Having tires with a cracked rim that leaks air out is nothing new for vehicles when we run for a long time. This happens quite often over time with wear and tear. If you are someone having a similar experience and are looking to find out ‘how to fix a cracked rim that leaks air?’ you’re at the right place.
In this article, we will walk you through what a cracked rim is, how to diagnose the cracked rim, how to remove a tire from a cracked rim, and more. Keep reading to learn more.
How to Diagnose a Cracked Rim?
The rim we find on our vehicle tire provides stability and strength in the form of metal, alloy, steel, or aluminum rings around the tire. And with time, the rim could actually crack, causing air leakage in the wheels. This creates an unstable and wobbly tire to run on.
To diagnose, we need to identify the signs of a cracked rim, so here are some of the crucial signs of a cracked rim;
- Failed Tire Pressure; when there is a bend or a crack on our tire rim, we could notice that the pressure begins to reduce in our tire, causing uneven wear and tear of the rubber. This will affect the fuel mileage of the vehicle.
- Vibration in the Steering Wheel; another sign we can’t miss over the cracked rim is the strange noise of vibration continuously observed on the steering wheel. When we notice it, we shouldn’t ignore the signs because we will end up with a blown-out tire.
- Control Over the Wheel; another major sign of having a cracked rim is losing control over the wheel when driving. We will not be able to turn the wheel or be in control when taking a right or left turn, or even handle the corners properly.
There are many reasons why we end up with a cracked rim; one very common reason would be our driving pattern, taking the wrong turn, not handling the wheel safely when driving on hills, around pits and puddles, etc., without taking a toll on the rim.
Also, we need to make sure our tire is not out of the air because when driving with a flat tire, the leaking air creates a toll on the rim, cracking it eventually. Sometimes the rim cracks when we bump and jump into potholes or pits; these end up with a dent or crack on the rim.
We need to watch out when driving on the curbs because our tire rim will not correspond in a healthy way over the curb sharpness or length. The bending and maneuvering could damage the wheel.
Can you Repair a Cracked Rim?
Repairing a cracked rim depends on the severity of the damage caused. Not all the cracks on our vehicle rim could be a welding or epoxy fix.
Some cracks need to be simply replaced with a new one. Some small hairline cracks on the rim could be easily fixed, while other growing long and deep cracks can’t be fixed stable enough to last a long time. The crack will be back eventually to mess with the wheels again.
There are SMART repair techniques we could use for tiny dents and scrapes on the rim that are pretty cost-effective to handle.
What they do is mark the area with the dent or scrape, sand the damage and fill the damaged area, and dry heat it. And finally, finish it off with a good polish to top it off. And if the rim has a major crack, then we will have to consider welding or filling the crack with a sealant or epoxy hardener. If the crack is even worse, then it is better to replace the rim with a new one.
How to Remove a Tire From a Cracked Rim?
We can remove the tire either by hand or by using a tire removal machine. We will be discussing both methods, and you could use whichever is convenient for you.
Removing the Tire from the Rim by Hand
- The first step is to park the vehicle in a safe and spacious area with the least distraction possible. And then, start the process by disassembling the air valve and the tire. For this, use the valve remover and deflate the tire, then screw the cap of the tire valve clockwise and place the tire on the floor.
- There is a strong glue they use to bind the tire to the rim. You could use a flat screwdriver, or you could use your hand strength to separate the tire from the rim. Some even run another vehicle over the edge of the tire to loosen the glue.
- Now completely remove the tire from the rim by stretching the tire with some grease applied around the edges. When handling the tire manually, we use a pry bar and a screwdriver to pull it out without damaging the rim. Also, don’t forget to place a mat under it to stop the tire from slipping away. Applying grease will help reduce the damage from scratches and other dents that could occur while removing.
Removing the Tire from the Rim Using a Tire Changing Machine
- Firstly, remove the tire from the car using a jack and wrench to unbolt the screw, then deflate the tire to replace it.
- Now start removing the tire beads; we know that the tire is glued to the rim. We could actually use a tire bead remover to break free the tire from the rim.
- Now use the machine to remove the tire from the rim. We do this by placing our tire between the rubber pad and the presser’s surface. When the tire is separated from the rim, apply a lubricant to create an easy gap between them. Also, be careful with the pressure plate when removing the tire from the rim.
How to Fix a Cracked Rim with Welding?
It is better to use the TIG or Tungsten Inert Gas welding method over the MIG or the Metal Inert Gas method because MIG will weaken the beads by thinning them while also burning the alloy around them.
- To weld a tire rim, first, locate the area that has the crack and clean the surface around it. Then drill around 4-5mm diameter holes at the crack points to stop the rim from cracking further while we grind or hammer the rim for a proper shape.
- Now that we have drilled the holes, it’s time that we make a wider groove in the crack so that we can easily deposit the welding rod in it. We make the groove by grinding it.
- Now use an AC TIG welding and place the silver deposit onto the crack and fuse the weld with the aluminum wheel caps or rim deposit by heating the argon flame on it. Do it on both sides of the cracked rim to completely fill in the gap.
- Finally, grind the area with a 200-grit sized emery for a rough finish and use a 400-grit emery paper for a smooth finish on the rim.
Before deciding whether the crack should be welded or sealed with epoxy or any other sealant, the location is more important. For example, if the crack is at the inboard side running in an orthogonal to the spin should be welded. Or if the crack is on the backside of the wheel across the flange or the bead area at a right angle to the wheel spin, it could be welded. Any other cracks in locations like the front face or on the spokes, as well as the cracks within the barrels, cannot be welded.
How to Fix a Cracked Rim with Epoxy or Sealant?
To fix a crack by using epoxy or sealant, start by identifying the location of the crack. After identifying the location of the crack, brush clean the crack surface. Then make sure to use some rubbing alcohol on the crack and let it dry.
Once the alcohol is dried, mix an exact quantity of resin with a hardener. Then stir the mixture with a stirrer vigorously so that the epoxy comes to an even color. Now apply the mixture onto the cracked rim surface. Make sure to use a flat scraper to smear the mixture evenly on the crack.
Once done, let the treated area dry for a few hours so the epoxy would bond well. Make sure it dries naturally. And reinstall the crack as needed.
How to Prevent a Cracked Rim?
we could prevent our tire rim from cracking by making sure we don’t expose the rim to harsh sunlight often. Always Park in a garage. Whenever we travel in snow or mud, we clean the tire as soon as we are done driving. And better not to let the tire run deflated for a long time because a flat tire can damage the rim. And also, make sure you drive safely without knocking the tires on potholes or curbs, etc. Doing so could prevent the tire rim from cracking.
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Video Credits – J Wheelie
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