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So I just had an incident where my wife scraped the curb in my BRAND NEW car with the front right wheel while parking in front of our house. I'd estimate she was going about 8MPH. I witnessed it happen and it made an audible thump. The damage on the rim looks pretty awful and there is some damage to the tire sidewall, pictures below. I took the car to my local mechanic today. His shop was full and he couldn't get me on a riser so that he could take off the wheel and check all the components, but he looked at the damage by eye and was confident that it was only aesthetic. He took the car for a drive around the block to make sure it felt correct (no pulling, no steering column vibrations, etc.). He said everything felt fine. When looking at the tire, he was confident the tire damage was only aesthetic as well. He also took the tire pressure and he said, "It didn't even lose any air, which is good." My questions:

1) Should I insist on a wheel removal and check of components such as the lower control arm, the wheel bearing, the suspension, etc. just in case? Or do you think him driving it around the block and eyeballing it was fine?

2) I know sidewall damage can really mess with the integrity of the tire, so what do you guys think based on the pictures?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Here's those pictures:

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  • KwickSilver does a pretty credible job at fixing curb rash. I've used them, and the work they do is remarkable. For particularly deep gashes, they actually weld in the appropriate metal. They're a nationwide (U.S.) chain so you should be able to find one in your area. – BillDOe Aug 14 at 19:24
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    What do you mean by "tear down"? Check wheel & tire (which has been done) or completely strip front suspension? You have had the advice of a professional - who you should trust... – Solar Mike Aug 14 at 19:30
  • What I mean by tear-down is taking off the wheel to check: -The wheel bearings -The suspension -The lower control Arm -Anything else that could be damaged in this kind of impact and might not be apparaent. I'm editing my post now to make this more clear. – Roquen Aug 14 at 19:34
  • Thanks for the information on KwickSilver. I'll be sure to use them for the cosmetic repairs. – Roquen Aug 14 at 19:46
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From the pics I'd be inclined to concur with your mechanic's assessment. While annoying as all hell (especially on a shiny new toy) the damage appears to be entirely cosmetic.

The majority of the energy of the impact will have been absorbed by the flex of the sidewall. The only portion of the impact that's realistically in a position to transfer force to the wheelbearing, suspension etc is the bit on the wheel itself - and while not pretty the damage there is little more than a scuff and I've be very surprised if it even put enough force through to put the alignment/tracking out.

While I think it would be a waste of time/money to have a tear down done if you're feeling especially paranoid about it and want the peace of mind you could start with an alignment check, but without a known "pre-impact" baseline it will be hard to tell for sure if there is any difference - and anything substantial enough to indicate damage would probably have been felt by the mechanic on the test drive anyway.

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As long as no ply's are visible, or bulging you should be fine. (your tires appear to have only cosmetic damage and should be fine)

However the rim is a different story, if your steering wheel isn't shaking while you drive down the road or the car isn't pulling one particular way then you are probably fine.

I work as a tire tech, often times the rims will be bent (out of round) and you can only see it spinning on a balancer from the inside of the wheel. But that isn't going to happen from curb rash on the outside.

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