Pothole season might be coming to an end for this winter, but the damage it has done to tires and car rims still remains for many people. Even a little dent in the rim can cause the air to constantly leak out of a tire and you'll have to put air in it every few days to keep the tire full. The only way to properly fix the rim, and stop the tire from leaking air, is to pound it back into shape. If you like to do your own car repair work, here is how you can bend the rim back into shape in your driveway.
You Will Need:
- Propane Torch
- Heat Monitor
- Large Ball Peen Hammer
- Large Metal Mallet
- Heat Resistant Gloves
You should remove the tire so you have space to work and so the heat you'll be applying to the aluminum alloy rim won't transfer to the rubber in the tire and melt it. The easiest thing to do is to take the tire to an auto garage and have them remove it for you with a tire mounting machine. They can also put the tire back on the rim once you pound out the dent.
Heat the Rim
Get a propane torch and apply heat to the dented part of the aluminum. You want to heat the rim until it gets to roughly 250-300 degrees. You want the rim to get hot enough so it becomes malleable, but not hot enough where it starts to melt. Use a heat detector to monitor the temperature of the rim as you heat it up to make sure you know when the rim gets to the temperature where you can pound out the dent.
Pound the Dent Out
Once the rim has gotten hot, take the rounded end of the ball peen hammer and place it against the dented edge of the rim. The rounded part of the ball peen hammer will help prevent you from getting flat spots along the rim. Take a mallet and pound it hard against the flat side of the ball peen hammer. Keep on pounding until the dent gets pushed out and the rounded surface of the rim is restored. If the rim doesn't budge, then heat it up another 50 degrees or so with the propane torch. The important thing is that you don't get close to the melting point of aluminum alloy - which is 865 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Replace the Tire
Take the rim back to the auto garage, like Dean's Automotive Service Center, after you've pounded out the dent and have them put the tire back on with the tire mounting machine.