Wheels are one of the most noticeable features on any vehicle, if not the most noticeable feature. If your wheels are damaged, it can alter your vehicle’s appearance.
Unfortunately, rim damage is easy to do. Curbs are the most obvious source of wheel damage a/k/a “curb rash” (more on that here), but there are many other ways for your wheels to get damaged:
- Automated car washes where your vehicle is “pulled” through the wash. These systems put your tire and wheel between two metal rails, either of which can do damage.
- Potholes, particularly in parking lots. It’s easy to overlook a small dip in the parking lot, but driving down into a hole that often has a jagged edge is no good.
- Road debris, especially if your vehicle has very low profile tires
Wheel Repairs Are Expensive
If your wheel is scratched while parallel parking (for example), you have a couple of options:
- You can buy a new wheel. This isn’t the cheapest option, but many people decide to buy a new wheel anyways (more on that in a moment).
- You can have someone repair your wheel for $75-$150. Of course, wheel “repair” isn’t fixing damage so much as it is applying putty, sanding the wheel down, and re-applying clear coat. This type of repair is always visible after the fact.
- You can cover up the damage with a set of RimBlades, Plasti-Dip, etc. It’s not a bad solution (RimBlades will apply right over damage), but it’s not ideal.
- You can do your own repair with a DIY wheel repair kit, which will save you a few bucks but make your repair even more obvious than if it were completed professionally.
Which brings us back to option #1 – buying a replacement wheel.
If you’ve got an OEM wheel, you can buy a replacement online easily enough. You can expect to spend hundreds of dollars, but you’ll get a perfect replacement. To offset the cost, you can probably sell your damaged wheel on eBay or Craigslist.
If you’ve got an aftermarket wheel, buying a replacement can be difficult. Many aftermarket wheels are limited production, meaning that you’ll have to buy a used wheel or find a close (but not exact) replacement. Sometimes, you have to buy a wheel that’s the wrong color and have it refinished to match the wheels on your vehicle. It’s doable, but not at all cheap.
Basically, there’s no good way to deal with a damaged wheel. Therefore, you should protect them from damage.
Preventing Wheel Damage
The best way to handle wheel damage is to prevent it. Prevention starts with careful driving and parking, but there’s more to it than that.
- Many tires are available with a thick ‘rim protection’ bead that will reduce the odds you scrape your wheels against a curb. These tires often cost more than standard replacement tires, however, and the thickest beads tend to make a tire look beefy and truck-like.
- You can attach a wheel protector, like RimBlades. RimBlades attach directly to your wheel, and they are made from a pliable rubber/plastic material that absorbs damage that can also stretch without tearing.
- You can avoid situations that could result in rim damage. Parallel parking isn’t a necessity in most cities – avoid rim damage by finding a garage. Likewise, if you avoid driving in the winter, you can avoid a lot of potholes.
Obviously we’re a bit biased, but we think buying RimBlades makes the most financial sense. Tires with a rim protecting bead demand a premium price, and in many cases, they offer very little protection. As for “avoiding damage,” it’s always a good idea, but it’s easier said than done.
RimBlades are an easy-to-install, non-permanent solution to prevent rim damage. RimBlades use a top-notch adhesive to stay in place (the same stuff that you find on wheel tape weights, which are used for wheel balancing) and a proprietary rubber and plastic blend that absorbs rim damage and prevents scratches. Plus, a set of RimBlades that will protect four wheels is less expensive than wheel repair.
Learn more about RimBlades here and pick up a set today!