure

Just like the other symptoms, not everyone with a bent rim loses tire air pressure, but if your tire is flat after a pothole or you are facing a constant air-pressure loss problem, the most likely cause beyond a defective tire is that the rim is out of shape. If it is warped too much by the dent, then the seal with the tire can break allowing the tire to leak air and become flat.

Pulling to One Side

As the final sign that can be detected in the driver’s seat, it is not unheard of for a car with a bent rim to start pulling to one side. This is, in fact, not a direct result of a rim dent. It is an effect of the damage instead. Pulling to one side is caused by a thrown alignment which can happen either on the hard impact with the edge of a pothole or after driving with a bent rim. When this happens, the bend causes an extreme wobble, and that wobble can pull your alignment out of order.

Fails on a Balancing Machine

If you are really worried about your rims but don’t have enough definitive evidence to be sure that you need rim repair, one way to check is on a tire balancing machine. There’s one of these in almost every tire shop, and most venues will let you use theirs for free or charge a small fee to run the test for you. If the balancing machine gives you a green light, that means you can relax and return to driving like normal. If not, then at least you have already got the wheel off to give to your metal repair and restoration professionals.

Visibly Bent Outer Lip

The reason checking for a visible dent is our final tip is because it does not always work but people expect to trust the evidence of their senses. Potholes come in a lot of different shapes and sizes and can damage your rims in an equally diverse variety of ways. A visible dent on the outer lip is only an indicator sometimes. Others, the dent might be too small to see but big enough to cause a problem or on the inside of hidden inside of the rim instead.

Whether this is your first broken rim of the year or you are already having bad luck, bring your damaged wheels into TLC Metal Restoration on Long Island, and we would be happy to get them back into ship-shape as quickly as possible. For everything from scuffed finish repair to rim reconstructive surgery, contact TLC Metal today to talk to a metal care specialist.