Replacing a damaged wheel rim is pricey but sometimes they can be safely repaired at lower cost.

Johannesburg - With the increased rain experienced recently, many motorists are now unfortunately struggling to navigate the multitude of potholes that have opened up on the road networks.

A recent report from Eyewitness News said that approximately six out of every 10 cars taken to a tyre centre in Gauteng alone have been damaged due to potholes or road construction. The number of tyre replacements has more than doubled when compared to three years ago and the Arrive Alive website estimates that poor road conditions in South Africa may be costing the economy as much as R18 billion a year in addition to the individual costs inflicted on road users.

And in 80% of the cases when you hit a pothole it is your rim, one of the most safety critical items on your car, that gets damaged and not the tyre.

Les McMaster, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), says rim damage can often lead to other problems like vehicle alignment and suspension problems.

Craig Courtney-Leaver, CEO of alloy rim repair specialists, Wheel Collision, agrees saying motorists need to know what to look out for. “If the tyre has deflated this is an obvious sign the rim is damaged. If everything looks fine on the surface there are, however, other telltale signs to check. Changes in the balancing and alignment are important to check for.

“If one feels a vibration in the steering wheel, the chances are one of the front rims is damaged and if one feels the vibration on the seat, then it’s is usually a rear rim,” says Courtney-Leaver. He says it is only in very severe cases that the suspension would be damaged.

Rims can be very expensive, particularly with the current exchange rate, and it is not always essential to purchase a completely new rim provided you use a reputable supplier, says McMaster.

“Motorists should consult their local manufacturer or fitment centre first to determine the extent of the damage and then ensure they are referred to a specialist rim repairer. It is essential that the repairer is SABS approved and if possible carries an approved ISO 9001 accreditation,” he says. “Unfortunately not many repairers have x-ray technology and can repair according to a certain standard so one needs to select carefully.”

McMaster also reminds motorists that any vehicle damage from road works and poor road conditions on the “N” roads can be addressed to the South African National Roads Agency and their insurer directly.

Star Motoring

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