If you’ve been in an accident or gone over a particularly nasty pothole, you could be facing a bent rim. That’s especially true for low profile and larger wheels, because they have less rubber to protect the metal from the road.
And, if you have alloy wheels, which many people do, they’re also more prone to bending.
So, how much does it cost to repair bent rims?
If you can get away with repairing the rims, you’ll probably pay $75-$350 for the job. In fact, many body shops and tire shops offer a flat-rate rim repair service. That might be $150 or $250.
However, exact costs depend on where you go and which part of the country you’re in.
On the other hand, if you have to replace rims, you’ll typically pay $150+ per rim, with some new rims costing over $350 each. On average, it’s about 40% cheaper to repair than to replace your rims.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of rim repair costs estimates from reputable dealers.
|Gerber Collision & Glass
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How Much Does Rim Repair Cost?*
The price of repairing or replacing a rim can vary quite a bit. However, costs mostly depend on where you’re located and the size of the rim.
For example, big double-duty trucks which are very prone to rim damage have larger wheels that cost more to repair the rims.
In many cases, you simply won’t be able to repair the wheel. For example, bends in alloy and chrome wheels are often not fixable.
Bending the metal back would create too much stress on the metal, meaning your wheel has mechanical weaknesses that could result in a crack or rupture while driving. In this case, you’ll have to replace the rim entirely.
The following table shows price averages for different types of rims before the cost of labor:
*These cost estimates are based on quotes at the time of writing in June 2023. Actual costs are subject to change and may be different at the time of reading. Please use these numbers as a guideline for your own research.
What Is A Bent Rim?
A bent rim is any situation where the flat part of the rim is bent down or upward. This damage is fixable if there is no tear. However, if there is a tear, it is unlikely that you can repair the damage without risking a future rupture.
On the other hand, bends on the attachment points are not usually fixable as the metal will be too weak to support the stress put on the rim.
Bent Rim Repair Price Factors
The cost of repairing your rims will heavily depend on factors like location, the rims, the size of the rims, and even the local rate of labor.
The cheaper your rims, the cheaper and easier they are to repair. That’s because the process of rim repair typically involves superheating the metal and then hammering or rolling it back into place.
Steel can take this heat and molding without losing too much strength. However, not all alloys can. In addition, chrome wheels can be extremely difficult to re-shape in this way – and doing so will almost certainly completely ruin the finish.
For this reason, you can expect a good pair of steel safety rims to cost from about $75 to fix. That’s, on average, about half what you’d pay for new rims before the cost of labor.
If you have performance rims, you may not even be able to fix them. That’s because the alloy is heat resistant and will not respond well to superheating. Therefore, you’re very likely to have to replace them.
That’s also true with carbon rims, which simply can’t be bent back into shape.
Your powder coat, chrome finish, or clear coat will impact the cost of repairing your rims. For example, if you want to repair the rim and refinish the rim, you’ll pay extra to strip and refinish the full wheel.
Re-adding a powder coat could add a few hundred to the job. And, adding chrome plating will almost certainly add much more.
Larger rims are more prone to damage. But, they’re also more expensive to fix.
More rim means more metal and more weaknesses in the metal. This means that if you have a truck with big 24-inch wheels, you could pay as much as double as for a car with a 14-inch rim.
Wider wheels will have the same issue, especially if the width is at the top of the rim, where it’s likely to bend.
It’s very often the case that you can’t fix a bent rim. That may be because of the material, because of the scope of the bend, or because the technician thinks the rim is too damaged to withstand the pressure.
Either way, if that’s the case, you’ll have to pay to have rims replaced. In this case, you can source secondhand rims from about $40 each and good quality new rims from about $150 each.
However, the average cost for rims for most vehicles is about $250 per rim – but costs can more than triple depending on what you want.
Front End Alignment
At any point when you damage a rim, you’ll likely have to have a front end alignment. In most cases, costs should be between $50 and $200 depending on location, but for the most part, you can expect around $50.
In addition, if your technician is doing work anyway, they might be nice enough to offer the alignment for free.
Cost of Towing
Even driving to your mechanic after bending a rim can significantly damage the suspension and the front end. To avoid this, it’s always best to have the vehicle towed to the location.
Normally this costs $75-$200 – although distance is a major factor in costs.
Local Cost of Labor
In most cases, you’ll pay for 1-3 hours of labor to fix a rim. That involves a technician taking the wheel off the vehicle, deflating the tire, removing the tire, and then mounting it to a machine.
From there, they can use a torch to heat the area and bend the metal back into place. After it’s fixed, they’ll stress test and then put the tire back on and put the wheel back on the vehicle.
Depending on timelines, that may also take a few days.
If you hit a pothole or a curb hard enough to damage a rim, you might have damage to the rest of the suspension as well. That’s especially true if you drive home or to the mechanic first.
