In many instances, car owners may find that the second-hand wheels of the car they purchased have been welded. Welding of the wheels is majorly done in situations when there has been some significant damage caused to the wheel over time. This is a way to repair the damage in the best possible manner.
A durable repair is fixed in place without softening the alloy itself. Trusted repair facilities would first inspect the wheel and its damages thoroughly. Post which, they would recommend a weld when they are confident that the repaired wheel would be safe for everyday driving.
When Is The Welding Of The Wheel Appropriate?
Wheel welding is usually done if the wheel incurs:
- Out of shape bend
- Chunks of the rim are missing
Damaged wheels are often welded in the first place to avoid the purchase of new wheels at outrageous costs. Aluminium alloy wheels tend to crack if they hit a deep pothole hard or bump a raised manhole lid. The hard quotient here depends on the design of the car’s wheel, tyre’s aspect ratio, and, ultimately, the brittleness of the alloy in the wheel.
Cracks incurred on the car’s whee could pose to be a threat to the safety of the passengers on board. They let the air out of the tyre, which could prove out to be unsafe for the people around as well. A crack can also grow, turn to one side, or split in a ‘Y’ shape, leading to the loss of the entire chunk of the wheel.
Should Welding Be Done Or Not?
Before welding a cracked wheel, the following points should be considered under all circumstances:
1. The Direction Of The Crack
A crack on the backside of the wheel can still be opened up and welded. However, a crack that is running parallel to the spin direction should not be welded as it causes the wheel to become wider, not allowing it to run straight ever again.
2. Location Of The Crack
A crack on the back or inboard side of the wheel is safe enough to weld. Whereas, a crack on the face of the wheel or inside the barrel is inadvisable to weld as it compromises on the structural integrity of the wheel.
3. The Skill Of The Welder
Aluminium alloy should be welded with a process called Tungsten Inert Gas Welding by an experienced welder who knows how to deal with wheel specifically. Other processes weaken the entire area around the weld, making it dangerous for everyday use.
The wheel should be straightened before welding. The damaged area is ideally cut and shaped for the weld. With the help of the welding equipment, it is welded inside-out minimising the amount of heat transferred to alloy. This also maximises the strength of the weld without softening the alloy. The wheel then passes through the lathe operative to create a seamless finish.
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