Over the past few years, vehicle manufacturers have issued warnings against reconditioned, refurbished or remanufactured wheels. Vehicle owners may not understand that wheels are critical to their personal safety and the safety of their passengers. Why is it important to avoid placing remanufactured wheels on your vehicle?
Typically, reconditioned, refurbished and remanufactured wheels have been damaged in accidents. Damage may range from minor scrapes to significant dents or gouges that may change the shape of the wheel. In the reconditioning process, the damaged wheel may be subjected to re-machining, super-heating, repainting, welding, chroming, bending, straightening, reshaping, and removal or addition of materials, other than minor sanding or cosmetic-type coatings. It is virtually impossible to certify that a reconditioned wheel meets the safety standards of original equipment specifications given all the possible scenarios for repair, and impossible to know whether the fundamental structure of the wheel has been altered due to the remanufacturing process.
While some states, notably Vermont, have recommended against remanufactured wheels, there are few, if any, federal government guidelines or standards in place for testing the safety of remanufactured wheels. A number of auto manufacturers have issued position statements against remanufactured wheels.
Ford does not recommend the addition or removal of any metal to a wheel. Doing so, may change the shape or size of the wheel and cause steering or suspension problems, creating loss of control, leading to rollover and death or injury to those riding in a vehicle. Toyota does not support reconditioned wheels or endorse the safe use of reconditioned wheels on any Toyota, Lexus or Scion. In a statement, Toyota said, “use of any wheel or tire not recommended by Toyota may compromise safe motor vehicle operation, and cause loss of control which may result in injury or death. Approved wheel repairs are limited to cosmetic sanding and refinishing processes that remove and replace only paint coatings.” Other vehicle manufacturers who have issued statements against reconditioned wheels include Acura and Honda Motor Company, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler.
If a wheel on your vehicle needs replacement, you should work with your insurance company to replace it with a new OEM replacement part. If you choose to use a remanufactured wheel, you should request in writing from the wheel repair shop or aftermarket supplier that any recommendations provided by the vehicle’s original manufacturer have been followed.
-Verify that the wheel carries permanent markings that identify the aftermarket supplier and date of remanufacture.
-Determine whether the wheel is covered under warranty.
-Consider that a number of vehicle manufacturers do not warrant remanufactured, refinished, refurbished or reconditioned wheels provided by aftermarket suppliers.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Henry Hanflik have been in helping victims of car, truck and motorcycle accidents for over 35 years. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, call us now for a free consultation at 810-720-4000, or toll-free at 888-905-4632.