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Is it safe to repair a bent wheel (Volvo 850, 1997 base sedan with OEM steel wheels)?

I recently hit an unmarked jutting-out curb at around 35 mph on my 1997 Volvo 850 base sedan on a dark rainy nite and both my driver’s side (steel) wheels were impacted. I took it to a body shop and while the mechanic said that he thought the front wheel should be replaced (but not the second), he later called back to say that he had not been able to locate an used wheel. He suggested that upon more thinking, he thought he could repair both wheels (and this would take about 0.5 hours of straightening it up on some frame.) I wonder if this would be adequate and whether the safelty of the car could be compromised. I have not driven above 40mph after the accident, but I do not find any issues with the steering.

Btw, the guy also said that both tires were shot.

I guess my question is whether a repaired wheel can be unsafe and what to look for in order to have a worry-free drive (on account of the repaired wheel, at least).

Any suggestions? I have included pictures of both impacted wheels (the first is for the front drver’s side and the second if of the rear driver’s side).

Why not just look in your phone book under “used automobile parts” and find a set of wheels yourself. They can’t be that hard to find some for a car that old, and shouldn’t cost too much.

Then you can take them with you when you go for new tires and swap out the wheels then.


I’ve never had a bent wheel repaired and I never plan to have it done. Buy a set of used wheels.

Thanks! I looked at some junkyards in the extended metro area. I get two kinds of lug nuts (none of them inventoried). How can I get the size of the lug nut. The options are:

4 lug, 15x6 (steel, disc)


5 lug, 15x6 (steel, disc)

Are these the number of nuts showing on the surface of the wheel? (They are 5.)

Many thanks!

Yes, those are the number of lug nuts that hold the wheel on (the number that show up on the wheel). Boneyards can access cross reference databases to ensure that the new wheels will fit. Be sure to use these resources (or internet resources) to ensure that you get the right wheels. Lug patterns can differ.

Here’s a link to a good layman’s site that explains wheels and other good stuff.

Yes, steel wheels can be repaired and be safe afterwards if the tech knows what they are doing. No, I wouldn’t do it. Why? because new steel wheels are cheaper than the labor to fix it.

Check on - I found several steel wheels near me, about $50 each.

Just out of curiosity, does it make any difference if OP has wheel bolts instead of lugnuts? My mom had a Volvo of similar vintage, and I recall them having bolts, and a “sixth” hole to hang the wheel on while you threaded the bolts.

Have you tried googling ‘wheel repair yourcity’? While they typically repair alloy wheels, they might handle steel wheels, too.

It looks like one of my steel rims when I hit a large pothole to bend the outer edge of the rim. I had that happen two winters ago; hit a large pothole at night with slightly low air pressure in a low profile tire. Since then I make more sure to keep the air pressure up especially when the temperature goes down.

I repaired mine with some stout hammer blows to the rim with the tire removed. The work took all of about 5 minutes for both sides.

Steel wheels are work hardened (strengthened) from the manufacturing process so bending the metal back to shape is just a little more work hardening so I feel safe with what was done. Bending steel too many times will eventually make it break due to fatigue but I don’t see that here with only two bends, one in from the pothole and then one out with the hammer.

I’m with Wha Who on this question. One the advantages of steel wheels is their ability to withstand some bending and rebending without significant loss of strength or resiliency. I sustained similar damage a few years ago to two wheels on my 1999 Honda. My local brake/suspension guy fixed and rebalanced the wheels and there’s been no problem.


Yes, lugnuts versus lugbolts does matter

If the hub is designed for lugbolts, it will be threaded.

If the hub is designed for lugnuts, it will not have threads. It will be splined for the studs. Studs are easy to replace. Knock out the old studs and knock in the new ones

From the pictures, I’d say the OP’s car has bolts, not nuts.

If you go to this website,, and enter your vehicle information, it may tell you what wheels from other makes of vehicles will fit on your car.


Gotta agree with DrRocket, the first picture sure looks like bolts and not lug nuts. Never seen a lug nut with no center hole and no stud exposed. Those are not caps on there either.

I think Euro cars tend to use bolts rather than nuts for some reason. My old VW Rabbit used bolts, while my Corolla and Ford truck use nuts. I don’t remember the Rabbit’s wheels being any better or worse in terms of service ease or reliability b/c it used bolts. Makes you wonder why there’s two different wheel attachment systems, eh?

I decided to follow the advice from the morning and got my local junkyard to ship two wheels to the body shop @$75 apiece including shipping but that is the price for living in a small city in the midwest. Btw, the price for repair would have been 30 minutes of body labor ($60/hour here) as per the quote. So, he was right in the sense, that it would have been substantially cheaper (as a percentage) to repair the wheel.

Also, I think the lug bolts or nuts can be reused, can they not? Also, Volvo does not give an option for the year and model beyond the ones I posted so I think that we are probably okay here once we agree on 5 lug.

Is there anything else like axle junction/bolt, etc that I should ask the shop to be careful about?

It looks to me like both tires have been cut and don’t be surprised if there is some suspension damage; usually related to control arms.

That rim damage may not look that bad but the impact involved is substantial.


Yes, the lugbolts or lugnuts can be reused

Thanks! Yes, we are getting two new tires and Iwill ask them to check the suspension. I am worried about some ball joint or something having gotten loose/broken and then no amount of new wheels will solve the problem. Do they have to look into this as a matter of course while installing the new wheels or will they have to look at it additionally while aligning (which they are also going to do).