When you look at your car, your eyes are probably not drawn to your tires. While you might notice a scratch on the side of your car or a dent in your bumper, you might not pay much attention to the damage done to your tires. You just replace them when the tread wears down and go on your way. Tires do much of the heavy lifting for your vehicle, though, and they take a lot of punishment. Hit a pothole or a curb, and you’re likely to flatten your tire or damage your wheel.
A flat tire is obvious, but wheel damage can be harder to spot. Especially if you have large hubcaps, you might not even notice damage to your wheel. Even if you do spot it, you might assume it’s not a big deal. However, a damaged wheel can significantly affect your car’s handling and performance. How do you know if your wheel is damaged? Watch for the following signs:
- Sometimes the damage is visibly noticeable. If you want to get a really good look at your wheel to check for damage, take off the hubcap and inspect the rim. In some cases, though, you might still not be able to see the damage. It may be that your mechanic will notice it when you take your car in for routine maintenance.
- Your car might vibrate if the wheel is bent. Bent front rims can cause the steering wheel to vibrate, while bent rims in the back can make the whole car feel shaky. If this is happening, it warrants an emergency visit to the mechanic.
- If your tire keeps losing air pressure, wheel damage could be the problem. Tires and their rims are designed to fit together snugly for an airtight seal. A bent rim can break that seal, causing the tire to lose air.
- A car with wheel damage will often handle poorly. It might pull to the side, brake poorly, or get terrible gas mileage. All of those symptoms are worth taking to a professional for an assessment.
- Wheel damage can feel like a flat tire. If you hear rhythmic thumping sounds when you’re driving your car or tire pressure warnings keep popping up, your wheel may be damaged. Leave it unrepaired and you could end up with an actual flat tire.
Driving on a damaged wheel can be extremely dangerous. Because the tire won’t be able to snugly fit against a bent rim, you risk losing control of your car if you don’t repair the damage. In some situations, a damaged wheel can result in a blowout. It’s better to have a professional look at your tire and determine whether it needs to be repaired or replaced than to risk your car and your life driving with a wheel that’s damaged.
When you bring a damaged wheel to a professional repair shop, they’ll look at the wheel and assess the level of damage. Sometimes the damage is purely cosmetic and can be sanded, straightened, or repaired. If the wheel is severely bent, however, it’s safer to replace it.
If you’re concerned that one or more of your wheels might be damaged, contact B&L Automotive Repairs. Our expert staff can assess the damage and offer you a solution, whether it’s wheel repair or replacement. A family-owned business, we have over 30 years of experience handling every kind of body and mechanical repair, and we’ve even got a play area to entertain the kids while you wait. Our expert staff is continually trained and updated, and our state-of-the-art equipment allows them to serve you with the highest level of expertise. No matter what make and model you drive, or which insurance company you use, we will provide fast and reliable service to make sure your needs are met. Call us today at (773) 463-1622, or contact us through our website for more information.