Fix bent wheels for less than buying new

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It’s been a tough winter for central Indiana because of near-record temperatures followed by warm ups.

The sudden swings in temperature caused thousands of potholes to pop up, leading to plenty of damage to vehicles that hit them.  You’ve seen vehicles on the side of the road with flat tires, but sometimes that damage goes deeper and ruins or bends the wheel itself, not to mention a car's alignment.

“I have blown out two brand-new tires in a span of about a week.  It’s difficult to avoid the potholes. They are everywhere,” said driver Susie Pike.

She's not alone.  Thousands of people have reported potholes all around central Indiana.  Now that the weather is getting better, crews have filled more and more of the craters.  That doesn’t mean the problem is over, however.  For some drivers, their wheels were damaged and now is their first opportunity to get them fixed.

“I hit a pothole about three weeks ago on Thompson Road and at that point in time I blew the airbags in my headrest.  Then about a week later on Southeastern, I took out two rims and two tires, so lucky me,” said Michelle Potts.

While she was fine, her car wasn't. Tires and wheels can be very expensive.  Potts drives a 5-series BMW and it was going to be some serious money to buy two rims and two tires--probably about $1,500.  But you can save money by having your bent wheels fixed.

“We get it in, check it out, put it on our balancing machine, and check it for bends, or we can check it while the car is up on the lift.  And then if it does have a bend, we can put it on our wheel repair machine and fix it,” said Blaine Skaggs, a service consultant with CarZip Service.

Their new hydraulic machine does the fixing at Car Zip off South Post Road.  This new business is one of a few local places that have a machine to fix bent wheels, and some are more pricey than others, so be sure to check.  So how much is it?

“Depending on the wheel, here at CarZip we start at $75 and depending on the wheel size.  It can go up to a max of $150, which is generally a fraction of buying a new rim,” said Skaggs.

That was the case for Potts, who got two new tires and two fixed rims for a total of $650.  That's about a third the cost of all new because normally the wheels themselves are more than $500 apiece.  CarZip works on everything from Bentleys, Jaguars, Aston Martin to a Volkswagen bus.

Speaking of Volkswagen, Pike has a 16-year-old Volkswagen she didn't want to spend a ton of money on.  Instead, she paid only about a hundred bucks on a repair after hitting a pothole.  She’s quite happy with her mechanic, Brandon, who is also the owner of CarZip.

“He is very efficient and so qualified and he knows cars inside and out and he takes care and does what's necessary without blowing my budget,” she said.

So keep in mind if you’ve hit one of those depressing depressions, there is a less expensive solution than buying a new rim or two!

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