Cracked and Buckled wheels
The metal used in alloy wheels is relatively malleable, meaning that even the slightest impact can cause dents or buckling. The most common causes of alloy wheel buckling and cracked rims are poor road conditions, namely deep potholes, speed bumps and colliding with kerbs. If the impact is severe enough, the alloy wheel can even crack. A wheel with compromised structural failure can cause considerable damage to your vehicle, driving on it may damage your suspension system, cause inaccurate steering. Driving on a cracked or buckled alloy wheel will often cause the tyre to lose pressure. Constant use of an under inflated tyre can affect the car's road handing performance, braking ability and will often make the wheel more venerable to further damage. Often the tyres tread will wear unevenly, or the inner side wall of the tyre will perish, requiring them to be replaced too.
Although any alloy wheel can get damaged, often the larger alloys wheels, or wheels with lower profile tyres are more susceptible to damage. This is because a tyre sidewall job is to flex and absorb bumps and impacts. If there is less sidewall, the tyre has less ability to absorb impacts of the road, resulting in an increased chance of damage
Cracked and broken alloy wheels are unnecessarily thrown away every day. Owners do not realise that most of the time the wheel can be safely repaired with just a simple alloy wheel weld or straightened to get them back on the road! We use industry leading alloy wheel repairing equipment, combined decades of skill and knowledge to fix most cracks or buckles. All our repairs are fully guaranteed.
It is important to be able to recognise the signs of a buckled or cracked alloy wheel to ensure that you are safe when driving and know when to bring your car to us for alloy wheel straightening. The most obvious signs of a buckled alloy wheel are:
Loss of tyre pressure
Excessive shaking or vibrating when driving
Poor steering performance
Severe or unevenly worn tyres
Visible bends or dents in your alloys
Cracked alloy wheels and wheel welding
Alloy wheels tend to get damaged more on the inside of the rim. Most times the damage is well hidden due to the dirt and road grime built up on them. Usually, the first sign of a cracked alloy wheel is the slow loss of tyre pressure, very similar to a slow puncture.
Is a cracked alloy wheel an MOT failure?
Yes, a cracked alloy will result in an MOT failure if the tester determines that the structure has been compromised. It will be noted as a dangerous defect. A welded alloy wheel itself will not fail a MOT test, unless it is classed as an inadequate repair. Section 5.2.2 of the revised MOT testing standards for most vehicles states that a “fractured wheel rim is a dangerous defect,” is advised to get it looked at and repaired if necessary prior to the vehicles MOT to ensure it does not fail.
Can a wheel be repaired if it has multiple cracks?
It is possible to repair multiple cracks on one wheel, Our team will have to assess the damage first before we can confirm whether it can be repaired. It is important to know that multiple cracks will normally always crack again. It should only be looked at as a temporary fix. We would always recommend to replace the wheel to guarantee no further problems. We do not guarantee multiple cracked wheels.
The welding process
The first step is to remove the tyre to allow full access to the damaged area. To repair the wheel properly, both sides of the wheel need to be welded.
The damaged area is prepped and taken back to bare metal, with the crack being cut out to create a clean area for the welding.
The wheel is then welded on the inside of the rim first. This shows the full extent of the crack, as often there are further cracks not visible to the naked eye. The wheel will then be welded on the outer rim too.
We always leave most of the new weld on the inner rim; this is to keep as much of the strength the weld adds back to the wheel in place. It is important to remember that the welding job is to add strength and structural integrity back to the wheel, sometimes, this can be to the detriment of the wheel's aesthetics! The welded area where the tyre meets the wheel will be machined back and smoothed to create a seamless finish for the trye to seal against the wheel.
The welded areas are then covered with an alloy wheel filler, smoothed off by hand and then primed and painted.
The tyre is then refitted and balanced.
How much does it cost to weld my alloy wheel?
Wheel welding costs much less than buying new wheels! It is the cheaper option and ensures safety whilst driving. The cost is £100+ VAT per wheel. This includes collection and delivery of the damaged wheel and use of a loan wheel for the duration of the repair. Repairs are usually done the same day.
Is the weld guaranteed?
Yes. We are that confident in our work that we guarantee our welding. (Single cracks only) If you are unfortunate enough to crack the same weld again in the future, we will not charge to reweld it. The only costs you would incur would go to the refitting and balancing of the tyre.
Buckled alloy wheels and wheel straightening
If you experience vibrations or shaking from your steering wheel, or excessive tyre wear, it is likely that you have a buckled alloy wheel. It can be unsafe to drive with a buckled alloy - your steering, suspension and braking capability may be compromised. Driving on damaged wheels can cause further damage to your vehicle. Most of the time you do not need to buy a replacement if your alloy wheel is buckled.
Our team will have to assess the damage first before we can guarantee a fix. A buckled alloy can often be repaired using specialist machinery, saving you the cost of replacing the wheel. Sometimes, the damage is beyond repair and the only safe option is to replace the wheel. We are only able to repair buckles on the inside of the rim.
Very often the wheel will have multiple buckles. Depending on the severity of the buckles and the placement the wheel can be made round again. The straightening process will not affect the strength of your wheel unless the damage is significant, or you have already had multiple repairs on the same wheel. On rare occasions the wheel can crack during the straightening process, but we will always advise of the risks prior to any repairs.
Alloy wheel straightening is where damaged or buckled metal on alloy wheels is heated and reformed to the correct shape using specialist hydraulic machines. We use specialist equipment and machinery to repair buckled alloy wheels. Using our straightening machine, with the help of hydraulics, we will locate the angle of the bend or buckle and re-shape your alloy with great precision.
The wheel straightening process:
The tyre is removed to check for cracks and to locate the position of the buckles, if any significant cracks or scratches are found upon inspection, they may need to be repaired before the wheel can be straightened. We would always speak to the customer first before doing any additional work. Simply allow us to straighten it out for you for a fraction of the cost of a new wheel. We will inform you if the damage is too severe to be repaired.
The wheel is placed on the straightening machine and the affected area of the alloy wheel is heated to an extremely high temperature, usually between 250 to 350 degrees, to soften the metal. This prevents the wheel from cracking when being manipulated back into place by the hydraulic piston.
Once the metal is malleable, the hydraulic press is used to push the uneven points and straighten the alloy wheel back to its original shape. The heating and pushing process is repeated until the wheel is round again.
The wheel will then be checked extensively to ensure that it has been fully straightened.
The tyre will then be fitted back on and balanced.
How much does it cost to straighten my alloy wheel?
Wheel straightening costs much less than buying new wheels! It is the cheaper option and ensures safety whilst driving. The cost is £100+ VAT per wheel. This includes collection and delivery of the damaged wheel and use of loan wheel for the duration of the repair. Repairs are usually done the same day.