I’m sure most of us have heard that horrible sound. That crunching crash that gives you a jolt as you realise you’ve just decorated your alloy wheels with gouges and scrapes.
Gutter rash does happen, and it doesn’t have to ruin your week.
There’s no doubt that the trend towards larger rim sizes, in even fairly non-sport oriented cars, has continued. A decade ago 16-inch rims were the norm, and now it is common to see 18 and 19-inch rims on fairly conventional family cars.
Bigger rims equal lower-profile tyres. That means more chance of the rim hitting the gutter rather than the much more gutter friendly rubber.
Our office runabout is an Audi S1, beautifully decorated in CarAdvice livery, and with 18-inch wheels. Someone, not naming any names, has managed to give this wheel a pretty good knock.
We’ve brought it here to Wheel Centre Repairs Sydney to find out what the damage is and how it can be fixed.
The business has been running for more than 40 years and specialises in fixing wheels that have buckled, cracked or suffered cosmetic damage. The company also restores classic steel and alloy rims and can make replacement temporary wheels.
Fortunately the damage to our Audi isn’t major, but will still take the best part of a day to repair as the wheel needs to be taken off, machined, policed and reassembled.
But when you consider this will cost $200-300 compared to a replacement that could cost $2000, that’s a pretty good deal.
There are cheaper ways that take less time and are more convenient, but you could end up trading quality and longevity for a quick fix.
Damage like this can be disguised through a cosmetic fix and there are mobile, on-site repairers that make it quick and easy. The repairs are simple and fast but won’t last as long as this method, it’s purely a disguise.
Avoiding rim damage is simple - just avoid the kerbs. You can lessen the risk by putting on larger-profile tyres too.
I don’t think we’ll be putting fatter tyres on our S1, so we’re just going to have to be a little more careful.