How to Help Your Car Survive Winter’s Wrath (And Potholes)

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Potholes. The worst enemy of every driver in the Northeast.

It’s a vicious cycle, really — winters bring snowy roads, and snowy roads must be melted. The salt that’s widely used to melt the snow, however, works too well and wreaks havoc on the asphalt itself. This causes tremendous craters on highways, driveways, sidewalks and every other flat surface people depend on for travel.

And when you’re doing 65 and don’t see the mini crater rapidly approaching your wheels, it could spell disaster. Potholes can cause flat tires, dented and destroyed rims and plenty of other problems you’re forced to endure inside your auto. In fact, it’s become so common that New York’s WABC news station dedicated an entire story to it in January. Drivers all along highways in the metropolitan area became stranded because of flat and unexpected damage caused by unavoidable potholes.

So what can you do when you find your ride with a dented or bent rim? Is it better to opt for rim straightening and general maintenance over replacing them altogether? It’s usually dependent on your situation. But no matter what kinds of rim repair circumstances you find yourself in need of, a few things are always true no matter what:

Prevention is the best medicine.

Yes, it’s very easy to say, “I told you so.” But it ends up being quite common to say, “I wish I would have listened!” That’s especially true when it comes to rim and wheel repair. Whenever you can, avoid potholes and curbs and other objects that can do serious damage to your tires. If you know a particular road is risky and cavernous with gaps in the road, find an alternate route. You could end up saving yourself some cash on rim repairs.

Leave it to eyes more knowledgeable than your own.

It’s tempting to pull over, glance at a dented or cracked rim and tell yourself it’s not so bad. But you might end up paying for your overconfidence a few weeks later when your suspension begins to act up. Always get a professional to look at your damaged rim in order to gauge how serious the injury actually is. In terms of cost expectations, here’s what The Car Connection predicts for a few key tune-ups and repairs:

  • Straightening: $35 for a steel wheel, $75 for aluminum.
  • Welding or rim refinishing: $200 for a painted wheel, $350 for a polished wheel, $480 for a chrome wheel.
  • Complete replacement: Between $200 and $500 for factory replacements, up to $1,000 for foreign-made and exotic rides.

In general, a more expensive wheel will provide you more protection against pothole damages and other problems. That means less money for rim repairs when something goes wrong.

Cars are resilient, but they’re not quite the super machines we sometimes depend on them to be. Pay attention to any strange rattling or flapping sounds your car is making as they could be signs of larger problems among your wheels — issues that could require professional tweaks for rim mounting and balancing. A good rule of thumb to never assume anything unless a professional gives it a clean bill of health.

Otherwise, you just might be left stranded on the side of the road. Check out this website for more:

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