What You Should Know About Mobile Wheel Repair

A professional who will come to your driveway can be a safe and easy alternative to the shop.

White van with open sliding door displaying mobile wheel-repair equipmentShutterstock

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Getting your car to a shop for repairs can be a hassle. If your wheels are damaged, you might not be able to get there at all, since driving on bent or cracked rims often is dangerous.

Fortunately, mobile wheel-repair services can come straight to you and get the job done more conveniently and safely. Here's a look at how wheels get damaged and what mobile repair services can do to fix them.

How Do Wheels Get Damaged?

There are three main types of wheel damage: bent rims, cracked rims, and surface-level marring. Bent rims often occur when a vehicle encounters a seriously deep pothole, is driven into a curb, or bounces against an unmoving off-road obstacle such as a rock or ridge. Cracked rims can result from those same encounters if the impact is forceful enough to compromise the structural integrity of the metal.

But the most common type of wheel damage is cosmetic: scrapes, grooves, gouges, and pitting that can happen when a rim brushes against a curb, marinates in road salt over the course of the winter, or is pelted by gravel, tree branches, or other road debris.

How Does Mobile Wheel Repair Work?

Mobile wheel and tire services let you avoid having to get your car to a shop. Instead, you can simply make an appointment for a mobile service to come to your driveway and perform some of the same repairs. Alternatively, certain mobile services will function in a hybrid fashion, removing your damaged wheels and leaving your car on jack stands and then returning to reinstall your wheels once they're repaired.

Some mobile repair services can handle both cosmetic damage and more serious repairs. Others focus solely on appearance-focused refinishing.

Mobile wheel-repair services that don't transport your wheels back to their shop will bring all the necessary equipment to do the repairs on the spot. This may include specialized machinery that heats and massages steel and alloy rims until they're straight; welding gear that can add fresh metal to cracked wheels; and the sanding, painting, and powder-coating supplies needed to fully refinish a scuffed wheel.

What Does Mobile Wheel Repair Cost?

Prices for mobile wheel repair can vary depending on the type of damage, the size of the wheel, and the type of metal it's made of. Refinishing can run between $85 and $200 per wheel, while straightening typically starts a little higher but will often top out in the same upper range.

One important caveat to keep in mind: Not all mobile wheel-refinishing companies can fix chrome wheels. Repairing those can be a difficult and expensive process.

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Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting is a writer and podcast host who contributes to a number of newspapers, automotive magazines, and online publications. More than a decade into his career, he enjoys keeping the shiny side up during track days and always has one too many classic vehicle projects partially disassembled in his garage at any given time. Remember, if it's not leaking, it's probably empty.