Rim torn by roadside debris. Can I repair my wheel and safely use it?

Hello all! I didn’t know where to turn, but I remember listening to Car Talk from the backseat as a kid, so here I am. Apologies for improper terminology. Please correct as needed.
Blowout flat going through a turn. There had recently been an accident that took out the guard rail on the other side. There must have been some metal debris on the side of the road since my front passenger tire blew out and ripped the flange on the rim that retains the tire has a slice in it and a chunk hanging off. please see pic:

A rim repair shop said they would remove the leftover bit and smooth out the raw area. I’m just getting my start so money is tight. I am handy. so if that is all they would do, then I am confident I could do that myself.

I am trying to research repairing this so figure out how best to do so. The fact I do not know the right terms is making it difficult. What would the proper search terms be to research this? If you have advice on how to tackle this, that wold be great too. I do not care about it looking perfect, that isn’t happening. If it can be safely made driveable, I will be happy. Cutoff/grinding wheel → files → polishing seems like the way from my untrained eye.

Will this even be safe to drive if I do that?

The metal part that’s cut, that’s not just a wheel cover, right? If that’s part of the wheel iteself, me, I’d get the entire wheel replaced. I presume you already know the tire’s unusable, can’t be repaired.

You might can purchase a used one for a song, try your nearby auto-recyclers, pick-n-pull store, etc.

Ok, here’s another of George’s stories … a guy working construction comes driving by the other day in his truck as I’m on the curb, stops and yells out the window “Hey buddy, do you need any hubcaps for your truck?”. I’ve never heard that question before so I ask him why he wants to know? He says he just bought 10,000 used hubcaps and is trying to sell them … lol …

From the image you provided, it would appear the bead on the wheel was severely damaged.

The bead is what allows the tire to seal to the wheel.

If it were my vehicle, I would replace the wheel.



10-4 guys. Isn’t worth an accident over, thats for sure. Ill get a new wheel


Good for you. If it was an engine pulley with a nick on the side say, might be worth taking a chance going at it with a file to smooth it out. But a wheel? Too much risk for another blowout, possibly causing injury to you and others.


Considering I’ve seen the bead on a new tire getting slightly pinched during install result in a sidewall collapse a few days later, I am glad you decided to replace it.

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You might want to contact your insurance company. Perhaps they can pursue a claim against the person at fault for the original accident.


Maybe, more likely to twist your own insurance into it over safety concerns and risk mitigation. Some even will replace windshields. Though suppose that depends on location and insurance though. It is after all in the insurance companies best interest that your vehicle be safe right? A rim is a whole lot cheaper than a unpredictable wreck.

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The damage appears to be to the lip of the wheel, the rim is very thick in that area. Closer inspection of the wheel is necessary to determine if the rim has excessive damage.

I see many wheels in this condition, I don’t understand how this could be the blame for a collision.

Having the wheel repaired by a professional is the most cost effective option and it will not impair your safety. It is NOT a DIY job. Just be sure that the shop you chose has the proper equipment to restore the bead area to OEM specs.

The only downside, and you won’t notice this at first, is that they will spray paint the repair to match the wheel. Most wheels are powder coated. The paint will fade faster than the powder coat, but if you, or they, go over the spray paint with a clear spray that has UV inhibitors in it, it will take a lot longer to show.

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I’d think a good shop could grind then weld up and smooth out the weld, then paint.

Well, except for the grind part, this is what I was trying to say. A real wheel repair shop will have a machine the will roll form the rim after any welding that is needed is done. This not only insures that the rim conforms to the proper profile, it hardens the surface of the aluminum alloy.

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