Tyre rims most likely to be damaged from potholes


MARCH 2014


With Gauteng experiencing unprecedented and relentless rain, many motorists are struggling to navigate the multitude of pot holes that have opened up on the road networks.

Driving over hidden or unknown potholes can cause damage to vehicles of all shapes and sizes as many motorists will attest to. And in 80% of the cases when you hit a pothole it is your rim, one of the most safety critical items on your car, that gets damaged and not the tyre.

Les Mc Master, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), says  rim damage can often lead to other problems like vehicle alignment and  suspension problems.  Craig Courtney-Leaver, CEO of Alloy rim repair specialists, Wheel Collision, agrees saying motorists need to know what to look out for. “If the tyre has deflated this is an obvious sign the rim is damaged. If everything looks fine on the surface there are however other tell tale signs to check. Changes in the balancing and alignment are important to check for.  “If one feels a vibration in the steering wheel, the chances are one of the front rims are damaged and if one feels the vibration on the seat, then it’s is usually a rear rim,” says Courtney-Leaver. He says it is only in very severe cases that the suspension would be damaged.

Mc Master says unfortunately it is not always possible to prevent damage but  it is advisable to know how best to solve the problem. “Rims can be very expensive, particularly with the current exchange rate, and it is not always essential to purchase a completely new rim provided you use a reputable supplier. Mc Master says motorists should consult their local manufacturer or fitment centre first to determine the extent of the damage and then ensure they are referred to a specialist rim repairer.

“It is essential that the repairer is SABS approved and if possible carries an approved ISO 9001 accreditation,” he says.  “Unfortunately not many repairers have x-ray technology and  can repair according to a certain standard so one needs to select carefully.”

Mc Master provides some useful tips on how to avoid roadside pitfalls:

  • Be extra cautious when there is water on the road as a pothole may be lurking beneath. If at all possible and if not endangering other motorists, rather drive around the puddle.
  • If you do drive over a hole do not slam on brakes and this could compound the damage to your vehicle or cause an accident
  • Hold the steering wheel firmly when driving over a pothole to avoid losing control
  • If driving at night, ensure your headlights are clean as dips and potholes are harder to identify at night
  • Do not swerve if you hit a hole as this could endanger other motorists.

“Should you suspect that you may have sustained damages to your rims but are unsure, feel free to call on an accredited MIWA shop for an evaluation. Most importantly, in the event of damage, remember to consider your repair options first,  ahead of buying new rims, ” he concludes.