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

About 4 years ago, I hit a pothole with my Buick Regal hard enough to damage the tire and rim. I knew I was in trouble the instant it happened and pulled off onto the shoulder. The tire was flat and partially shredded by the time I got the car stopped. That’s when I spied the big divot in the rim.

I bought a new rim and tire. Everything seemed fine at first, but as I suspected might happen, my son and I ended up replacing that hub bearing about 3 months later. So, pay attention to any strange noises from that side of the car. Now I was travelling at approx 60mph when it happened. You were doing 35, so it might not be an issue for you. Still, iffen it were me, I’d keep an ear out for any funny noises for a while, just to be sure.

A four wheel alignment needs to be done and what should be noted is whether or not during the check if any of the specs related to toe, camber, or caster are off by a decent amount. If so, that means something is likely bent.

Don’t put the two new tires on the same side, put them on the same axle, either front or rear.

Any good tire shop will check the suspension for damage when they do any tire replacement or alignment, but you should ask, to be sure they do.

You made the right decision to get replacement wheels OP.

I thought I would provide an update. The junkyard got in two wheels, but one of them was “noticeably bent” so they looked around for another one and are saying that it will come in from MN tomorrow.

I am a bit anxious about tnis repair. Will the wheel alignment find damages, or is there something else that I need to ask the shop to specifically look for. My understanding of alighment is that it goes to a machine and the readings are indicators of what is wrong, and they have to be corrected. I guess I am worried that the mechanic may miss something (human error).

Our cars have not been in very many shops so we do not have much experience with mechanics, hence the paranoia.

As I mentioned previously, damage can exist which the eyeball cannot notice. If one or more of the specs (caster, camber, toe) is off by a fair amount then odds are something is bent to one degree or the other.

So, this will be indicated by the alignment numbers? But if these specs are off by a fair amount, would that indicate to the mechanic where the problem is?

A lot will depend upon how sharp the mechanic is with suspension issues. Those specs are all related and one can affect the other.
Knock the toe out and camber may change; knock the caster out and toe may change, knock camber out and toe will also change.

In most cases if damage exists due to curb strikes, etc the lower control arm is usually the first suspect and/or control/trailing arm on the rear.

A tiny fraction of a degree of could be due to normal wear or settling in of the suspension. If camber, caster, or toe (or all of them) show to be off a degree or something like that then I would suspect something has been tweaked.
Side to side specs should also be compared as they should be close to each other.

But I thought the purpose of alignment was to bring all these numbers to within range. Is it possible that something is not fixed by oversight, yet they can get the numbers right?

They are supposed to align the front suspension according to the repair estimate. Of course, mount and balance the tire/wheel.

Does the rear also need to be aligned (is this separate) or is this done with the alignment to the front suspension. (There is no separate quote for this.)

The best approach is to describe what happened to the guy at the shop and specifically request that the chassis be checked over for any damage before alignment. It might cost a few extra bucks, but safety is always worth a few extra bucks.

Let us know how you make out. We do care.

I think you should probably just do the 4 wheel alignment to make sure. If they can’t get the alignment withing specs, they’ll come looking for you with what needs to be done. I’ve got a feeling that it won’t be off by that much and they were glancing blows and not much other damage.

Is the 4-wheel alignment different from the “align front wheel suspension”? I just don’t know, sorry. Also, is the chassis going to be inspected from above or below (i.e. when the car is hoisted up).

Thank you everybody. Yes, it is clear that you do care to help a lot by giving tips and advice. I will keep you posted.

Sometimes numbers can be brought into range but it’s artificial if something is bent.
Shops have different methods. Some offer two wheel alignment with a four wheel option. Others offer four wheel alignment only.

Many cars have camber and caster that is not adjustable. It’s fixed at the factory and if one or both of those are off then something is worn out or bent. In some cases if it’s off only a little it’s due to minor wear or the suspension settling with age.

You should get a printout when the alignment is done and if there’s a problem a good alignment tech should notify you of this upon finding a problem or at the completion of the alignment.

The printout should show “before” and “after specs”. With many curb strikes the front has a tendency to toe in more than normal and the struck side may have more positive camber; depending upon how it hit the curb. Caster is usually the least affected unless it’s more of a frontal hit with the wheel.

Mustangman: Yes. And serviceable used steel wheels are less $$ than that. A friend recently sold his 1998 850 wagon then realized he had not included the Winter tires on steel wheels in the garage. He sold all 4 of those for $100.


I just wanted to inform you that we are not really done. The alignment of suspension that was being done is not 4-wheel alignment so I decided to add that to the mix. (Then is the earlier alignment of front wheel and suspension also needed?)

Also, the tires that will be replaced. I have the Michelin Primacy MXV4 88V tires for 195/60/R15 Almost everyone wants to replace with Michelin Primacy MXV4 88H. (This would mean that the front tires would have the H-rating and the back tires (the 20,000 miles -old) V-rated tires. Is this an issue, or should I look for V-rated tires. They appear to have some at Amazon and I guess I caould get them shipped for free.

Many thanks!

The tires appear to be the same, except for the speed rating. H rating will take you to 130MPH, the V rating goes beyond 130. Unless you plan on running at 100 or near there, the H should suit you just fine. The V rated tires will also cost more. IF (and that’s a strong IF) your insurance “requires” you to run the V rated, then get those…but that’s very rare.

I am reading, though, a bunch of reviews stating people are getting nowhere near the 60K out of them that’s advertised. Still, keeping the same brand/model on all 4 corners is preferable to mixing it up.

Thanks! So, in summary, it would normally not matter, but since the rear tires are V-rated, the two front should also be so.

I have to say, I did get 65,000 from my previous set, but then I don’t drive all that much, and that too, mostly on highways and for long distances when I do, and that took me about 10 years.

It does appear that the V-rated tires are gone from the company, so all that is available is probably older stock. The current tires were put in circa 2012, and have had 20,000 miles on them.

Just try and keep them on the same axle. Front or back doesn’t really matter at this point, but if the weather turns bad, try and keep the newest ones on the rear.

OK, just to make sure, the newest ones are the H-rated, the older ones are V-rated. And these should be on the back or the front. I guess this will all change at the next rotation. Does it matter that if I were to get new tires, then they would be of older stock?

Run them down, and replace all 4 at the same time, if you can. You’ll get more even wear, and the set will then last just that bit longer. This will probably go another 8 years, evidently, based on your previous mileage estimates.

In poor road conditions, you should have the newer tires on the rear. It will (help) prevent the rear from breaking loose and turning you around in the road.