How to Straighten Alloy Wheels?
Normally, some type of impact can damage your car’s alloy wheels – these can be potholes, raised manhole covers or something else, as many obstacles are there that can bend a wheel and make your car vibrate. Have you faced a situation where a mechanic tells you that your car’s alloy wheel can’t be straightened and you had to buy alloy wheels brand new? Alloy wheels can’t be straightened is not the right advice because numerous specialist auto workshops have been straightening wheels for many years now.
Yes, wheel straightening is possible! Let’s glance at wheel straightening alloy wheel facts.
These days, it is possible to straighten a wheel, as there are varied processes for straightening alloy wheels, which include hydraulic assistance technology and cold roller technology.
Cold roller technology involves putting a motorized roller against the wheel and applying pressure on the bend while the wheel revolves on a lathe. As this procedure is carried out without heat, it has an increased risk of damaging the wheel, and no real annealing or tempering is carried out. In addition, cold roller technology is usually limited to radial curves, as most machines cannot affect the wheel sideways or oblique position. Based on using a lathe in some form, there are also a number of straightening techniques; however, most of them are proprietary (protected by trademark or patent or copyright) and secret in some way.
Hydraulic assistance is a method involving putting the wheel on the rack that centres the wheel so it can be read out with a dial gauge then it is heated. Hydraulic rams positioned at diverse points on the rack facilitate an experienced technician to use the rams as mechanical assistance to push out bends in the heated metal.This method has many benefits over other types of straightening; they are enumerated as follows:
The skilled technician can impact the wheel sideways and radially, hence this technology has the capability to straighten bends that other methods can’t.
When the wheel is heated in the same position, in which it will be repaired, makes the metal softer and makes it much less likely that the alloy will break under the pressure that is needed to straighten the bend.
- The technician manages the process instead of just watching an automated process work on its own. An expert technician will have a feel of the metal, and can generally tell if the alloy is delicate or soft and if the wheel is about to break under pressure.
- At the molecular level, aluminium alloy has a crystalline inner structure. This crystalline structure can bust when the alloy is bent, opposing the strength of the metal at that point. In order to strengthen the alloy again, it should be heat-treatedor annealed.
- The wheel is weaker at the point where the bend was, thus, it’s imperative to anneal the crystalline structure of the wheel else subsequent collisions can more easily cause the metal to ‘go back’ or ‘return’ to its earlier bent position.
- This condition of the metal is referred as “the metal has retained a memory of its earlier state” -that’s why an important part of this process is to erase that ‘previous memory’ by annealing the inner structure of the metal.
A Word of Caution: Watch out for tools that are available on the open market claiming to assist straightening wheels. Normally, these involve two crescent-shaped metal blocks having a hydraulic ram between them. If one puts the crescent blocks inside the wheels’ curve and make use of a foot pump to spread the blocks till the bend is eliminated - this is the easiest way to damage a wheel.
Nowadays, massive range of alloy wheels is available online; regardless of your car make and model, you’re guaranteed to get the exact alloy wheel for your car.