Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

1 crack found in three of my wheels

Hi: I am looking for advice. Yesterday, I went to buy tires on my 2007 BMW. The car had run flats on previously. While replacing the tires, the tire guy found, in three wheels, one crack. (One in each wheel). One of the cracks looked like it had been welded in the past. The tire man told me that if he put on the new tires, they would leak. So I had him put the old run flats back on until I knew what I was going to do.

So, now I am wondering. Can I get these wheels repaired? The cracks are hairline, barely visible when cleaned from dirt. Can I have a wheel refinisher weld the wheels and have them not make the tires leak and still be structurally sound? Or do I have to replace the wheels? At 300-400 bucks per wheel, that will suck! Especially on top of the cash for the new tires.

Any other options? I am in need of reliable answers to make the best decision. I appreciate your help.


photos of cracks

Well that’s nothing if not annoying.

I can’t tell you about repair options since I am completely clueless.

I, however, would just find a whole new set of wheels. There are gobs of ways to do this and at least some of them probably wouldn’t break the bank.

These can be TIG welded and repaired. It looks like you are using very low profile tires on oversized rims. You didn’t say but I’m guessing 17" or larger.

Before investing in a weld repair, you need to make sure that the wheels are true. With them mounted on the car, rotate the wheel and check for any wobble at the edge of the rim. This should be done with a dial indicator on a magnetic mount.

The cracks could be due to hitting pot holes or obstructions. The force needed to crack the rim could also cause it to be out of round or out of plane. I made up the out of plane term because I don’t know the true name, but it is where the rim, that is the edge of the wheel is true to itself, but the plane of the holes for the lug nuts is not parallel with the plane of the rim or edge of the wheel. That will cause the wheel to have a slight wobble that you might not see with the naked eye.

BTW, the cracks in the first two pictures will not cause a tire to lose air. The bead will still seat. The wheel has not suffered any structural damage. This part of the wheel only serves as a backstop for the tires bead. Can’t tell you anything from the third picture.

One more very important detail. make sure the crack is stop drilled before it is welded, otherwise there is a risk that it will continue to crack after the weld.

I bought a used car that had a cracked front wheel. I didn’t realize it and couldn’t account for the poor handling. On the second attempt at professional balancing, the mechanic showed me the crack.

You can barely see the crack when the wheel is off the car, but when driven it opens up and causes the wheel to flex. It could only get worse.

I bought a replacement wheel from a salvage yard. It cost me $24 I think. I wonder if you would be best off calling around for a set of used replacement wheels. They need not come from a BMW. Other cars use the same size.

My vote is for another set of wheels and the elimination of run-flat tires. The last thing in the world you want is an instant and catastrophic wheel failure at 70 MPH.

New wheels, use wheels from a yard or a wheel refinisher. Try a company call LQK or Keystone. They sell used wheels and can repair yours. I trust this company completely. I used them for years. Never once had a problem. Wheels always came back looking like new. By the way LQK and Keystone are the same company just depends were you are as to what they call them selfs.
They also sell aftermarket and used parts.

I’d ditch the run flat tires and your current cracked wheels too. You can buy standard wheels for your BMW in the “aftermarket” which has all kinds of quality wheel manufacturers. Many of the aftermarket wheels look better, are stronger, and are much cheaper to replace if you whack a curb.

I would replace all four wheels with four steel wheels. Consumer level alloy wheels tend to be less reliable than steel wheels. If you want racing level alloy wheels, maybe you can take out a loan on you home.

They may not look as fancy, but some cheap wheel covers can do fine unless you consider a car a fashion statement and not a form of transportation.

Excellent photos. They take out a lot of the guesswork.

Fractures of this nature are an indication of either occlusions or inclusions in the cast material or of a design defect leaving too little material to deal with the normal operating stresses. Which means that these wheels should be replaced. Repairing one area when bad design or casting exists is futile. And, since it’s the wheels involved, could be dangerous. If the wheels can’t handle normal driving stresses, think what they might do if you hit a whompin’ big pothole.