How to Repair a Bent Rim From a Pothole

by Contributor
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sports car rim image by Lario Tus from

Potholes can wreck a rim, but there are several different techniques to straighten rims. The 'cold roller' technique leaves the affected area of the rim weaker than before, other techniques do not. It is often easier to bend a rim from the inside. Custom rims look great but the lighter they are the more susceptible the rim is to being bent. Whether the rim can fixed at home or taken to a professional depends on the amount of damage.

Remove the Tire

Step 1

Position the jack underneath the car on the side with the bent rim. Raise the jack to lift the vehicle. Check to make sure that the jack will rest underneath the frame of the car as it gets higher. Lift the car until the tire is no longer touching the ground. Make sure that the car is stable.

Step 2

Remove the lug nuts from the wheel. Pull the rim and tire off of the car. If your rim is bent badly enough, your tire may already be flat and easy to remove. If your tire is not flat from the bent rim, you may want to contact your local repair station to get a professional opinion on whether or not you should make the repair.

Use the pry bar to separate your flat tire from the bent rim. Move the pry bar around the seal of the tire, pulling it off of the rim. Repeat with the other side of the tire seal, completely removing the tire.

Fix Your Tire

Step 1

Put on your goggles and protective gloves. Heat the bent area of the rim with the blow torch. Concentrate the heat on one portion of the bend for approximately two minutes. You may need to heat for longer or in more than one spot, depending on how bad the bend is.

Step 2

Hit the heated rim with the mallet to bend the rim back to its original shape. If your mallet is leaving marks in the rim, you can set the piece of wood against the bend and use it to deflect the hits from your mallet. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until your rim is back in shape.

Step 3

Wait until the rim has completely cooled. Use the pry bar to put the tire back on the rim. Move the pry bar around the seal on one side of the tire, pulling it back onto the rim. Repeat with the other seal. Use an air compressor to inflate your tire.

Mix the water and soap together, making a slightly sudsy solution. Use the sponge and generously soap up the space where the tire and rim meet. Look closely for any bubbles that may be forming. This is a sign that there is an air leak in your tire. If you have an air leak, you should take your rim and tire to a professional for further instruction. Test both seals and look closely.

Replace Your Tire

Step 1

Roll the tire back to the vehicle. Lift the tire and align the holes in the rim with the studs for the lug nuts. Slide the tire onto the vehicle.

Step 2

Screw the lug nuts back onto the wheel studs. Start with the lug nut on the bottom and tighten against the rim. Work on the lug nuts that are across from each other so that the rim is pulled against the studs evenly. Screw on the lug nut on the top. Tighten a lug nut on the right side, left side, and right side again.

Lower the jack, allowing the car to rest on the ground. Remove the jack completely from under the car. Tighten all of the lug nuts again with the wheel on the ground.

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