You were recently involved in an accident, but thankfully, walked away from it okay. However, you’ve noticed that one of your wheels is bent inward, preventing you from safely and properly controlling your vehicle. Now what?
If your wheel is bent inwards after an accident, the amount it will cost to fix it depends on how deep the damage goes.
If the wheels just need to be realigned, you may pay as little as $100-$150. However, if the suspension or frame is bent, your repair costs could range up to $5,000.
Below, we’ll discuss all the costs associated with fixing a bent wheel after an accident. Keep reading to learn what you should be prepared to pay.
- How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Wheel that’s Bent Inward?
- Will Insurance Cover a Bent Wheel?
- Will Your Insurance Company Declare Your Vehicle Totaled?
- Final Thoughts
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Wheel that’s Bent Inward?
Repairing a bent wheel after an accident may cost anywhere from $100-$5,000. It all depends on what exactly needs to be fixed or replaced.
For example, repairing a bent frame or suspension will likely be the most expensive route. Fixing your alignment, on the other hand, will probably be the least expensive. Along with these three things, you may have to look into replacing the struts, axle, or lower control arm.
The first thing you should do after your accident is take your car (or have it towed) to a body shop. They will be able to tell you what needs to be fixed, and may even offer an estimate on the spot. Below, we’ll highlight the average cost of a few different fixes.
|Type of Repair||Average Cost|
|Lower control arm replacement||$500-$700|
|Bent frame fix||$800-$1,000|
|Bent suspension fix||$1,000-$5,000|
As you can see, the cost ranges significantly based on the work that needs to be done. Let’s discuss what each of these fixes entails.
A wheel or tire alignment does not actually adjust your wheels. Instead, it adjusts your vehicle’s suspension, which connects your tires to your car.
If you notice any of the following symptoms along with your bent wheel, you might need an alignment:
- Vehicle pulling to one side
- Vibrations within the steering wheel
- Steering wheel off-center when driving straight
If your accident was minor, it’s likely that the impact just knocked your tires out of alignment. Thankfully, this is a very inexpensive fix. It costs around $50-$75 for a front-wheel alignment, while a full alignment typically costs $100-$150.
Your struts are a smaller part of the larger suspension assembly. They are located above the tires and move to absorb any irregularities in the road, such as potholes.
If your tire has bent inwards, you likely have some damage to the struts because of their relative location. While driving with bad struts will just make for a bumpier ride at first, it can eventually wear down other components due to excessive bouncing and shaking.
If only one strut is damaged, you do have the option to replace it on its own for around $200-$400. However, it’s often best to replace them in pairs. A new pair of front struts generally costs between $300-$800, depending on the vehicle you own.
Lower Control Arm Replacement
Your vehicle’s lower control arm is what connects your wheels to the frame. Like most parts of the suspension system, it reduces irregularities and noise from the road.
If your tire is bent inwards, your lower control arm is likely damaged. This is an incredibly important component to fix, as without it, steering your car will be difficult or impossible. In most cases, a new lower control arm will cost between $500-$700.
Most vehicles have two axles: one that connects the front tires and one that connects the rear tires. It’s responsible for transferring power from the transmission directly to the wheels.
A bad axle can cause vibrating or grinding noises. You may also feel vibrations in your steering wheel or when you press the brake pedal. If a mechanic diagnoses you with a bent axle, it’s essential to get it fixed before you drive again.
Since your axle connects the tires on both sides of your vehicle, it’s highly likely that an inwardly-bent wheel signifies a bent axle. If you need a new axle, it will likely cost between $450-$850 in total.
Fixing a Bent Frame
One of the most severe problems that a bent wheel can signify is a bent frame. This type of damage usually comes from severe accidents, so if you were involved in a high-speed collision, you might want a mechanic to check out your frame.
Since a vehicle’s frame is part of its body, you’ll usually have to visit a body shop technician to have it pushed back into place.
These technicians use special tools and hydraulic machines to push frames back into place with immense pressure. It typically costs around $800, but may be more or less expensive depending on the extent of the damage.
Fixing a Bent Suspension
A bent suspension is often the most expensive cause of a bent wheel. If you believe the suspension is bent, take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible.
They will use special tools to check both the camber and SAI angle, then use those numbers to tell you whether or not you have a bent suspension.
A full suspension repair is often necessary in this case. Because it’s such a big job, you should be prepared to spend anywhere from $1,000-$5,000, depending on your vehicle type.
Will Insurance Cover a Bent Wheel?
Because your wheel was damaged in a collision, there are a few different scenarios in which insurance will cover the repairs. However, whether or not they will cover it, as well as how much of it they will cover, depends on your policy and your vehicle’s total value.
If Someone Hit Your Vehicle
You were driving down the road when all of a sudden, someone hit your car and bent the wheel inwards. You exchanged insurance information with the other driver, and now you’re ready to file a claim for the damage.
In this case, the other driver’s liability policy, which every driver is required to carry, will probably cover your repairs. However, this is only if the cost of repairs does not outweigh the actual value of your car.
If it would be more expensive to fix the vehicle than you would receive from selling it, the insurance company may declare it “totaled.”
If Your Hit Someone Else
Accidents happen, and recently, you happened to hit another vehicle while you were driving. Now, what can you do about your bent wheel?
Obviously, you cannot use another driver’s liability policy to cover damage in an accident you caused. If you want insurance to pay to fix your wheel, you’ll need to have a collision policy.
Unlike liability coverage, which only covers the other driver’s vehicle, collision coverage will cover damage to your vehicle – even if you caused the accident.
However, it often comes with a deductible. If you haven’t met your yearly deductible yet, your insurer will take the amount out of your total insurance check.
If You’re The Victim of a Hit and Run
There’s nothing worse than being the victim of a hit and run. When the driver who hits you speeds off before you can exchange insurance information, or even before you can take down their license plate number, you may feel like there’s no hope of getting the damages covered.
This is when it pays to have uninsured motorist coverage. This policy is optional in most states, and kicks in when the driver who hits you does not have sufficient coverage.
It often helps to have a police report to give your insurance agent in this case, so don’t leave the scene without making a report.
Will Your Insurance Company Declare Your Vehicle Totaled?
Insurance companies are notorious for avoiding body work like the plague. They often choose to declare your vehicle totaled, sending you a check for the current value, rather than paying to repair the damage.
Whether or not the insurance company you’re working with will repair your car depends mainly on its value at the time of the accident. For example, they’re not likely to shell out $5,000 to repair damage on a car that’s only worth $3,000.
Although this can be frustrating, it’s often better to purchase a new car than to pay thousands on a car that’s not worth much. You’ll get a check to cover your loss, then get a new, better-functioning car at a discount!
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact cost to fix an inwardly-bent wheel, because the damage could be due to several different problems. Some problems will cost as little as $100 to fix, while others require you to hand over several thousand dollars.
Right after your accident, take your vehicle to the shop to have the damage inspected. Once you know exactly what needs to be fixed, you’ll have an easier time shopping around and weighing your options.