The Effects of a Bent Rim

The Effects of a Bent Rim thumbnail
Thousands of bent and damaged wheel rims sit in junkyards; they're no longer usable.

Due to the centrifugal forces involved with both rolling, turning, and propelling a vehicle into motion, wheel rims require almost perfect balance and shape. Failure of the shape integrity involved can result in premature tire wear at best and critical structure failure at worst. Thus the effects of a bent wheel rim tend to be important to pay attention to before the damage increases. Some folks may feel a hard-to-see bent rim may not be worth spending money on yet, but the accident risk increase in the long-run can change the evaluation.

  1. Damage Can Get Worse

    • A bend in a wheel rim weakens the integrity of wheel. It creates a weak point that, if hit or stressed again, could actually crack the wheel rim itself. When this occurs under pressure or load, the wheel can fall apart in a critical failure, causing an accident.

    Misalignment

    • Aside from structural failure, a bent wheel rim may have been the event that caused the car's total wheel alignment to be thrown off. All four wheels need to be set so that they work together when the car moves. When wheel alignment gets thrown off, tire wear can become uneven, degrading tires faster than they should normally wear out. Misalignment can be noticed by the car tugging or pulling to one side.

    Wheel Vibrations

    • A medium to severe bent wheel rim tends to result in minor to very noticeable wheel vibrations. These frequencies will be caused by the bent wheel not operating in a smooth role and will transfer up into the vehicle frame and steering wheel. Severe vibrations may seem like the axle of the wheel is falling off the car. Continued vibration will damage the suspension system of the car, causing escalating damage. Vibrations may not be so noticeable at low speeds, but over 40 mph the effect increases significantly.

    Bent Axle or Damaged Transmission

    • When a bent wheel rim gets too far out of alignment it will cause stress and torque on a car transmission and axle. The pressure can begin to cause bearing failure as an uneven load makes wheel and axle bearings. Bearings will begin to develop friction which will then burn them out or cause the bearing frames to collapse.

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