What Does a Wheel Repair Specialist Do?

Dan Cavallari

A wheel repair specialist is a person who can repair, machine, or otherwise alter various types of wheels for vehicles. The specific services offered by a wheel repair specialist can vary, but in general, the specialist is able to address bends, cracks, dents, misalignments, and other types of damage to a wheel. Some specialists focus exclusively on aluminum alloy wheels, while others will service just about any type of wheel. In some cases, a wheel may not be able to be fixed, so a wheel specialist may be able to manufacture a new wheel to match the remaining wheels.

Wheel repair specialists can work on aluminum alloy wheels.
Wheel repair specialists can work on aluminum alloy wheels.

Much of the work that a wheel repair specialist does will be cosmetic work. Alloy wheels can become scraped, bent, or scratched from various road debris, as well as impacts with curbs or other obstructions. The wheel repair specialist may travel to an on-site location to repair the wheel, or the specialist may require the customer to come to a wheel repair shop. This usually depends on how significant the damage to the wheel is. In either case, the specialist will assess the damage and make recommendations for the best course of action for repair.

A wheel repair specialist may need to remove an automobile's tires during maintenance.
A wheel repair specialist may need to remove an automobile's tires during maintenance.

The types of repairs can range significantly in complexity and cost. Simple nicks or scratches may be buffed out fairly easily, while deeper gouges or scrapes may require total refinishing. If total refinishing is necessary, it is likely that the wheel repair specialist will need to remove the wheel from the vehicle so the tire can be removed and various tools can be used to remove the scratches and gouges. The design of the wheel may also dictate the complexity of the job; some wheels feature spokes, two-piece construction, or various features that can make refinishing a difficult job. If this is the case, the wheel will need to be removed and the repair time can be prolonged.

Alloy wheels can be damaged by road debris and heavy impacts.
Alloy wheels can be damaged by road debris and heavy impacts.

Bent wheels can usually be repaired easily, but they will require removal of the wheel from the vehicle. The wheel repair specialist will heat the wheel to the appropriate temperature and use various tools to perform a series of small bends. The wheel can then be checked for straightness, and bent again if necessary. This process needs to be done in a controlled environment that can provide a consistently hot temperature, which means bent wheels usually cannot be adequately repaired on site. Very small bends may be able to be addressed on site, but this is not usually recommended.

A wheel repair specialist may add air to an underinflated tire.
A wheel repair specialist may add air to an underinflated tire.

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