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Alloy wheels are more attractive than steel and
can increase performance, so they are quite popular with motoring enthusiasts.
With their variety of patterns and finishes, alloy wheels are an easy way to
customize your vehicle.
Alloy wheels are a bit softer than steel and can
become cracked, scratched or bent. Usually the wheels can be repaired, but
sometimes the damage is too severe and safety considerations demand wheel
replacement. When possible, repair is the affordable route to take. At a
reputable wheel repair shop, qualified technicians thoroughly inspect your
damaged alloy wheels before beginning any repair work.
Make sure to select a professional, reliable
repair shop. Repairing damaged wheels requires specialized skills and
equipment. First, wheel repair specialists thoroughly wash your wheel.
Responsible technicians are careful to use just the right cleaner so as not to
damage the finish. Dust and dirt can hide scratches or cracks, so cleaning is
an important first step in the repair process.
Next, a technician inspects your wheel for radial
and lateral runout. Radial runout means how much the wheel is “out of round.”
This is determined using a micrometer gauge and a dial indicator. A dial
indicator is placed on the wheel and then the wheel is spun. If the wheel
travels up or down while spinning, it is somewhat out of round.
Lateral runout describes side-to-side wobble.
Technicians place your damaged alloy wheel on a vehicle simulator. Correct
application of heat, hydraulic pressure and vibrations return the wheel to its
proper shape. If any cracks are hidden by chrome or paint, they become apparent
during this process. The shop’s welders then repair the cracks. After the metal
cools, the wheel is as fully strong as it was originally. If lateral runout or
cracks are too severe, or appear in certain places, the wheel is declared
irreparable. In most cases, cracks or bends can be fixed, saving you a great
deal of money.
Chrome-plated wheels are particularly susceptible
to cracks because the chroming process makes them more brittle. If a chromed
wheel is badly bent, it may be necessary to remove the chrome in order to
inspect for cracks. If you have chosen your alloy wheel repair shop wisely,
they have the ability to effect any cosmetic repairs, matching the finish or
colour of your wheel and ensuring that its repaired condition meets or exceeds
the original specifications.
Remounting the wheel is the last step. If you can,
it is best to have the tire mounted on the wheel by the repair shop as they will
accomplish the task without marring the new finish.
A wheel’s soundness goes far beyond its aesthetic
value. An incorrectly repaired wheel poses a danger to you and your passengers,
so quality repair shops will urge replacement if they cannot completely mend
the wheel. Mostly, damaged wheels can be repaired, so it makes sense to have
the wheel inspected at a reliable wheel repair shop before laying out cash to
replace the wheel.
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