One of the most common issues faced by alloy wheels is cracking. Alloy wheels are a blend of aluminum and magnesium.
Hence, they don’t have as much strength compared to pure metals. Consequently, alloy wheels tend to develop cracks over time.
This could be due to sharp objects and external objects. Cracks can be hazardous when you don’t fix them instantly.
In fact, alloy wheel cracks can deflate your tires and lead to a severe accident. And the worst thing is that you might not be able to notice the crack earlier.
So, keep evaluating your wheels from time to time.
How do you fix cracked alloy wheels?
Some mechanics choose to repair a cracked alloy wheel by covering it with a tire bead.
On the other hand, some car experts recommend replacing the wheel, especially when the car is deep.
Although it would be best if you replaced the alloy wheel, you might end up spending thousands of dollars.
So, opt for a repair. Repairing an alloy wheel is simple yet effective. In this present day and age, welding is the most effective way of fixing a cracked wheel.
But before you start welding an alloy wheel, you have to put several factors into consideration.
Failure to repair a cracked wheel will only widen the crack and eventually damage the entire wheel.
Factors to consider before welding an alloy wheel
Note that some cracked alloy wheels will automatically not qualify for welding.
Below are some of the aspects you have to consider before you decide on welding an alloy wheel.
Position of the crack
In case you didn’t know, you cannot weld cracks that appear on any side of the wheel. Let’s look at an example for further understanding.
For instance, if your wheel has a crack on its front section, it does not qualify for welding.
When you weld front side cracks, you risk destroying the configuration of the wheel. Moreover, if you have a crack located in the barrel, avoid welding.
So, which cracks qualify for welding? Experts report that you should only weld cracks found on the inboard and backside of the wheel.
Avoid welding any other cracks. Otherwise, you will damage the structural configuration of the wheel.
The direction of the crack
Always check where the crack is extending. Suppose the crack is parallel to the wheel; avoid welding it.
Otherwise, the wheel would not function as expected. Right-angled cracks pointing towards the direction of the spin can get welded.
Remember, welding requires you first to widen the crack to proceed with the whole process.
So, if you open up a wrong part of the wheel, it would damage the wheel.
Therefore, it would be best to hire an expert to weld the crack, especially if you don’t have the right knowledge.
The expertise of the welding
There are different types of welding you can incorporate for various purposes.
But when it comes to welding alloy wheels, you have to use the Tungsten Inert Gas welding.
Using other types of welding may cause damage to the alloy wheel. For instance, if you use the Metal Inert Gas welding, you would destroy the wheel’s structure.
Also, get a professional and certified welder. This way, you’ll be able to boost the durability of the wheel.
If you get the wheel fixed by an unprofessional welder, you will end up spending extra money for repair in the long run.
How do you weld alloy wheels?
Before you start welding, you have to prepare it. Often, cracked wheels can have either a minor or major bend.
So, start by straightening the alloy wheel. Don’t postpone this process to the end. Straightening an alloy wheel after you finish welding can lead to another crack.
This way, your alloy wheel will be in good shape at the end.
Afterward, you can start welding the crack carefully. Mostly, welding uses electrical current.
So, make sure you have a reliable power source to make the process run smoothly.
Once you complete the welding process, start by smoothening out the area around the fixed crack.
Usually, you will have a lot of bead around the repaired area. Therefore, clean and even the area.
Failure to do so can cause leaks in the short run. A professional welder will use a computer numeric control lathe to facilitate a smooth finish.
Is it safe to drive a welded alloy wheel?
When it comes to welding an alloy wheel, you have to employ a professional. As seen in the steps above, welding is a critical process.
Thus, you have to get a professional to do it. An experienced welder will identify the source of the problem and fix the crack using the necessary procedures.
However, you have to note that welding an alloy wheel will typically make it weaker. Of course, the welded material cannot be as strong as the initial material.
Even so, it is still safe to drive a car that has undergone welding. But you have to evaluate your alloy wheels from time to time.
Additionally, ensure you incorporate the right practices to protect your alloy wheel from damage. It would help if you used a leak-proof protector for your wheels.
Doing this prevents the wheel from corroding. Also, clean your alloy wheels frequently. This way, you will get rid of any dirt or salt accumulation.
Visit a professional car cleaner to clean your alloy wheels appropriately. Furthermore, avoid driving alloy wheels in harsh terrains.
They could become loose due to too much strain and external pressure.
The bottom line
Alloy wheels can get cracks over time. It could be due to sharp objects or pressure.
Fortunately, you can always fix a cracked alloy wheel through welding. Welding is legal in almost all states.
So, you can easily weld a cracked alloy wheel. However, you have to ensure that you use the right welding technique.
Use the Tungsten Inert Gas welding to fix the alloy crack. Incorporating other welding techniques is not safe for the wheel’s configuration.
Additionally, hire a professional to weld a cracked alloy for you. Even so, note that a welded alloy wheel is not as strong as a new alloy wheel.