Here, you can expect to have to inspect and potentially replace the suspension system including the steering rack, tie rods, ball joints, etc.
Most of these parts cost about $75-$250 to replace although you’ll likely get a discount for doing everything at once.
4 Symptoms Of Bent Rims
Bent rims are easy to notice, as your car will vibrate. However, symptoms can match those of other suspension issues.
1. Visible Damage
If you inspect your rims and they are even slightly bent out of shape, it’s time to have them fixed. Even a tiny bit of damage can cause extra stress to the suspension, which could result in thousands in damage to the car.
The faster you fix rim issues, the less likely it is you’ll have to replace the suspension.
If your rim is bent out of shape, you’ll feel it. You’ll normally feel light to extreme vibration or shaking as you drive. That can feel like side-to-side vibration or general vibration – both can be from the same issue.
You might also feel other signs from your car, like occasional bumps, pulling to one side or another, and shaking through the center of the car.
Those symptoms will only get worse if you keep driving, because they normally mean the bent rim is putting pressure on the tie rods and the rest of the suspension. As those parts start to go out, the shaking will get worse.
Once your steering wheel starts shaking, it’s usually time to replace the tie rods as well.
Bent rims can thud, rattle, and even clank. They can cause vibrations that make noise. And, they can cause your suspension to rattle.
If you hear any sounds from your wheel, it’s important to inspect the wheel and the suspension or take it in for a checkup.
4. Flat Tires
If your tires keep going flat and you can’t figure out why, it might be a tiny bend in the rim. That’s true even if you don’t see any damage.
Small bends can put extreme pressure on parts of the wheel as you drive, meaning you very quickly develop flat tires. So, changing the rim can be a lot cheaper than losing tires.
How To Repair A Bent Wheel
Repairing a bent wheel is not a DIY job. You cannot safely and reliably get a bend out of a wheel without professional equipment without potentially causing more damage.
In addition, you’ll have to rebalance the wheel – which requires professional equipment. Therefore, it’s always better to take the wheel to a professional shop where you can pay to have it repaired.
Plus, the professional shop will be able to stress test the wheel and offer insight into whether you should bother with the repair at all.
If the wheel is severely bent, it could have structural and stress issues that will make it unsafe to drive on. Therefore, a professional inspection and stress test is always important.
Finally, you’ll always want to ensure that you have the front end inspected. The problems that cause bent rims (potholes) can also cause damage to the axle and the suspension.
If you don’t inspect and fix those issues they could become worse and you could be looking at significantly more damage.
In addition, even the act of driving to a body shop to repair a bent wheel could result in damage to the suspension. You might have to replace tie rods, align the front end, or repair another part of the suspension as a result of the bumpy drive.
- Call a tow truck.
- Have your vehicle taken to the shop.
- Wait while the technician removes the wheel and the tire.
- The technician will remove the tire.
- Then, the rim is put on a machine.
- A blowtorch or similar heating device is used to superheat the affected metal.
- The metal is bent back into shape with a roller or a shaping board.
- Then, the wheel is allowed to cool.
- The technician stress tests the wheel.
- Any cosmetic fixes are performed.
- The tire is put back on.
- Then, the technician puts the wheel back on your vehicle.
If you still have questions about repairing bent rims, these answers should help.
Is it expensive to fix a bent rim?
Usually, it’s about 40% cheaper to fix a rim than to buy a new one. However, you can still expect to pay $75 or more for the job. In addition, costs can go up to $300 or more depending on the extent of the damage.
Often, it will actually be cheaper to simply opt for a secondhand rim rather than pay for repairs. However, your technician may not have used rims in stock for your vehicle.
Can you fix a bent rim with a hammer?
You might see on the internet that you can take a piece of wood and a hammer and simply hammer the rim back into shape.
That is true, you can get the metal back into shape. However, you’ll want to have the metal stress tested afterwards, because you could create stresses in the material resulting in a tear in the rim when you actually drive.
It’s always better to have this job handled by a professional. That’s also true even if it’s only a small bend. In addition, using heat will reduce the stress on the metal, meaning it’s less likely to tear.
So, if you really must do the work yourself, heat the metal using a torch first.
Can a bent rim mess up alignment?
Yes. If you drive on bent rims, you can mess up the alignment.
In addition, you may need to fix or replace the suspension, as driving on bent rims can ruin the tie rods, shocks, and other parts of the suspension.
Whether you’ve driven over a pothole or gotten into an accident, a bent rim is a big deal. If possible, you should call a tow truck and have the vehicle taken to the repair shop before driving on it. If not, you’ll want a full inspection of the front end and the suspension. However, you can often have bent rims repaired for as little as $75. On the other hand, those costs can go up to $350 for a lot of damage. And, not all rims can be repaired, so you may have to replace the rim.
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