These road flaws are a threat to businesses as well as private drivers. A RAC report published in Febuary suggests that a business can lose as much as £250 each day a vehicle is off the road due to this kind of damage. Many SMEs rely on four to five delivery or other vehicles, and will eventually see one or more of them out of service to replace or repair a cracked alloy wheel.
Potholes are often the result of flooding and harsh winters, both of which have become all too common. The trend shows no signs of reversing any time soon, either. They are particularly threatening to drivers with newer alloy wheels. These wheels are more ‘high performance’ than old-fashioned, heavier steel wheels, but are also more brittle. As a result, they are particularly vulnerable to potholes and other breaks in the pavement. They can easily crack or buckle, making the vehicle no longer safe or roadworthy. Worse still, cracked alloy wheel repair is beyond the capacity of many garages and repair shops, who instead advocate replacing the expensive alloy wheels when damaged. Repairing your cracked alloy wheels is often the less expensive option. Cracked alloy wheels can be TIG welded the below photo shows a BMW alloy wheel repaired.
So what can a driver do about cracked alloy wheels and buckled wheels?
Potholes can be impossible to avoid, especially when they are filled with water and difficult to spot. Whether or not drivers can recall having hit a pothole recently, they should check their wheels for signs of cracking, buckling or other weakness. Damaged or cracked alloy wheels can be repaired as strong as new by a competent garage, but only if you become aware of the damage before the wheel fails, causing an accident or worse. If you do discover a cracked alloy wheel, the repair is almost always an option.
Japanese manufacturers come out on top in recent vehicle safety tests
In a recent round of extensive comparison testing, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety spotlighted more than 20 vehicles with a top safety rating. Just who won was a bit of a surprise. Japanese manufacturers Subaru and Honda scored better in many areas than several German and Scandinavian manufacturers traditionally considered very safe. In particular, Audi’s A4 (Along with Toyota’s Prius V) received the worst rating.
One of a car’s most important safety features is, of course, its suspension, and this is one area where German manufacturers like Audi still shine. As more and more drivers opt for alloy wheels rather than the heavier and less expensive steel variety, the safety and quality of their suspension become even more important. Alloy wheels are indeed better in most respects. They are lighter, stronger, and can lead to improved fuel efficiency. Their one drawback is that they can be brittle, and can crack or buckle on hitting a curb, pothole or some other obstruction. The good news is that a well-equipped garage can usually repair buckled alloy wheels these days.
Avoiding buckled alloy wheels
I won’t whinge on about the state of the roads today, but I will say that there are a few things you can do to minimise the expense of replacing or repairing a buckled alloy wheel. Buckled alloy wheel repair is by far the less expensive option.
Most avoidable cases of buckling begin as a small crack or flaw, one that can be easily missed. If you have noticed a tendency for one tire to lose pressure slowly, or if you actually do see a flaw in the wheel, you must act quickly. A flawed alloy wheel is weak, and could fail completely when you least expect it. Get your car to a proper garage or repair shop as soon as possible. A good shop can handle a buckled alloy wheel repair quickly, returning all of its strength and safety and getting you back on the road for a fraction of the price of replacement. If your garage tells you that you need to replace your alloy wheels, call around and ask about cracked or buckled alloy wheel repair first. You’ll be glad you did.