Rims are essential parts of a car because they link the tires and the axles. In a perfect world, the rims would remain in excellent shape. Unfortunately, our rims get bent or damaged from time to time due to our poor driving habits or bad roads.
It is possible to repair a bent, dented, or scratched rim and restore it to its original condition. Depending on the extent and nature of the damage to the rim, you can clean, weld, or infuse new metal into the areas where the damage occurred.
Damaged tires can cause accidents. Worse, failing to fix them may result in accidents due to poor vehicle maintenance. This article looks at how we can repair scratched and bent rims and the cost associated with such repairs.
Can Bent Car Rims Be Fixed?
Yes, bent rims can be fixed!
The trick is to fix them as soon as possible after they have been bent. However, it’s unlikely that bent rims will ever be completely fixed.
Even though car rims are made from steel, aluminum, and chrome compounds, driving hazards such as curbs, potholes, and speed bumps are capable of damaging your rims.
While the repair costs may be high, the damage done to our car’s tires and wheels negate the value of the new look.
How Do I Know My Car Rim is Bent?
A clear indication of a bent rim is feeling or seeing a bend in the formation of the wheel. We can also identify bent rims by reduced fuel efficiency or bumpy rides.
However, these signs can be similar to tire balance issues. So it is always best to have an automotive expert inspect them to be sure.
Can Scratched Car Rims Be Fixed?
Dents and scratches make our rims look dull. While the scratches are not appealing, there is no need to be alarmed since we can always fix them.
Steps to Repairing Scratched Car Rims
Step 1: Cleaning the Rim
- Inspecting the Rim for Damages
Before starting our repairs, you might need to check out all the damages on the rim. To ensure our repairs last long, we should consider thoroughly cleaning the rim.
- Cleaning the Rim
Using a washcloth and a mild wheel cleaner, scrub the rim to remove all the grime and dirt. If our car tires are wholly dirty, we should consider cleaning the tire entirely before fixing the damage.
- Use Paint Thinner
Paint thinner helps get rid of debris and residual dust that may have been left on the rim. Using a washcloth dipped in paint thinner, apply pressure, and rub the rim until all the dirt comes off.
Always wear a respirator and gloves while handling the paint thinner as a safety measure.
- Dry the Rim
Drying the rim before starting your repairs ensures that your repairs last long. Use a fur-free cloth to dry the rim or allow them to air dry if you have enough time.
Step 2: Filling the Rim
- Cover the Tire with Masking Tape
We should cover the tire behind the rim with masking tape. It prevents anything from entering our tires.
- Sanding Your Dents
Use 240-grit sandpaper to sand the dented area. For best results, rub back and forth on the dented surface for complete smoothness.
Dust off the sandpaper debris with a dry cloth.
- Filling in the Dents
Lift adequate spot putty with a putty knife and apply it to the damaged area. Use fingers to smoothen and shape the putty over the dented area to prevent risings on the rim.
Keeping the putty within the damaged area will prevent bumpy spots on the undented place.
- Let the Putty Dry
Drying the putty usually takes thirty minutes to two hours. The drying time is determined by the brand and the size of the damaged area.
Instructions on the putty will guide us more on how long it will take to dry the putty.
- Sand the Putty
Using grit sandpaper, smoothen the remaining raised areas. The putty area should be even with the rest of the rim.
Step 3: Applying Paint and Primer
- Put on Gloves, Goggles, and a Respirator
Primer and paint can cause eye, lung, and skin irritation, and this is why we should wear protective gear. Also, remember to paint in a well-ventilated room.
- Mask the Wheel
Metallic spray paint is stain hard to remove Cover the part we will not be painting in Kraft paper and secure it with masking tape.
- Spray the Primer
The primer will help the wheel achieve a more natural look. Stand fifteen to twenty centimeters away from the rim, and then spray evenly in a sweeping motion.
One coat of primer is enough when spread evenly over the damaged area.
- Allow Your Primer to Dry
Drying of the primer will take thirty minutes to one hour.
- Spraying a Base Coat of the Metallic Spray
Choose a similar color to your rim, and then spread in a sweeping motion. We should spray twenty-five to thirty centimeters away from the rim.
Wait for at least thirty minutes to one hour as the paint dries.
- Adding Additional Coats
After the first coat has dried, we can add two to three more coats until we get the desired color. Two to three coats give the rim a more natural look.
Before adding another coat, allow the previous coat to dry, and do not touch the paint in between coats.
- Apply Spray Lacquer
The spray lacquer prevents the spray paint we just sprayed from flaking or scuffing away. Spray it also in sweep motion and allow it to dry.
The period of drying depends on the spray lacquer but takes from eight to twenty-four hours.
How Much Does it Cost To Fix a Car Rim?
To estimate the cost of repairing our rim, it’s important to first consider the type of material that your vehicle’s rims are made from.
Types of Rims
- Steel: It prevents much damage, and it is a durable material for rims.
- Chrome wheel: In case of damage, these wheels can only be repaired by an expert.
- Aluminum alloy: This is the most common type of wheel. They are stylish, and any minor or major damage can be easily fixed.
- Plastic clad: It is similar to the chrome wheel but is lighter and less expensive compared to the chrome wheel.
Cost to Fix a Car Rim by Type
Fixing a steel wheel can cost from $50 – $150, depending on whether it is scratched or bent.
Although it is hard for a steel wheel to crack, in case it does, we will have to replace it entirely.
If the wheel is scuffed, it might cost us $50 – $150.
However, if it is bent or cracked, we should consider replacing it entirely since this alloy cannot be restored to its original shape.
In case of a scratch, we might consider re-plating, although repairing is still possible. However, re-plating might cost between $200 – $500.
For a bent rim, the cost can range between $50 $105. If the rim is cracked, we might consider replacement since it costs less than repair!
Plastic Clad Wheels
Since they are made of plastic, no damage is repairable. You have to replace the rim.