Impact is an obvious cause of bent rims, but other more subtle kinds of damage can make your wheels vulnerable over time. Understanding what causes bent rims will help you stay alert to potentially dangerous wheel conditions that require repair.
Proper tire inflation is a basic tenet of auto safety. Many drivers don’t think about how underinflated tires can lead to bent rims. Driving on rough roads with poorly inflated or low-profile tires makes your rims more susceptible to impact from bumps, rocks, and ruts.
Winter road salt causes metal corrosion. While car owners usually think of corrosion as primarily a cosmetic issue, drivers should be more attentive to this slow-moving wheel damage to understand what causes of bent rims. All types of metal are vulnerable, even if some alloys are more resistant to corrosion or rust. A corroded rim is a weakened rim, and a weak rim is more susceptible to damage from a bad impact. Badly corroded rims can become uneven, and an uneven rim will eventually not form a bad seal with a tire. Tires that deflate repeatedly and mysteriously are signs of a bad rim.
Modern self-parking technology has lessened the perils of parallel parking, but sometimes curbs turn up in unexpected places. Speed bumps and parking blocks in shopping mall lots cause havoc with rims, especially for distracted or rushed drivers who forgot the bumps and blocks were there. It is not unheard of for a driver to drive over a parking block, thinking that the spot was marked by paint rather than a concrete stopper.
Some cities are renowned for their spring pothole season. Enormous potholes often gain a level of local infamy as they rack up their count of broken axles and bent rims. Even if you don’t drive in four seasons of weather, roads wear down and potholes form. Temperature differences, expansion and contraction, and water infiltration create potholes. Sometimes potholes look like relatively harmless little depressions in the road and drivers don’t discover how deep they are until the damage is done to their previously undamaged 2015 Toyota Camry rims, or until their decorative hubcap is rolling away down a hill.
Some shops can repair mildly bent rims. A badly damaged rim is a safety hazard that can cause a flat tire or a blowout. When in doubt, replace your rim with a quality OEM part so you can be confident of your car’s wheel safety.