How to repair a damaged wheel rim

Damage to wheel rims can be minor or severe. The worse cases affect the seal of the tire on the rim and might cause the tire to go flat. Cosmetic damage is also a concern for those who take pride in the appearance of their car, or if the rims are custom or decorative. There are steps you can take to do minor repairs on your own.

Lift the car with the jack and secure it on the jack stands.

Remove the wheel with the damaged rim by using the lug wrench to remove the lug nuts. Place the nuts aside so they are not lost.

Release as much air as possible from the tire by pushing the pin in the centre of the valve stem and letting the air out. This is an important step because the tire is under high pressure when filled. When a tire is full and the seal against the rim is broken, it can cause injury.

Use a rag over the end of the screwdriver to gently push the edge of the tire away from the rim, essentially breaking the seal. When enough of the seal is broken, you can manually push the tire back with your hands in some cases. You don't need to push the entire tire away--only the area where the damage has occurred.

Assess the damage on the inner part of the rim if it extends beneath the tire. If the damage is minimal and on the outer portion, you can hammer the rim back into shape with just a few strokes of the hammer.

Place a rag over the end of the hammer and attempt to reshape the rim to it's original mould. The rubber mallet might work for the far edges if the metal hammer is too hard and pushes the rim edge too far the opposite direction.

Fix any cosmetic damage by using metal polish, chrome polish or wax.

Take the tire to a garage or tire shop to have it resealed and refilled. Replace the tire on the car.


If the rim is warped, or if the interior area is damaged, you probably won't be able to repair it with hand tools. Extreme damage to a rim requires heavier equipment, such as welders or metal shaping machines, to get the rim back in shape. In this case you will need professional assistance.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Rags or soft pad
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Rubber mallet
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About the Author

Caprice Castano recently left the field of construction management to operate her own contracting business and spend time developing her writing career. Current projects include freelance writing for Internet publications and working on novel-length fiction.