Bent steel wheel and rim

I discovered this morning that the steel wheel and hub cap on the passenger side are a bit bent. I don’t know how long this has been so. I have to drive 70 miles today and 70 miles tomorrow and then I can drive another 39 miles to my customary repair shop on Monday to get it repaired. My question: is it safe to do this driving with the bent steel wheel and hub cap? The air in the tire seems okay. Thank you.

You should be able to do this without any problems. However, there is always an “if” involved.

If the wheel is bent then odds are that the alignment is also out and if the alignment is out then odds are that something in the suspension is bent and/or possible the wheel hub is also bent.

Tire will wear and steering wheel may shake. Wear will depend on how bad it’s bent and how far you drive.

How do you know it is bent? Do you feel vibration?

Can you post a photo?

Probably hit a curb or a wicked pothole

I’m guessing it’s quite visible

If you have a full-size spare, put it on…

Guys, you’re going to like this one . . .

Years ago, I knew a person who, if I recall correctly, didn’t know how to change a tire

Yet they had 2 full size spares in the trunk of their car. One spare was in the spare tire well, but the other one effectively used up a significant portion of the trunk, making it almost useless

Their rationale was that if they ran over a bunch of nails, some stranger would stop along and install those 2 spares

I’m guessing the don’t know how to change it and therfore are waiting for time to get it to a mechanic.

It depends on how it’s bent and how sever it is. If the entire wheel is still round except for one area and it still holds air…and you never noticed it while driving, check the lug nuts or put on a full size spare and drive on, but slowly to a shop to have it inspected.

If there has been no noticeable problem when driving and the damage doesn’t weaken the tire’s seating on the rim I can’t imagine that there’s a problem driving on it to a shop for inspection. It would help if you could link a photo of the wheel with the wheel cover(hub cap) off. There may be no safety issue at all.

Db, sometimes otherwise rational people exhibit odd eccentricities.

Re: not knowing how to change a tire, I suspect that’s far more common than we who hang out here think. According to a 2009 study I read, 75% of drivers don’t know how to change a flat.

And to think I even carry a torque wrench preset to 78lb/ft with the proper size socket on it (with a large X wrench for removal). It’s almost embarrassing. I might be just as eccentric as your friend that carries the two spares!

If it feels alright,get another steel rim and tire and let the good times roll(I wouldnt even keep the old one)

“According to a 2009 study I read, 75% of drivers don’t know how to change a flat.”

I honestly didn’t think that the numbers were that high, but apparently I was wrong.

I can’t say that I haven’t tried to educate a few folks, however.
When my friends & I were about to graduate from college, I realized that many of us would be driving longer distances than previously in order to get to our new jobs.

Knowing that one of my friends did not know how to change a tire, I offered to teach him.
He refused, politely.

I pointed out that rookie teachers dare not be late for class if they want to be rehired, and that as a result, knowing how to change a flat was a very important skill for him to have.
Again he politely refused.

So, I asked him, "If you get a flat, Charlie, what are you going to do?"
His response was…“I’ll wait for somebody to come along who can help me”.
To this day, he still has no clue about how to change a tire, but at least by this time he can afford to have AAA coverage.

"And to think I even carry a torque wrench preset to 78lb/ft with the proper size socket on it"

Well, at least now I don’t feel like such a weirdo. I carry a torque wrench with the proper size socket (set to 81 lb/ft), in the cargo area of my Outback. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who does things like this!

VDC, even my own kids repeatedly declined to let me show them how to change a flat. My daughter recently even declined to let me show her how to check he oil in the car she just bought. She relies on her boyfriend to keep it running.

Can’t teach someone who doesn’t want to learn.

the same mountainbike wrote:
And to think I even carry a torque wrench preset to 78lb/ft with the proper size socket on it (with a large X wrench for removal).

Maybe I’m wrong, but I always thought torque wrenches had to be stored set to the lowest value in order to keep them accurate over time.

It all depends on how badly it’s “bent”…Is it just a minor ding on the edge of the wheel or is the entire wheel deformed?

lion9car made my point. I always reset my torque wrench to its lowest setting after use. And I don’t tighten wheel nuts in one step - I use 60 ft-lb all around and then go to the 80 ft-lb called for value, tightening in a criss-cross (not circular) route.

BTW, does anyone know how/where to have a torque wrench calibrated?

I am always impressed when I see someone using a torque wrench on wheels. Somehow I have managed to have three flats in Montana during summer trips there. In each case when I had the tire in for repairs, the mechanic used a torque wrench when refitting the wheel to the car. I told him and the boss what I thought of this practice, and they said they always do it that way.

Wheel nut torque, oil drain plug nut size, and oil capacity are data I have penciled onto the cross-member in front of the radiator so I don’t have to fumble around each time I change oil or do the summer tire - winter tire switchover.

Exactly how accurate does a lug nut have to be?

The reason I leave it set is because I don’t want to have to try to read it in the dark in the middle of a pouring rain or driving snow. This way I just put it on and tighten the lugnuts, knowing that it’ll be far better than if I were to install the nuts without the torque wrench. If I were to submit it for calibration, it might be out of tolerance, but I can live with that.

You’re correct about the care and feeding of torque wrenches that will be used for critical applications. They should be stored unloaded and calibrated before being put into use again. Torque wrenches in regular use should be calibrated on a schedule. Typically that’ll be once a year.

A couple years ago my wife hit some road debris with her 2006 Sienna with the OEM tires. There was a dent in the front rim but the tire was undamaged and holding pressure. For the next week she drove for work and errands (short trips, 15 to 25 miles only). I checked the tire daily and it was fine. On the weekend, she drove to Philly and back (~150 miles). When she got back there was a noticeable bump about 1" around on the tire near the dent. The tire was replaced the next day. It was not an air bubble, the mechanic did not see any damage on the inside of the tire, and driveability was not affected. I did not want to take any chances though, I don’t think you should either.

Ed B.