Every week we repair chrome plated wheels that are corroded. This corrosion causes the tire to leak air. Driving on an underinflated tire is dangerous, and if you continue to drive on an underinflated tire, it will fail causing a blowout, a very dangerous situation.
In order to chrome plate a wheel, it is first plated in copper. Nickel is then plated over the copper, and finally the chrome is plated over the nickel. Corrosion is a result of moisture getting between the aluminum wheel and copper plating layer. This moisture causes the metals to react and the resultant corrosion causes the plating layers to separate from the wheel creating a pathway for the air to escape. This corrosion is similar to what you often see on the terminals of a car battery.
Most of the time, we also see crowbar marks where the wheel is corroded. Some tire installers who don’t have a modern tire changer with dual assist arms use a crowbar to install the tire. These crowbar marks perforate the plating layers, thus creating a path for the moisture to migrate between them causing corrosion.
Make sure that the shop where you get your tires installed has a modern dual assist arm tire changer, and that they don’t use crowbars to install tires.
We just received the following email from a customer. They gave us permission to post it:
I’d like to let you know my experience with your company KwickSilver.
My wife hit a pretty severe pot hole in the road in my Camry. I went to Jackson tire store to make sure everything was ok with my tires. When they took the two right tires off they showed me that both my wheels were broken. Because my wheels are custom wheels my only options were to buy 4 new wheels or get the two wheels fixed. I chose to fix the broken wheels and they recommended I go to KwickSilver.
KwickSilver repaired the wheels. I got the car home and the back tire went flat. I went back to where I had originally bought the tires – America’s Tires and they replaced the tires. Now I had a vibration in the front end of the car so I took it back to America’s Tires and they told me the rim was bent. I called KwickSilver up and asked them if they could check my wheel. They took the wheel off, put it on the machine, brought me into the back and showed me that the wheel was true. They remounted the wheel and didn’t charge me anything. I went back to America’s Tire with the knowledge I had received from KwickSilver to share with them and they finally got the tire mounted correctly.
My Camry drives like a dream once again.
I want other people to know that the quality of work, the personable interaction with their customers and the positive experience I had with KwickSilver is why I will recommend them to everyone I know.
Impacts from pot holes, road debris, and other road hazards are the main reason why alloy wheels crack and bend. Aluminum is a brittle metal, which is why they crack. About 80% of the cracked wheels we see are also bent. The impact that caused the crack also caused the bend. We also see many cracks that were a result of someone trying to straighten a bent wheel using a sledge hammer!
The most common crack is on the inside lip extending from the edge of the lip into the barrel 1 to 1 ½ inches. Most of the time, this type of crack can be repaired by welding. Cracks in the barrel are usually also repairable. Cracked spokes or cracks where the spoke meets the barrel is on a structural part of the wheel, thus we don’t feel that it’s safe to weld in these areas.
Proper prep, welding, and finishing will usually restore full functionality to the rim without sacrificing safety. We have successfully welded 1000’s of rims, so we know it’s a viable repair option. The key is knowing how to properly accomplish the repair.
Weekly, we see wheels welded by others that re-crack. This is due to improper prep and poor welding techniques. We’ve even seen an aluminum wheel that was welded using steel because the person doing the welding didn’t know what they were doing!
Kwicksilver Technicians have been thoroughly trained on proper wheel repair techniques. We can complete the repair and get it right the first time!
Almost every week we have a customer who bought used rims on Craig’s List, Ebay, or a friend or acquaintance. They either put them on their car and felt a vibration, or the tire installer noticed that a wheel was bent when balancing the newly mounted tire.
When we check out the wheels, at least one of them has a lateral bend, thus it’s not repairable. Sometimes the buyer has recourse but most of the time the excitement of getting a great deal turns to the disappointment of getting screwed.
The moral to the story is BUYER BEWARE! Never purchase used rims without first seeing them spin on a wheel balancer. There are two types of bends: The first is a radial bend whereby the wheel is bent around the radius, thus the tire “hops” when spun. This type of bend is almost always repairable. The second type of bend is lateral whereby the impact was hard enough to bend the spokes, thus the wheel “wobbles from side to side” when spun. Lateral bends are not repairable. Sometimes radial bends can make the wheel look like it is also laterally bent, when in fact removing the radial bend renders the wheel 100% useable.
KwickSilver will check out your wheels free of charge. Just call to schedule an appointment. You’ll be glad you did.
Alloy wheel repair is a far better option than replacement. It is always less costly to repair what you already have over buying a totally new wheel. Alloy wheel repair specialists can restore car rims with quick service and turnaround time, and be much more affordable than a whole brand new wheel. Even your more complex custom rims can be repaired and refinished, not just the stock ones that included your car.
A good specialist will be able to take your scratched, chipped or gouged rims and make them look as good as new, without the cost of getting new ones. It will be just a fraction of the cost of all new wheels, in fact. You’ll likely never find anyone who are able to tell the difference, you could call it a secret between you, your wheels, and your repair technician. They will do this particular by inspecting, cleaning, and recoating your wheel to obtain it back to which showroom condition.
If you want that fresh from the factory look constantly, but your rims are peeling or flaking, you know that your vehicle does not meet your factory fresh standard. If you’re tired of how it looks, or just worried that it may be damaging the metal of the rims, than you really need to get them repaired. For your own peace of mind, and for the long term value and usefulness of your car, you should have your own wheels repaired. This is because when it comes to cars what may seem like a purely cosmetic repair is actually a repair to a vital part of your cars protection. Your wheels looking chipped and scratched not just looks bad, it lets the environment attack the metal of the wheels which leads in order to rust, corrosion, and faults in your own wheels. A faulty wheel, let me tell a person, is something that no one wants. Do not just think of this type of repair as pure vanity, it is also an essential aspect of caring for the safety of your vehicle. So having them restored for their original factory look is not only visually appealing, it is the sensible and safe move to make.
This doesn’t just affect personal vehicles either; fleet managers have to look out for this as well. It reflects poorly on the quality of the vehicles you rent to customers if the wheels are in bad condition. That age old image from the car renter ‘kicking the tires’ isn’t to date off. I’ve kicked a fatigue or two before leasing and given the tires a look. If they look poor I’m not renting it. Same goes for companies with company vehicles, every aspect of your company will be scrutinized. From the paint and decals on your vehicle, to the rims and wheels you’re showing off, your vehicle is your own public statement of what you’re about. Don’t be the one who shows a poor front for your customers; get an alloy wheel repair done to your company car before it reflects poorly you.
Written by: HagmanHinderman909
Recently two owners of different high end european cars came in with the same problem, bent wheels. The respective dealers each told their customer that the vibration they feel at highway speed is due to bent wheels, and the only way to repair the problem is to purchase a new wheel.
The first customer was told that the new wheel would cost over $600. The other customer was told that their replacement would cost $1100. $700 for the wheel and another $400 to have it chrome plated since the original owner purchased that upgrade when they bought the car.
The second customer had just purchased their new (used car) for over $30,000 just a few weeks ago, and has been complaining about the freeway speed vibration since taking delivery. They told the customer that they fixed it when actually they just re-balanced it.
In both cases, we straightened their wheels for much less than the price of new ones, and the vibrations at freeway speed are gone.