How To Fix A Cracked Rim That Leaks Air? 7 Simple Steps
Tires leaking air can be a major hassle on the road. Here’s how to fix a cracked rim that leaks air from your tire, causing it to eventually go flat.
Out of all the things that you don’t want to run into when you are driving, flat tires might be the most annoying. Sometimes, when your car’s tire has a cracked rim with a flat tire, you should be prepared for a little more trouble. But what do you do about it?
In this article, we will talk about a cracked rim in a car that leaks air and what you should do to fix it. Read on to find out!
What Happens With A Cracked Rim?
Rims are essentially the skeletons of your car’s tires. It helps to keep the tire in place and helps to drive smoothly through any kind of road. A good quality tire rim lets the tire go through any surface without difficulty.
These tire rims get damaged over time or due to some accident, where the alloy rims can get punctured. When a rim gets cracked, the air inside the tire starts leaking and becomes very difficult to fix immediately. The cracked wheel rim has to be replaced before it results in a flat tire in the middle of the road.
What Causes A Cracked Rim And How To Identify It?
The problem most drivers encounter with a cracked rim is figuring out where the puncture is. It can be on the upper or lower side of the wheel, depending on how the crack has occurred. There are many reasons, and knowing the reason might help you fix the situation.
Here are a few reasons that can result in a cracked rim:
- Driving on potholes: For alloy rims and aluminum rims, potholes can be a huge problem. If you have driven over deep potholes, the edges of the wheels can be damaged. If the cracks are left unattended and driven over potholes, they can become larger over time.
- A flat tire: If you are driving with a flat tire, it increases the chances of a cracked rim. The air leaks in a tire can be caused by sudden temperature changes, which suddenly crack the rim that is holding the outer frame in place. As the tire pressure changes, the rim has a higher chance of being damaged as you are driving.
- Driving habits: The condition of a car’s wheels highly depend on how you drive. If you are taking sharp turns and driving on curbs, it is more likely to damage the surface of the wheels. This cracks the rim in different spots and affects the tires.
- Defect in wheels: If you are using wheels of bad quality to maintain a budget, the rims can get damaged quickly because of the material used. In some of the wheels, a tiny crack increases to a large one in a very short time and becomes visible when you have been driving for a long time.
Now, if you have an idea about what might have caused a cracked rim, you have to know the first signs of damage. So, here are the specific signs of a tire leaking air due to a cracked rim:
- Steering shaking: When you are driving your car, and you notice that the steering starts shaking non-stop, you can trace the problem back to a cracked rim. There can be a number of rough sounds and vibrations from the steering and other parts of the car, making it dangerous to drive.
- Imbalance in tire pressure: If you feel that the tire pressure of the wheels is uneven on any of the sides, it indicates that there is a crack in the rim. The crack in the rim causes the air to leak from your tire, which means the wheels will not have an even balance.
- Losing control of the vehicle: Since the cracked rim affects the wheel and steering of the car, you will find it more difficult to take control of the vehicle. It becomes more difficult to steer the car as you want to, and it makes you and the vehicle prone to accidents
Once you have figured out the possible causes of the cracked rim problem and how you will be able to notice it in the car, the next step is repairs. Wheel repairs can become expensive, especially if you have to get a replacement tire. But if you are willing to go for a temporary fix, it can be done at home itself.
How Can A Cracked Rim Be Repaired?
If you know the right steps to fix a cracked rim in the car, it should not be too much of a problem to get the tire fixed. So here are the steps you need to follow:
Park your vehicle
Before you start out the process of fixing a crack in the rim, you have to park your car in a safe place where the work can be done. Once you feel the tire pressure being unbalanced, pull over to one side where you can have easy access to the tires. Turn off the engine and keep the parking brake on, ensuring that your car does not suddenly start moving when you are working on the tires.
Locate the crack on the tire
Crack location is the next important step to fix the issue. Find the damage on the rim, inside, and outside of the structure. When you find the cracked area on the rim, clean it up with a brush to remove the dust from the surrounding areas.
