This question is a classic question. Is repairing cracked wheels a good idea? The answer that can be given is DEPENDING… Depending on the crack (or cracks) that you are experiencing, you might be able to repair it, else you have to replace your cracked wheels. It should be noted that some cracks that are large enough, combined with bent areas in the wheel, are not safe enough to just be welded. They can bring new problems to you in the near future.
Before you do anything on the wheels, you should make sure you don’t drive on cracked edges; something that is almost impossible. You are also not advised to fix the edges by yourself, because every cracked rim requires professional welding. Many people find themselves in this situation and some of them try to handle it themselves, putting themselves into some serious risks.
The Most Common Way to Repair Cracked Wheels
There are several ways to repair cracked wheels, but the most common method used is the TIG welding process. TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas, an electric arc welding process, which is established between a tungsten electrode and the piece to be welded, under the protection of an inert gas that avoids the contact of the air with the fusion bath and with the electrode, which are at high temperature.
The tungsten electrode is attached to a torch that transmits the electric current and injects the shielding gas; it can be refrigerated and is powered by an energy source that can be direct or alternating current. The filler metal, when necessary, is added directly to the liquid pool. To check for leaks, the dye test is the method chosen.
Straighten Cracked Rims
Before reaching the crack closure method, most of the rim must be straightened. Costs on this type of wheel repair range from $75 to $350+ if you use TIG. If you don’t have someone who can weld in your city, you can send your rim to another city and they’ll ship it back to you in a few days.
Wheel Cracks Can Cause Deadly Accidents
Cracks on car rims are more than just a minor problem, because they can cause a lot of issues to drivers. The wheel and tire system of cars is different from the bicycle wheel and tire system. A little crack can open the seal that connects between the tire and the wheel. An open seal means that air is free to enter and exit, in other words it causes an air leak. Leaks while driving can cause a deadly tire explosion, causing your car to lose control in an instant. If an accident does not occur, cracks in the rim can accelerate tire wear which ultimately shortens your mileage.
Why Cracks Can Occur
Cracks are more common in alloy wheels, which are the rims that are typically installed to modern vehicles. The alloy rim is a combination of aluminum and magnesium. Having a longer resistance to rust, this wheel type is susceptible to cracking. The level of fragility is quite high and this is the reason why factory wheels in modern vehicles tend to crack easily.
Used Rims to Replace Cracked Wheels?
If your cracked wheel can’t be repaired, another affordable alternative is to shop for used wheels. Instead of spending a lot of money on new rims, why don’t you buy a nice set of used rims? There’s quite a few websites selling factory replacement wheels online. Some of them are still in good condition, but carefulness is needed in choosing. It would be wise to ask an expert when the time comes to choose.
So…is Repairing Cracked Wheels Recommended?
All depends on your wheels’ conditions and the availability of cracked wheel repair services in your city. If cracks are really bad, repairing is not recommended. It would be safer if you replace it with a new one or buy a used rim locally or online.