Aluminum wheels are vulnerable to cracks. And, you will find fractures on the wheel’s body, if they somehow receive a strong blow.
This is a major problem and you can’t drive your car having a cracked wheel. Small cracks can grow bigger with times. But, buying a new wheel for a tiny fracture is also not a good idea.
The good news is that you can easily repair and get rid of this issue by following the procedure discussed in this article. You just need to buy a perfect welding machine and follow the steps precisely.
Without further delay, let’s begin our journey of learning how to weld aluminum car wheel.
HOW TO WELD ALUMINUM CAR WHEELS: 10 EASY STEPS
According to WeldingHubs, the quality of aluminum, design, wheel-tire aspect ratio, condition of the road, etc. determine the chance of a crack. Even a little crack can be dangerous and need to get your attention.
Below I have written step by step process of dealing this irritating problem. So, let’s begin…
- Rule out the wheel which needs welding: There are factors to consider before welding
If cracks reside on the back or inboard side of the wheel, then these defects are safe to weld. However, most of the cracks on the backside of the wheel will cross the flange and bead area to the spinning direction of the wheel. These cracks can be welded too.
On the other hand, cracks on the front face or on one of the spokes damage the structural integrity. We advise not to weld in these sites. Cracks inside the barrel are also not safe to weld.
Besides, a crack parallel to the spin direction should not be welded; it makes the wheel wider at the weld area. The wheel will never run straight again.
- Sanding and Cleaning
This step ensures a clear view of the defected area and also makes the space suitable for the next steps. You should use a 36-grit on the 1/4″ angle grinder for sanding and cleaning the aluminum.
- Drill holes
Drill little holes at each end of the crack because the faulty point of the aluminum car’s wheel can stop getting worse at the time of welding. Plus, holes on each side will prevent the fracture from widening horizontally or vertically.
- Heating the working surface
Lit the Oxyacetylene torch up and heat the entire damaged area. It assists in removing the dirt, grease, or other impurities from the surface of the alloy. It also softens the working area a little. Besides, preheating also relieves some stresses from the wheel.
Also, pre-heating helps the welding machine because it needs to work less hard to heat the area to be welded. Make sure you have a cooler too. If you don’t run a cooler, the wheel will soak up a bunch of heat and may trip off the welder’s duty cycle.
So, in short, you need to keep the cracked area hot while maintaining normal temperature on the other parts of the aluminum wheel.
- Preparing the field
When the spot is hot, you have to level the area out using a hammer. Reheat the area if needed. After that, gouge out on both sides of the crack. It will create a space to fill the fracture. Also, it won’t allow the welding materials to just lie on top.
Put a groove in the crack on either side about the depth of a 3/16″ filler rod. 4043 is preferable. Clean the entire welding area with a cleaning liquid and let it dry before welding.
- Choose a perfect welding machine
A TIG welder is preferred for this type of repair tasks. Besides, a high-performing TIG will make your job simple. Installing a gas lens kit on the TIG machine will ensure better gas coverage. Check some review on the internet about the best TIG welding machine and you will easily find a suitable one for you.
- Welding trial and adjustment
Start welding backside of the wheel just next to the working field and dial the clearance effect in. Try to get small clean weld puddle. We suggest a setting of around -3 for clearance effect, pedal set to 160 amps max, a 3/32″ purple E3 electrode, #8 Gas lens cups, and around 20 CFH for gas flow.
Start Welding the backside of the aluminum wheel first as it won’t be seen from outside. After that, start to weld the front side while some heat is still available on the wheel. It helps the puddle to flow evenly. Ensure there are no pores in the welding.
- Level the welding
Level the welds out. Use a flap disc on the angle grinder. Shape the corners of the lip smoothly. Get a 36 grit disc on the 1/4″ angle grinder to blend the weld seams into the wheel.
- Optional Works
The primary work of repairing is done. At this point, your car wheel should be in good condition. Now, you can do some optional works. For example- You can level and polish the surface, paint, curb rash, repair low spots etc.
- Use proper protection equipment at the time of operation.
- Follow the whole process in front of an expert welder if you are doing it for the first time.
- Test your welding machine before applying it on your car’s alloy wheels.
WELD YOUR ALUMINUM CAR WHEEL TODAY!
Welding an aluminum car wheel doesn’t have to be an issue anymore. Even if you aren’t an expert welder, with this guide, you’ll know everything about how to weld aluminum car wheels .
The cost to replace a damaged aluminum or alloy wheel is expensive and sometimes harder to find a replacement.
So, give it a try to repair the wheel yourself. Believe me; you will be able to save a lot of money. And most importantly, keep up with all the safety measures while working with the tool.