Straightening a bent rim?


I bent a steel rim on my car while driving. I’ve tried hammering it straight, with no results besides a ringing ear and angry neighbors!

Do you think if I bought one of those propane torches from Wal Mart or wherever, that I could heat it up enough to be responsive to the hammer?

It’s possible you or your local blacksmith could bang the thing back into shape, but would you really trust the rim to hold the bead on after that? I wouldn’t. Especially since you can probably buy a new (to you) rim from the junkyard for about what buying the torch would cost.

If the rim is bent badly enough that the tire won’t hold air you need a new wheel, or a used wheel from a junk yard.

You didn’t say what happened, but if the impact was bad enough to bend the wheel it surely destroyed the tire. You’re not planning to use the same tire again, are you?

And have the suspension parts checked.

Go to your local auto recycler and get a new one. A brand new steel one is $40-$50.

Straightening is a futile effort if you do not have the tools available including a wheel mouting and balancing equipment.

This is a job for a professional, and on a steel wheel isn’t worth the effort. Get a replacement from a salvage yard. Alloy wheels are easier to damage and can be fixed, but again it takes a pro. If you bend or break an alloy wheel the best bet is to get a remanufactured used wheel.

The tire is long gone, but the tire was still good, however I had the tire place take the tire off anyway since the bend caused it to not hold air… figuring it could be hammered to the point of holding air again. It’s not a large bend.

The reason I’m looking to straighten it myself is that 1) I can’t afford a new wheel and 2) I’m using my full-sized spare to drive around on, so I have no spare tire.

Have you actually priced one from a salvage yard? You should be able to come up with one for pretty cheap. Like others I just think this is a losing battle, heat or no heat.

In addition to local salvage yards you can also try

It’ll be better driving on a used-ugly rim then the tried-to-fix rim you have.

Taking a torch to it is NOT a good idea. Heating the metal weakens it. You bend a rim so bad that it won’t hold any air…then get another rim.

A propane torch will accomplish nothing and a steel rim is not worth using an acetylene torch on. Since your spare is full size why not have the tire swapped over and simply use the bent rim as a spare for the time being; assuming the spare wheel is the same style and assuming the bent wheel is still useable after the whaling from the hammer.

And Mr. Meehan is correct about checking the suspension. A bent rim often means a bent suspension component (usually a control arm on the front or trailing arm on the rear) and any damage may not be visually apparent.

Take a tape measure, pick a couple of reference points on both wheels (same side) and take a measurement. Do the same for the other side. They should be within about a 1/4" or less; preferably much less. If it’s a quarter or more then odds are something is bent other than the wheel rim.


Bite the bullet and buy a used steel rim at a junk yard, used tire seller, or discount retailer.

Forgive me for saying so, but I don’t see how you can consider throwing away money on a torch that won’t help, but you can’t afford a steel rim that will solve your problem.

If you are really so strapped for money right now, you should consider buying a doughnut spare. At least you could keep driving around on your full sized spare and you would have another spare.

The edges of steel wheels can sometimes be straightened but not by pounding on them with a hammer. First the wheel must be secured on a stand like a tire machine so it can’t move. Then, using a large adjustable wrench (a 20 or 24 inch long wrench) with its jaws adjusted down around the lip of the wheel, leverage is used to slowly bend the wheel back into shape. Don’t try to do it all at once…Keep moving the wrench along the bent area and slowly work it back into shape…

You are not beating the rim, you are beating a dead horse. Get a used rim. Those are cheap.

I wold visit my local salvage yard . . . find a match . . . take it home, have the old tire put on (if it wasn’t damaged) clean or repaint the new wheel to match the other 3, put on the wheel cover, and call it a day. The fixing of a bent wheel will be a lost cause. Rocketman