TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Bent rims a continuing problem

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by artsci, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,673
    Location:
    Timonium, Maryland
    My car has been at the Rockville SC for the past few days having some routine matters addressed. Whenever I have the car at Rockville I ask them to check for bent rims. The results are often depressing. For example I hit a large pothole a few weeks ago with my new 20" rims and Rockville now tells me they're bent front and rear on the right side (both ran into the pothole).

    This follows 2 bent Tesla 21" wheels that I had fixed last summer. I've also seen posts regarding bent 19" wheels so it appears that smaller wheel size is not immunity.

    My conclusion? With a car this heavy the only way to avoid bent rims is keep the car off pulbic roads. In other words, inmpossible. Sure, the odds are lower with smaller diameter wheels, but smaller wheels are no guarantee.

    The symptoms are usuually clear -- unusual vibrations when driving at speed that one might associate with balance or alignment issues. After I hit the pot hole I noticed a change in the ride immiediately and knew it was bent wheels.

    Of course, bent wheels can be repaired (in many cases you don't need to buy new wheels, as Tesla advises, just have them repaired). But when it happens it's a real PIA, especially if you don't have spare wheels (fortunatley I do).

    I've concluded that bent rims is something I have to learn to live with and factor in to the annual maintenance costs of the Model S.
     
  2. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    2,096
    Location:
    Sonoma, California
    I thought California had some of the worst roads in the country, I have not had a bent rim yet but am very careful when I drive to avoid pot holes. I live on a country road and always get pot holes in the winter from water and deterioration but drive to avoid them.
     
  3. Kbsilver

    Kbsilver Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2014
    Messages:
    134
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Welcome to the NorthEast - land of roads from a 3rd world country. Last winter on my BMW I (or **cough** my wife **cough**) bent 5 rims (yes one of them twice). And this is with 17" wheels!! To be fair this is with the run-flat technology that BMW insists on. The stiff sidewall of the tire transmits a lot more force to the wheel when hitting a pot hole. How safe is it to drive looking only 20 feet in front of the car scanning for potholes instead of far down the road like you are supposed to?
     
  4. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    Messages:
    3,132
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    It's a big state, and maybe Sonoma is substantially worse than the other side of the bay, but I'd be surprised. Back in the midwest the winters would utterly destroy the roads, with snow plows constantly snagging on gaps in the asphalt and gouging out huge chunks of road. Repairing the roads to a smooth state after winter took well into spring, and the patches are then susceptible to getting pulled out by a plow the following year. Given a large chunk of the state manages to avoid this routine, I'd be surprised if the roads were as bad as some of the northeastern states.

    The roads are so much better out here than OH/IL. Love it.
     
  5. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Your best bet is to practice and succeed at steering the car away from potholes. They are a fact of life in freezing climates with politicians too busy lining the pockets of their campaign financiers to bother with maintaining our highways.

    And it has little or nothing to do with the weight of the car. I bought a used BMW 330Cic a few years back (not a large car, with 17 low profile tires) failing to realize its wheels were all bent up. You can't smooth that out by balancing. I assume the previous owner was indifferent to potholes, because the suspension bushings were pretty bashed up as well.

    Maybe when we get self-driving cars, they will do better at this.
     
  6. randompersonx

    randompersonx Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Messages:
    493
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    I agree with the above. I used to live in New Jersey, where potholes were a fact of life. The reality is that if you live in a place like that, you need to get good at steering to avoid potholes. Some potholes cannot be avoided, but most can be avoided. Also, a smaller diameter wheel will be more resistant to bending, as will a forged (rather than cast) wheel -- but if you hit a sufficiently deep pothole at a sufficiently high rate of speed, ANY wheel will bend.

    And like ThosEM, I have also bent a 17" rim on an E46 BMW M3. This was during the winter time, and these were my winter tires/wheels. The car was sold with factory 19" wheels, so 17's had plenty of rubber to protect them -- but nonetheless, the wheel was bent.

    This is *not* a "Tesla problem". Any vehicle with aluminum wheels (read: anything even remotely sporty or luxury) is susceptible to this.
     
  7. inottawa

    inottawa Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    240
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    There's a wheel specialist in town that fixes my rims. I've seen him too many times. He has indicated to me that the rims are 'soft', which sucks considering Ottawa was apparently modelled after the surface of the moon. The winter plows and salt are especially hard on the roads here, and the city is slow to fill holes in the spring.

    Before I realized that the can be 'fixed', the first major bend caused me to knee jerk and buy a spare $1800 rim. Now I have a spare $1800 paper weight.
     
