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Old 04-17-2007, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,581
Dent in car wheel- repair or replace?

I got a flat the other day after hitting a pothole and denting my wheel. After putting my spare on the car, I went to a NTB type place. The tire guy told me my tire was fine, but the rim was bent. He suggested replacing the wheel, but suggested going to a junkyard for the wheel (his were pretty pricey).

What do car savvy dopers suggest? My first car (a 197x VW bug) had "soft wheels". I carried a ball peen hammer everywhere, as well as a small air compressor that ran off the cigarette lighter. I routinely did wheel repairs on the fly. The man at the tire place was shocked at the suggestion.
Old 04-17-2007, 02:54 PM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,385
If the rim is bent, your best bet is to replace it. A junkyard is a great place to by a stock rim and it'll probably only cost about $20.

One of the first things I do when I buy a car that has a donut spare and room for a full-sized spare is to cruise down to the junkyard and get a wheel.

It would be difficult to repair the wheel cheaply and expensive to do it right.

ETA were the wheels on your VW tubeless or tubed? The shape of the rim is less critical with tubed tires.

Last edited by brewha; 04-17-2007 at 02:55 PM.
Old 04-17-2007, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,581
Originally Posted by brewha
ETA were the wheels on your VW tubeless or tubed? The shape of the rim is less critical with tubed tires.
IIRC (talking a few decades here) they were tubeless. And softer than a baby's bottom.
Old 04-17-2007, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 10,551
I had the opposite reaction from the guy at my tire place. I hit a pothole a couple years ago that resulted in an instant flat.
Took it to the tire guy and was expecting to have to buy a new tire. He told me the tire was fine and the rim was bent. I asked how much a new rim would cost. For $20 he hammered the rim back and put the tire back on. I drove it for another year and then sold the car. It worked fine.
Old 04-17-2007, 03:12 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: San Francisco area
Posts: 16,109
Dented alloy wheels are almost always goners. If you attempt to beat a dented alloy wheel back into shape, it's likely to crack the next time you hit a bump.

Steel wheels (eg: shaped sheet metal) can be re-shaped without much fear of future disintegration.
Old 04-17-2007, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,581
^ 2004 Jeep Wrangler soft top with the wheels that came with the car. Steel or alloy?
Old 04-17-2007, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 882
I've had one of my (alloy) rims fixed. The dents looked slight, but were on the inside and outside of the rim and enough to cause a shimmy in the steering wheel at highway speeds.

New, they cost $400 a piece from the dealer, and deals weren't to be found elsewhere at the time, so I decided the $175 repair cost was worth it.

It came out really well, and it hasn't given me any problems since (about 70K miles).

Edit: I think your 04 Wrangler wheels will be rather expensive from the dealer, not sure if you can find one in a junkyard or ebay tho.

Last edited by arseNal; 04-17-2007 at 03:22 PM.
Old 04-17-2007, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 65
It really depends on how badly the rim is bent. If you end up buying another rim, make sure it matches the others. It would really be bad for your tires if your new rim was another size :-)
Old 04-17-2007, 03:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,138
Originally Posted by vetbridge
^ 2004 Jeep Wrangler soft top with the wheels that came with the car. Steel or alloy?
Lots of vehicles come with steel wheels standard, alloy wheels as an option. It's rather unlikely that we can give a definitive answer. The way to tell which kind you have is to look at them. Or use a magnet.

Typical alloy wheel.

Typical steel wheel.
Old 04-17-2007, 03:57 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: michigan
Posts: 26,307
Guy I used to know worked at a gas station and he said they could hammer just about any steel wheel back into shape.

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