Warning Signs Of A Cracked Rim – Symptoms, Causes, & Diagnosis

Not everyone can be road-or car-smart, but the least that can be done is to look out for certain things when driving.

You could be driving one minute and the next, you are experiencing something strange with your car.

One of those strange situations is when you have a cracked rim.

But before you experience that, you must have ignored some symptoms. These are the things that will be discussed in this article, alongside the causes of a cracked rim.

3 Common Signs of a cracked rim

Cracked rims can happen to anyone but before it does, you should see any of the following three symptoms:

Steering Wheel Vibrations

One of the most obvious signs that your rim is bent or cracked is that you notice weird sounds or strange continuous vibrations from your steering wheel.

Different sounds or vibrations coming from the steering column are a sign of a bent rim or a cracked rim. And you can only conclude what it is when you check the rims out yourself.

At that point, the best thing you should do, whether it is a bent tire rim or a crack, is to park safely and check out your tires for any punctures.

If you don’t check the tires, you may experience a tire blowout due to the pressing of the cracked part against the rubber. The blowout could potentially cause a road accident.

You can either replace your tire and manage till you get help or call a mechanic immediately.

Failing Tire Pressure

Still, on the obvious signs of a bent rim or cracked rim, you will experience a failing tire pressure or uneven tire wear.

As you keep driving with damaged rims, your tires begin to lose pressure and ultimately, reduce gas mileage. In fact, you may find yourself fixing a flat tire or visiting the gas station too often.

When you notice this, you should pull over to one side and inspect your wheels for problems. If you can properly assess the wheels, you may discover the problem.

Changed Handling

Another sign you’re dealing with a damaged rim is the handling. You start losing control when driving.

At first, it looks like you are unable to turn in the right direction or corner properly, but as time goes by, you may find it difficult to handle your car properly.

Common causes of rim damage – Cracked or Bent Rim

So with all these symptoms showing up, what exactly are the causes of cracked rims? Let’s find out.

Driving Patterns

The major reason why you have damaged rims is probably because of your driving pattern. Sometimes, it isn’t entirely your fault; encountering obstacles every now and then takes a toll on your wheels.

That being said, you should consider the following as driving patterns that could endanger your rims:

Flat Tire Driving

One of the ways your rim is cracked is when you drive on a flat tire.

The whole point of flat tires is so that you can change them and not keep driving for long hours.

When your tire fails, your ride quality is altered because the profile becomes too thin and there is uneven contact with the road.

And to avoid having flat tires frequently, you should always look out for air pressure and check out air leaks.

You should also consider temperature because blowouts may occur due to differential tire pressure and environmental temperature.

Curb Driving

There is also bound to be car rim damage for driving off curbs.

Ideally, everyone has different driving habits but that doesn’t leave room for driving off a curb because the effects are grievous.

If the tire rim doesn’t correspond well enough with the curb’s length or sharpness, it could lay a deal of damage on your rim.

In the same vein, when you park close to a curb, you should make sure there is enough space for wheels to maneuver.

You could have a cracked wheel due to bending if you park too close.

Pothole or Bump Driving

If you have an alloy rim, pothole, or bump driving can pose imminent danger.

Potholes are somewhat unavoidable because there are different road types. However, the deeper and sharper the potholes that your car hits, the likelier the chances of having cracked or bent rims.

You should also always look out for small cracks and dents on the rim’s inboard side because they may not appear on the exterior.

And there is a good chance that as you continue driving, the crack grows, posing one of the biggest dangers to your car.

Bad Wheels

Sometimes, a cracked rim depends on the type of wheels you have.

Many people, when they have their wheels replaced, they go for poor-quality options. And within a few days or a short period of time, you start noticing a thumping sound coming from your wheels.

If you don’t want a complete blowout or further damage, you should consider getting new wheels from reputable brands or shops.

How dangerous is a cracked rim?

Driving when a rim is cracked is very dangerous.

There are so many risks involved because at any point in time, you could experience a blowout, especially if you are running at high speeds.

When you spot hairline cracks, begin to lose control, or notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should call a certified mechanic to have your car looked at.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a cracked rim safe to drive on?

Not really.

Your car isn’t entirely safe to drive when there is a significant part damaged or broken.

If your rim is bent, you need to consider the gravity of the situation to decide whether it is safe or not.

For instance, if you have a too obvious crack, then it poses a safety hazard because air pressure from your tire could escape quickly, causing a blowout.

However, if it is only a small crack, the safety hazard may vary but over time, the crack grows until it becomes so serious.

Hence, when you start feeling vibrations or hearing strange sounds, you should pull over to one side of the road immediately and find a way for the cracked rims to be repaired or replaced.

Can you repair a cracked rim?

The answer is Yes and No.

If you have a damaged rim, the repair is dependent on three factors – location of rim damage, crack’s direction, and welder’s skills.

Cracked rims on the inboard side and rear side are the easiest to fix but those inside the barrel and near the spoke base or lug area are non-repairable.

Based on the direction, you must never repair cracks that run parallel to the spin direction because they are likely to widen as time goes by.

More importantly, if you use an alloy rim, an experienced technician would know to use the Tungsten Inert Gas technique to weld the area.

Should I replace or buy a new rim?

It depends.

Your decision to replace or repair cracked or bent rims depends on the level of damage.

If you have extensive rim damage, you cannot repair such; instead, you will be asked to buy an entire wheel.

However, if the crack is so small, there is nothing a little bit of welding cannot fix.

Cracked Rim Repair Cost

Between $200 to $500.

If you have a bent rim and you need to have it repaired or replaced, you shouldn’t spend more than $500, including labor costs.

However, if you must do this repair, you should endeavor to give the task to an experienced technician.


If you’ve always wanted to know the signs of cracked or bent rims, here they are – steering vibrations, poor handling, and tire blowout.

You don’t have to be in a terrible situation anymore because you had a crack unattended to.

With the symptoms listed above, you know to check when something is wrong.

And when you do, it is important that you don’t move at high speeds because it can be dangerous.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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