Just driving around town can put your car rims at risk of damage from dents or holes and scratches. Everyday driving and running over potholes or debris in the road can cause problems with your rims that lead to suspension and alignment issues in your car. By learning how to repair your own car rims, you can ensure that you are able to fix rim problems before they cause further damage. Car rims can be made out of different types of metal and certain processes may work better on one type of metal than others.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Car jack
- Tire iron
- Steel wool
- Rubber wheel polish
- Metal polish
Park your vehicle and turn off the engine. Let the engine and brake system cool before you begin. Use your car jack to suspend the car off of the ground, as this will allow you gain access to the wheels and rims on the car.
Walk around the vehicle and inspect each tire and wheel set for damage. Locate the rims that need repair and, if there is more than one, pick one to start with and repair each rim working your way around the car in a circle completing one rim repair at a time to stay organised.
Unscrew the lug nuts and bolts holding the wheel to the rim using the tire iron. Set aside the lug nuts into a plastic container so that they don't get lost.
Remove the wheel and set it aside. You will need to deflate the rim to continue. Remove the valve cap on the stem used to inflate the tire then press in the pin on the valve carefully to allow air to be released until it has all been removed.
Remove the tire from the rim. Use something with a blunt edge so that you don't accidentally puncture the tire and so that you don't scrape or gouge the rim. Slide the tool around the rim so that the tire pops off the wheel.
Look closely for cracks that may be present. You will need to fill these, if needed, at a repair shop. Heat the bent part of the rim so it is easier to reshape, then use the rubber hammer to knock out any dents and bends in the rim edge.
Work your way around the rim and repeat heating as needed in order to properly reshape the rim. Replace the tire on the rim after it has cooled. Refill the tire with air and then check that it is fitted properly onto the rim. Tighten the lug nuts.
If you noticed any scratches on the rim you can use sandpaper to even them out. Wet the rim and sand the rim evenly. Use a finer sandpaper to remove light scratches left behind from the first sanding, then rinse and dry the rim.
Use wheel polish on the rubber portion of the rims. Use a metal polish to shine the rims.
Tips and warnings
- Heat the tire rim by holding a lit blowtorch flame toward the rim, but keep it a distance of about five or six inches away from the rim.
- This process works best on steel type rims. Aluminium and alloy rims will likely have a severe discolouration or develop cracks, so it is best for a professional to repair these rim types.
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