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Rims Bent out of Round

Purchased used '08 Subaru Impreza w/23k miles last Nov. '09. At first oil chg, was told I replaced one tire and now all were out of round. I did not buy a new tire. Car supposed to be pre-certified checked. Dealer insists they didn’t put on one new tire. Furious, I took car to Costco and had 4 new tires put on. Mechanic advised front tires out of round. Now reluctantly going back to dealer to check/repair. Am totally ignorant about bent rims/out of round tires. Anything I should be aware of so I don’t get the run around again?

Were any rims bent? What kind of problems were you experiencing that were blamed on the tires/rims?

As grand sounding as PRE-CERTIFIED is it doesn’t really mean more than the dealer’s instructions to the service department.

There was no indication or statement about bent rims when I bought the car. At 3000 miles, I called to make an appt. for an oil change. In that conversation, desk clerk had my file up on computer and said it indicated I had replaced one tire. Dealership implied that because that one tire was replaced, and because it’s an AWD car, it caused the wheels to be out of round. I insisted I had not replaced one tire. I’m car-dumb – but not that car-dumb. I had no inkling the front wheels were out of round. BTW, the Costco mechanic upon inspecing the old tires, told me the back tires weren’t bad; one was newer than the other. He said the front tires were the bad ones.

You would have felt a vibration if the tires were out of round or rims were bent. I would replace front or rear tires in a pair. This is because of the difference in circumference left to right causes the running gear to turn at different rates left to right. This dealer is not trustworthy and I would not go back.

There is a mountain of confusion and grief over what may not amount to a mole hill of a problem. Technically the term “out of round” doesn’t seem to fit anywhere in this situation. There is a significant need for “All Wheel Drive” vehicles such as late model Subarus to have all 4 tires the same circumference. Taken to hyperbole some would say that all four tires must be the exact same brand, size, etc., ad nauseum. I have no idea where you can find someone who can see through all the clouds of dissent to find a practical answer to being “safe and reliable.” Which I will assume is your primary desire in this. But as always I suggest you find an independent tire dealer and ask the owner for help. Good luck.

I have an appt. to take the car back to the dealer on Weds. to have the bent rims straightened. They have someone who specializes in this who comes in once a week. Would I be endangering myself if I did not have the rims taken care of? Would it affect the mileage I’m getting if I don’t replace them? BTW, the dealership is paying for half of my cost to replace all four tires.

Bent rims, out of round rims, great omens of ominous doom. It is no wonder that we in the automobile service business are so often looked on with scorn. Please, patbattleman, find an honest, reliable third party to look at the situation and give you their opinion. A good, independently owned tire store should have the equipment to test each of your wheels/tires to determine if there is any problem. You don’t want to become a tire technician but you do deserve to know what is wrong with your car, and possibly nothing is wrong with it. Nowhere in your posts here have I seen an indication that there was any problem while driving the car. That keeps jumping out at me.

If you had a bent rim, you would probably feel it. The car would have a shake or vibration, particularly at highway speed. It is very unusual for a tire to be out of round, unless it is a really cheap tire that somehow got past quality control at the plant where it was made. A structural failure inside the tire is also possible, but once again, you would feel it when driving, and you have given no indication there is any such problem. You have only indicated that people have been telling you that you have bent rims or out of round tires. I suggest you take the car to another shop and simply ask them to check to see if you have bent rims or bad tires. Do not elaborate on the story. If they ask why, just say that you are curious. Any shop with a spin balancer or brake lathe can do this for you.

On the same topic, I am a little curious about this specialist who comes to the dealership once a week to straighten out bent rims. I have never heard of this being done. As far as I know, once a rim is bent, it’s bent and will never be right again. The exception to this rule is if you cut the center section off the outer rim and replace the outer rim. Custom wheel companies will sometimes do that for people who, say, want to put larger tires on their classic car while maintaining the original look. Is this what this specialist was supposed to do with your wheels?

Specialist supposedly has special equipment to straighten the bent rims. There was some vibration when I test drove the car, but I attributed it to it’s low profile to the road and the AWD. Since I put the new tires on, I have not noticed any vibration. The COSTCO mechanic who replaced my tires told me the left front and right front rims were out of round. Based on the info you have provided, I think I will cancel the appt. with the dealership and go to a reputable tire shop instead.