National Safety Month: Do Your OEM Wheels and Brakes Pass the Test

Be Sure to Have Your Tires, Wheels, Brakes, Brake Lights, and More Inspected for Safety

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), June is National Safety Month. NSC is a leading nonprofit organization that focuses on eliminating preventable injuries and death. Although National Safety Month covers a wide range of safety-related issues, one of their main focuses is roadway safety and vehicle safety.


– To help, the NSC provides a significant number of helpful resources, including ones for:
– Safer people: resources to encourage responsible behavior of people on the road;
– Safer vehicles: those that spotlight vehicle safety technologies and design;
– Safer speeds: resources that focus on setting safe speeds;
– Safer roads: those that involve road design;
– Post-crash care: ways to encourage efficient and effective post-crash care; and
– Collaboration: comprehensively safe systems requiring cross-sector collaboration.


In a related vehicle safety month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offered tips on road safety during June’s Tire Safety Month. If you get a recall on your truck or car, promptly react to those vehicle safety recalls. To streamline the process of receiving notifications, get the alert app from the NHTSA.


As you care for your own vehicle, safety inspections play a key role in ensuring that each part is in good condition and properly functioning. This includes seatbelts, turn signals, headlights, high beams, brake lights, reverse lights, mirrors, horn, brakes, emergency brake, rubber/life on tires, wheels, and so forth.


Focus on Vehicle Wheels

When buying a set of wheels, make sure they’re suitable for your vehicle and of reasonable quality. Before you put them on, as part of your safety inspections, ensure your tires are properly installed, balanced, and safe.


Then, if you’re mounting a set of wheels for the first time, inspect them first—front and back, spokes, rims, barrels, and lips—for any damage. This is particularly important when they’re used but do so even if they’re new. Look for cracks, dents, and bent portions. If the vehicle wheels are used and you spot curb rash—which isn’t problematic all by itself—inspect even more closely for damage.


After installation, make sure the wheels are positioned correctly, including but not limited to the flange and side rings. Also ensure that clamps and wheel nuts are of appropriate tightness. If you notice wheel vibration when driving, the nuts may be loose; tighten them. As a more significant possibility, the wheels may have gotten bent.


In general, OEM wheels/stock wheels are built to be tough, but hitting bumps and potholes as you drive can cause damage. If you’re on especially rough roads—or go off-road—then the potential for damage is even greater. Over time, lug nuts and mounting studs can rust although wheel covers help to protect the underlying wheels, including to slow down any corrosion.


So, create a regular inspection schedule for your vehicle wheels, and do an extra check if you experience an event that may have damaged them. If you’re going to do a quick vehicle inspection that includes the wheels, clean them off first so you can more easily spot smaller cracks. It’s easier to notice problems on polished wheels; ones with metallic paint may be reasonably easy to find although the paint could cover up just-emerging issues. With powder-coated wheels, cracks and other minor damage may not be immediately apparent.


It can help to sometimes remove your wheels and hubcaps to do more thorough safety inspections. You can then look at them more closely—much like you could when first installing them. Check them, front and back, for cracks on the spokes. Shining a flashlight on the wheel can allow you to see if a scratch is really a small crack. Look for bent portions along the rims and lips. Run your hand over the barrel; fortunately, barrels are harder to damage, but make sure it feels smooth under your hand. Inspect centercaps; they’re not just decorative.


If you’d like, you can buy dye products specifically designed to find tiny cracks in vehicle wheels. Paint it on, brush it off, and then cracks are easier to see.


If the inspection is complete and the wheels look good, you can then replace the wheels and hubcaps on your vehicle. But what if there are problems? DIY fixes are not recommended; if you have a rare or otherwise special set of wheels, you might find a specialty shop that can heat-treat the cracks. Otherwise, it’s probably time for a replacement. Wheels, just like other car and truck parts, have a certain lifespan.


Quality Matters: Count on Hubcap Haven has the quality OEM wheels/stock wheels, OEM rims, centercaps, wheel covers, and more for safe driving—and really cool looks! Our site is easily searchable, and you can also contact us online or call 877-482-4283 with questions. You can trust the experts at Hubcap Haven!