  8. ArtInCT

    ArtInCT Always Learning

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,602
    Location:
    Southern Connecticut
    On the East Coast above the frost line, potholes are public enemy #1 as far as large wheels are concerned.
    I am on a first name basis with a local wheel lathe shop here in Connecticut for about the last 10 years.
    If the wheel is repairable (that is a big IF BTW) the usual bill is between 75 and 185 per wheel which includes
    rebalance mount and dismount of tire.
    Worst case was a crack which is severe. Can make trash of the entire wheel.

    Had somewhat better luck with HRE forged wheels but they still break.
    I will be ordering my P85D with 21" wheels and only use them in the summer months until Thanksgiving.
    Then will downsize to 19" wheels.

    Missing the potholes is important... On roads less traveled this is difficult, especially in the night time.

    Good Luck.
     
  9. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8,552
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Now you've got me worried. About a month before I took my summer tires off (19" Goodyears on Rial Lugano rims) they started to get very "noisy" on the highway. My winters (Nokian Hakka R2s on Tesla 19" rims) are absolutely silent by comparison. I was thinking it might be a balance issue.

    I guess I'll take the set in to my tire guy and have them checked out before it's time to mount them in the spring. I do the seasonal changeovers myself.
     
  10. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,673
    Location:
    Timonium, Maryland
    That's the problem. While the advice about steering around potholes is understood and appreciated, it's impossible when you can't see them. In both instances it was late at night with unfavorably weather and the potholes were all but invisible.
     
  11. randompersonx

    randompersonx Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Messages:
    493
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    When I lived in NJ, I memorized where all the potholes were on roads I frequently traveled. On roads less traveled, at night ... yeah, it can be unavoidable. Such is life. It's still not a "tesla problem". Complain to your politicians and demand that they fix the roads, or get ugly/heavy steel wheels.
     
  12. JPP

    JPP Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,841
    Location:
    SF Bay area, CA
    ...and that's why I have 19s...sacrifice looks for durability. I've replaced too many large wheels & low profile tires over the past 25 years in the SF Bay Area.
     
  13. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    5,793
    Location:
    Skaneateles, NY
    pothole map for NJ:

    piccit_pothole_map_of_new_jersey_14_212860657.jpg
     
  14. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4,731
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    What wheels are you using artsci? Are they forged? What weight rating are they for?

    I'm sure you already know this, but for the benefit of others who may not there are several different manufacturing methods for wheels (castings, forgings, high pressure forgings, etc...) and they all have a significant impact on wheel strength.
     
  15. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Messages:
    11,923
    Not really sure why it seems political to you? It's not always practical to fix potholes everywhere as soon as they pop up. When I lived in NJ there was a stretch of 22 that got pretty bad. Seemed like once a week they were holding up a lane so that they could patch a pothole -- everyone complained. So then they started doing the route once every other month or so and everyone complained that the potholes were "out of control".
     
  16. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,673
    Location:
    Timonium, Maryland
    Todd,

    I have the Tesla 21", Avant Garde 20", and Rial Lugano 19". The Avant Garde are low pressure cast, Rials are cast, and Teslas are cast as well. So far the Rial Luganos are the only ones that have not been bent. Both the 21s and 19s are in a shop for re-powdercoating so I have to get the 20s fixe3d ASAP.

    The 21s were repaired last summer, the 20s will be repaired tomorrow or over the weekend by a local shop that has all the right certified equipment to straighten and true them.
     
  17. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    4,731
    Location:
    Smithfield, VA
    Oh boo, that's the first I've heard of 20" Avant Gardes bending, I have about 5,500 miles on 20" Avant Gardes and no bending so far. Guess our roads are a bit better here. How many miles did you put on them before bending?
     
  18. randompersonx

    randompersonx Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2014
    Messages:
    493
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    There are plenty of colder places that have roads far better than the USA North East -- For example, See: Germany.

    The reason the roads are terrible are completely because of failed policy. Roads are not re-paved often enough, and when they are paved, they are poorly paved and with asphalt rather than concrete.
     
  19. linkster

    linkster Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    989
    Location:
    USAX2
    #19 linkster, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
    Sorry you bent your beautiful 20s already Lighted T Man! If I moved back to The Peoples Republic of Merryland (never happen), I would deploy 19s for summer driving and 18s for winter use on those 3rd world quality roads.
     
  20. AWDtsla

    AWDtsla Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    2,134
    Location:
    NE
    Find a good shop that will straighten your wheels. Should be ~$120. Done it many times. This is nothing Tesla specific, it's just because our infrastructure is crumbling, and everyone is cutting taxes instead of fixing the damn country. Don't hit the potholes.
     

Share This Page