Conduct a good inspection
When you have found the crack, do not limit the inspection to only big and visible cracks. Find out the angle of the crack and where the damage is, which can help you figure out how it should be sealed. The micro-cracks are tricky to handle as they can be missed out very easily. Make sure to check for all the smaller cracks that have to be fixed or replaced.
Clean the crack
Cleaning the crack or cracks that you have found on the rim helps you figure out what the exact problem is and how it should be fixed. The dirt, rust, and debris have to be removed with a brush. After this, use a strong water spray to deep clean the rim. Finally, use a soft rag and alcohol to wipe out the area and leave it to dry.
Make a resin mixture
When the rim is left to dry, you have to start preparing the epoxy resin mixture that you will use to seal the crack. You will need a resin mixture and hardener to seal the area for a longer time. Mix the hardener and the resin tubes one after the other and keep stirring the mixture. When you see a color change in the mixture, you will know that the mixture is ready. Keep stirring the mixture till you see that the color has completely changed.
Apply and leave the resin to dry
Use a smooth scrapper to take the resin mixture and apply it to the cracked rim. Use some force to apply the mixture on the crack, putting some strength so that the mixture sticks to the surface. If you have spotted any micro-cracks, apply the mixture across two to three inches on either side of the cracks to let the mixture stay. This will help you get better results and keep the resin on for longer. Once the whole mixture is applied, you have to leave the rim to dry overnight, or at least half a day, for it to settle down. Do not drive just after you have applied the mixture because the resin will come off.
Attach the rim and double check
Once you check that the rim is properly dried up, attach the rim back to the wheel. When you are satisfied with the fix, make sure that there is no more air leaking from anywhere.
If you are satisfied with the whole process, you can start up your car and keep driving. But if you are doing it for the first time and have a few questions, it is suggested that you call your mechanic and set up an appointment to get the car checked at the earliest.
Cost Of Repairing A Cracked Rim
Good quality tire rims are made of a special alloy, and some are made of aluminum. Repairs can be expensive as the alloy needs to be fixed or replaced. An estimated cost of repair by a professional mechanic can be $200 to $500.
This includes the cost of equipment and the replacement of the tire. The safest option is to get the tire fixed as soon as possible, or the tire can be long-term damage to the car’s wheels.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Cracked Rim?
It is not only unsafe but also dangerous to drive with a cracked rim. The noise and vibrations in the vehicle can cause you to lose control of the car’s steering when you are driving. When there is excess air leaking from the car, and somehow there is a spark, it can even start a fire.
Above everything, a leaking rim causes a huge decrease in your car’s performance and you will not be able to drive for too long when you have a crack in the rim. Just like you cannot drive for too long with a flat tire, you have to fix the cracked rim to drive the car properly again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you seal a cracked rim?
If there are short cracks in the rim, the repair can be done with a seal on the rim. But it does not hold off for too long, so the best idea is to replace the rim entirely. If there are long and deep cracks on the rim, the sealing repair should not be the right way to go.
How do I fix an air leak in my rim?
There is a specific process of fixing a tire rim when you are doing it at home. You need to find the exact crack in the rim and then use a sealer or epoxy mixture to seal off the crack temporarily. The long-term idea is to get the wheel replaced before there is some major damage.
Can you seal a leaking rim?
There are special tire sealants and tire bead sealers that can help you to seal a leaking rim as a temporary fix. This stops the air from leaking at a higher rate till you can take the car to your mechanic for a replacement. Usually, when there is a cracked rim, replacement is the best option.
Can a cracked rim leak air?
A cracked rim usually leaks air, but it also depends on where the crack is. If your tire rim has a crack on the tire bead or across the rim, there will be air leakage. But if the damage is on the face of the rim, you can expect the structure to hold on a little longer.
No one likes tire problems when driving back home after a long day or going to work in the morning. This is why regular tire checks become so important to avoid unwanted incidents in the middle of the road. For cracked rims, you have to be a little more careful so that there is no major damage to your car’s wheels due to not spotting the crack on time.
So keep an eye out for the cracks in the wheels. Thank you for reading!