Purchasing wheels from junkyard

I just left the car (2006 Sentra 1.8S) at the mechanic for rotors and pads replacement. He noted the dents on the wheels. We must have hit potholes, that’s the only possibility. Only one wheel has a major dent, the other two are relatively minor. I have no idea how the wheels have a dent. The car does shake above 60mph but we rarely drive at that speed. The car rarely goes on the highway so, around the city, we don’t feel any effects of those dents.

I have been toying with an idea of getting wheels from the junkyard. My wife is not interested in spending $300-$400 on the wheels, as the car is not worth more than 2K, if at all and she wants to replace it soon because there are few issues like the AC is shot and fixing it is $600+ and she doesn’t see the point on spending money on this car. But I don’t want to. The car runs fine, does the job of running errands. Being in NY, we have to deal with the heat for 2-3 months only. Ideally, I would like to take it to the grave.

So I plan to get the wheels from a junkyard. I checked car-part and there are few within 50 miles of me. How does one go about the prices? Most of them do not list the prices, the listing states to call. Some prices are ridiculous (like $100 for a scuffed wheel when new is available for $150). I would ideally buy 3 wheels. Is there any chance of haggling?

Any tips anyone can provide?

Thanks in advance.

There is your answer . If the price is more than you want to pay then say Thank You and call someone else. Once again I say listen to the wife and replace this thing and have a more dependable vehicle with more up to date safety features.
As for haggling without knowing who you are going to deal with the answer to that is try it and see what happens.

Buy a set of 4 so they match. They’d rather sell a set abd it makes it easier for YOU to get a matching 3 and it gives you a spare if you damage another wheel. Haggle because you can.

Look to craigslist as well. Often you can get a set of wheels AND tires in good shape for cheap. People that buy flashy wheels often buy larger ones so their tires no longer fit so they have a full set including tires they want out of their storage spaces.

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@Mustangman Actually, I was planning to go down an inch. Being a special edition, it has 16-inch wheels and the tire assortment is more for 15inch wheels for regular 1.8S On one of the Sentra forums, one did good detailed post about it https://www.b15sentra.net/forums/showthread.php?t=99430 I couldn’t find anyone to tell me conclusively that it is OK to go down an inch. (Mine is QG18DE.) Will appreciate if youhave an idea and can comment.

@VOLVO_V70 I agree, I would prefer to replace the car, but there are other priorities in life and due to son’s medical issues, I don’t want to make any unnecessary purchases.
We have another vehicle, 2015 Forester with Eyesight that wife drives. So she is set with regards to safety.

If you’re going down an inch you have to buy all 4, right, along with tires?

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Yes, that is true. I can replace the tires early, if I can put 15inch wheels. I just want to do it once and do it right so that we don’t have discussion, whats the point in spending more on this car.

Check with Tire Rack.com. They can sell you a set of new steel wheels with mounted and balanced tires. They are shipped uninflated to your mechanic for installation. They will also sell you cheap plastic wheel covers if you want.


I don’t know how you’ll get a decent set of tires and wheels for less than this.

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Yes, you can fit 15 inch wheels. RockAuto sells steel wheels for your car for $58 a piece.

You will need to heed this if you buy used wheels;15 x 6; Offset: ET45; 4 Bolt 4.5 bolt circle with a 66.1 mm center hole or larger. Factory wheels are marked with this info on the inside. Some lack the center bore so take a measuring device or cut piece of cardboard or something to insure the bore is greater than 66.1mm. As further confirmation, the car is equipped with a 10.2 inch diameter front brake rotor. This would fit inside a 14 inch wheel with no issues.

That used to be a common Ford and Mazda bolt pattern. Ford’s center bore is about 78mm, not sure about Mazda. That opens the door on availability.

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Is Noelm making this way to complicated ? I thought that 15 inch tires where more difficult to find. This is a 13 year old vehicle that the wife really does seem to want replaced .
Just find a used tire shop and put something cheap on . So what if they don’t match ?

CHEAP 16 inch tires in the Sentra’s factory size of 195/55/16 tires are hard to find. Tire Rack lists more than 7 pages of tires in that size. They also list more than 9 in a 195/65/15 size but the prices start 50% lower.

We’re still talking over $400 for a set of wheels and tires, though…

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You can check ebay to get a good idea on the price of replacement wheels. Also you may be able to find a shop in your area that can refurbish your wheels for a lower cost than junkyard wheels.

Junkyard wheels may not be straight either. The most critical area, and the hardest to detect is that the plane of the hub mating surface is parallel with the plane of the rim. If they are not, the wheel will wobble. Small dents in the rim usually don’t affect drivability as much, if at all.

There are 6 wheel repair shops near me, it’d be worth it to see if the OP has one near him. Just google ‘wheel repair mytown’.

They advertise alloy wheel repair, call and see if they’ll repair steelies…

A dented wheel? You’d have to hit a pothole with a deflated tire to dent a wheel. I’ve hit a lot of rough stuff, blown a tire, but never dented a wheel.

You need to reconcile this first. Saving money is no reason to be risking lives, especially your own. That the car rattles above 60 matters even if you rarely drive on the freeways: something is wrong that could fail at 30. Safe driving requires safe wheels. There’s no way you’re going to buy safe wheels & tires for $400. Price a replacement car. As I Fratelli Magliozzi told us, when your wife asks you to do something, the correct answer is, ‘Yes dear.’

Bending a steel rim by hitting a pothole isn’t all that unusual. But not usually this bad:

This is more common:

You can check on car-parts or check the local yards. You don’t negotiate, you just ask the price and condition. I replaced a couple on my car from the junk yard and no problem. The thing is though, there are some things you just don’t talk over with the other half. You just do it or not. I never asked my wife if I should buy new wheels. There are some things they just are not in a position to fully evaluate. So get the new wheels for heaven’s sake so you can drive faster than 60 on the freeway.

That is very much a possibility.

The major dent is less than the second picture (red car) that @texases

Thanks, @Mustangman for specific info, will take a look at RockAuto

Thank you everyone else for comments. My mechanic suggested that repairs are going to cost more than a wheel, so if I choose, just get a basic wheel to get the job done.

I completely disagree with that

I’ve seen lots of dented rims, yet the tire was holding air

ever hear of curbs . . . ?


Some potholes bend more than rims…