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We have a Japanese car that recently developed a slow leak in the right rear tire. One tire shop told us that we needed new tires on the back, but the justification sounded weak so I drove it for a while longer until I got fed up with pumping air into the tire every weekend.

When I took the tires to another shop, the technician pointed out chrome that was coming off the bead seat of the rim. These are factory stock rims on a six-year-old luxury sedan, so I didn't expect these kind of problems.

Chrome flaking off

Some might contend that this could have been mechanical damage during a tire replacement, or residual issues after someone tried to seal the tire against the flaking rim (only causing more damage later); regardless of the cause, I'm loosing my desire to continue using chrome rims.

That said, are there disadvantages of going with aluminum alloy rims? I hope to pull some off a similar model from a junkyard if possible, but I want to be sure I'm not getting a different kind of problem going this route.

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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

My experience is that Chrome is the worst possible case, either aluminum/alloy or steel should be much better. :-)

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I used to work at a big chain tire store, and chrome going bad on wheels is pretty common. Sometimes the chrome finish lasts for awhile and sometimes it goes bad within a few years. I personally would not use chrome rims since chrome eventually goes bad.

We used to temporarily fix a leaking chrome wheel by taking a wire brush to the chrome where the tire bead seats on the wheel. We would then use a generous amount of bead sealer (a rubber bond that helps create an air tight seal with the rim) before inflating the tire.

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