What is quality rim straightening? What’s the difference between master rim straighteners and the rest of the pack?

Because of our national reputation for excellence in both our rim straightening and our customer service, we get calls and questions from around the country and Canada as to how to know which rim repair businesses do quality work. Like the rest of the automotive industry, you have a few excellent companies and many mediocre.

There’s an analogy in the industry as to the difference between a parts changer and a mechanic.
A parts changer keeps changing parts until he finally gets the problem solved. A mechanic has the skills to diagnose the problem and solve it immediately. A master rim straightener can straighten your wheels with few exceptions and not try to force you to buy new or reconditioned wheels because they can’t straighten your wheel or want to make more money selling you new wheels or sets of wheels.

There are many qualities that make a rim straightening process and business superior. Below, for your education is a few of the areas for you to pursue before allowing someone to touch your wheels.

Is their technology the best? A quality rim straightening company uses technology with hydraulics pulls, pushes and heat. This technology has been the acceptable methodology since the turn of the last century. A good company does not cold roller wheels or use independent hydraulic jacks. There is a good reason why the major reconditioning companies in the US Canada and Mexico use the tried and true hydraulic method – it works. When cold rollering first came out a few decades ago, it was tried and rejected. There’s good reason for that. No one cannot properly straighten a good percentage of the wheels that come in with a cold roller press. Cold rollers basically beat the wheel true. The mediocre rim straighteners who use cold rollers claim it’s superior because heat is not used. If the rim straightener is trained properly, the use of heat is no problem whatsoever. Only a hack uses so much heat that it will change the metallic composition of your wheel. You can’t control the impact of cold force on the metal that way you can control heat.. Many wheels that could have been saved are destroyed.
Can they straighten harder to straighten rims such as magnesium? A quality rim straightening company can straighten not only your typical OEM wheels but also older wheels like Hudsons, MBs, Triumphs and the larger wheels. When you know a company can straighten these types of rims, you know they’re master rim straighteners and not just wanna be masters.. Also, a master rim straightener can do multi-piece wheels are well as magnesium rim straightening.
Can they straighten center bent wheels? Only the masters can A quality rim straightening company can straighten center bent wheels. This is one of the benchmarks of masters. A center bent wheel is one that is twisted in the barrel. The reason why a lot of people claim you can’t straighten center bent wheels is because you have to have master technology and experience to straighten center bent wheels. There’s probably only a handful to a dozen companies in the country that can successfully straighten center bent wheels. When someone who is not a master attempts to straighten your center bent wheel, they will make it irreparable. Unless you have the company’s word they can and have straightened center bent wheels, don’t take a chance.
A master has nothing to hide and shows you. A quality rim straightening company doesn’t pretend they have superior technology that they can’t show you, but has machinery you can see and understand. Be very cautious of companies that have a “collection” area in one place and do the work in another. You have no idea what they’re doing to your wheels or where they’re going. I’ve heard of a company in North Carolina where they meet you on the highway and take your wheel, straighten it, and then meet you back on the highway to take your money and return it. This may be a little extreme, but know where your wheel is going. If it’s not done on sight and near your sight, you have no idea what’s happening.
Do you see the rims spun or do you take them on their word sight unseen? A quality full service wheel straightening company lets you see which wheels are bent and then lets you chose which wheels you want straightened. As in any company with great customer service, you the consumer get to make the choices and see the realities. This means they have to have the capacity to put your car on a lift, remove all four wheels and then spin the wheels in front of you, showing you which wheels are bent and also showing you if your tires are out of round. If they can’t or won’t show you your bent wheels, how do you know they’re really bent? Or how badly they’re bent?
Are they masters at diagnosing rim and tire problems? A quality full service rim straightening company can tell you whether the problem is your wheels or your tires and lets you see the difference.

These are obviously a few of the most important ways to see the difference between master wheel straighteners and the mediocre. The mediocre can usually charge less, but sometimes they don't. They train their people over less time and jump on the chance to replace your wheels. They also train their staff on your wheels, not stock wheels. There is no doubt that there are some wheels that are wiser to replace. It takes a master to let you know the truth. And they should be able to explain to you why the rim shouldn’t be straightened. If we had a dollar for each rim someone brought in saying they were told the rim couldn’t’ be straightened, when the company should have said “We can’t straighten it”, we’d all retire.

If the company can’t straighten aluminum, magnesium and steel as well as large wheels (up to 24” at least) and center bent wheels, don’t go there. In terms of the analogy, they are the parts changers of the world and it’s not worth risking your wheel or your life with the mediocre.

And yes, of course, we fit these dimensions or we wouldn’t be here telling you the truth. It’s much wiser to work with people who worship integrity, not money.

(c) Copyright 2007 Rim and Wheel Works Inc.
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