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How to Repair a Steel Wheel

by John Walker

Steel is a firm but resilient metal with several application options, including vehicle use. Steel is the most common material used in the manufacture of vehicle rims. Steel rims perform well, last a long time before warping and generally are aesthetically pleasing. The down side to steel rims is the malleability of the metal. One solid curb check, and you will have a dented rim. A cracked rim occasionally happens, which calls for outright replacement, but a bend is simple to repair with heat and a hammer.

Dismount the tire carefully to avoid further damage to the rim.

Heat the damaged section of the rim with a handheld propane torch on high so the flame is predominantly blue. The blue flame will minimize the scorching of the rim. Do not heat the face of the rim if it has any protective coating.

Hammer the section with short but firm swings until the bend is aligned with the rest of the wheel. Use a straight edge, such as a ruler or flat board, to gauge when the bend is repaired. You might have to heat the area repeatedly. A rim straightener grabs onto the bend and allows you to pull or push until the bend is repaired while avoiding swinging at the metal with a hammer.

Sand off any burrs or scratches using a metal file. Clean the area with steel wool to remove scorch marks.

Mount and balance the tire before reinstalling it on the vehicle.

Warning

  • Wear safety glasses and gloves while handling hot metal.

Items you will need

About the Author

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