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Old 12-01-2012, 09:12 PM   #1
coral reef
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Unhappy Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

I'm a long time lurker on this site and don't post much but I'm baffled w/an issue so I thought it would be good to seek some input since I've searched all day and can't find any info. Sorry in advance for the long post but....

I have an 08 Malibu LS that we bought new in Aug/08. It has the 16" 5 spoke steel rims w/hubcaps. Currently we have almost 89k on the car, it's been a great car too. At 50K the stock tires needed replaced, so I put Goodyear Comfortred on and bought the warranty so I could have peace of mind and get free rotations & balancing. So every 5K miles they rotate & balance them, and they are currently at 8/32's & new are at 12/32's so they have been wearing well.

Before Thanksgiving, I drove the car (it's my wife's DD) and noticed it had a little shake in the seat, so I set up a little earlier appointment to get them balanced because we were going on a road trip for the holidays. Took the car in, picked it up and the guy at Goodyear couldn't get the tps to set, so I set up another appointment to come in because none of them read. We went on the trip and the wheel was shaking like the tire was out of balance badly, so at the follow up appointment to get the sensors set, I told them the shake was still there and went from the rear to the steering wheel. After about 2 hours they told me one of the tires was out of round badly and another was kind of out and that they tried 4 brand new tires and they were all the same because they mounted and checked all of them. They checked the wheels for damage and they by themselves balanced out fine. They said they would give me a new one and would order 8 new tires to make sure they had one would work and went on to explain how new tires might have a bad batch, blah blah blah. They also let me pay $33 to add an additional tire for the so-so one, so I would have 2 new which I didn't think was a bad deal. They moved these two back to the rear of the car where they were originally so the shake wasn't in the wheel.

Today, I went in to get it fixed again. After about 45 minutes the service manager came out and said "I want to show you something." I went out, he spun the wheel and held a hammers handle next to the inside of the wheel and it would rub off and on and he said the wheel was bent and that the other wheel was bent, but not as bad and could be almost completely balanced out. They tried 4 different styles & brands of tires with me standing there and they were all the same.

So, I guess I'm confused because both of these wheels were on the rear when all this started and we had no major issues before then, just a mild shake that developed and got worse just recently. Then, they were moved to the front which moved the shake to the steering wheel. I asked them how was it possible to damage two rear rims, when the front two were not damaged? I just don't understand how that could happen or how they went bad? Neither me, or my wife remember hitting anything, plus it makes since to me that if we did, it would damage 2 wheels on the same side or just the front two if we pulled over the curb or something.

So anyway, they put the old tires back on and sent me on my way. Junk yards want 100+ for used rims and the dealership wants 200 for 1 new one. I just don't get it. Any thoughts.......
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:18 PM   #2
BillD64
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

Have seen wheels get bent in all sorts of weird ways so it I believe it is quite possible the rear wheels could have hit a bump the right way to cause them to bend while the fronts didn't. Sort of like getting a puncture in the rear tire Vs the front tire even though the front tire ran over the same nail.

100+ seems a little high for a junkyard steel wheel. Isn't that the wheel that has been used forever on Malibu's or at least since 97??? Should be a lot of them in the junkyard given accident rates and the number of Malibu's that have been sold. $40 to $50 sounds like it would be more in the ballpark. You can get them for $40 plus shipping on eBay.

Bill

Last edited by BillD64; 12-01-2012 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:59 AM   #3
coral reef
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

It's these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/16-WHEEL-MAL...a09a61&vxp=mtr

I thought they would be cheap to when I started calling around but everywhere was 100+ which is stinky. If you know of any place that has them cheaper, that would be awesome!
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

Welded steel rims are pretty easy to bend. If you want strength, get alloys. Car makers use steel because they're cheaper to produce.

New alloys start around $100 each.

Last edited by greenman; 12-02-2012 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:37 PM   #5
coral reef
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

I'm going to start saving for some I guess because everything I see in 16" I don't like but still want to use the tires I have and I like the factory 18". I got lucky for once and just picked up and entire set off someone on craigslist for $100. Hopefully at least one of them will be good enough to work for now.
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

@coral reef, I’m curious at how the wheels from Craig’s List help with your situation. Please, let me know how things are going.

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Old 12-02-2012, 04:29 PM   #7
coral reef
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

I have to replace the two out of round 16" stock steel rims that are currently on the car w/2 of the 4 stock 16" steel rims I purchased from Craigslist for $100 (I paid 100 for all 4). So basically I got an entire set for less than the cost of 1 from a junkyard/ebay which is also half of the wholesale cost of 1 from the dealership.

Also, to anyone else that may come across this issue, it seems from my reading that this is a pretty common (by common I mean it happens pretty easily, not to every rim) issue with the 5 spoke steel designed 16" OEM hubcap set up. I've read that the spoke & weld design bends very easily, due to engineering which could be why the 16" was only an option on the 08. I spoke w/a friend that works at a Chevy service center and they've seen this off and on with different vehicles that use this same design, but rarely with the typical solid steel rim design unless someone hit something pretty hard which wouldn't be covered under warranty, compared to the 5 spoke which goes 'out of round' pretty easily and not seen with the naked eye. I guess I'm not too worried now as long as the rims I purchased work out. Otherwise, I'll be back in the same boat.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

Well, went back today after setting an appointment and was told 3 of the 4 rims I purchased were bent too? Sounds strange, but oh well. They warrantied 2 tires, put them up front and things seem to be better. For anyone looking or in the same position I was in, either get aftermarket 16" rims or upgrade to OEM 17" or 18". Hope this takes care of the issue!

On another note, while pulling out after getting this done, BAM, engine light comes on for the first time ever! P0010 code. Cleared it and it hasn't come back on......I have great luck, NOT!
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:10 AM   #9
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Post Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

I have an 08 Malibu with the 2.4 auto. Seeing this steel wheel issue im wondering if it is as common with 17inch wheels as it is with 16". I bought my car a year ago with 120,00 miles and a pull to the left while driving down the road. not any more while braking or accelerating. I had a GM tech do the alignment 3 times right away as it didnt help each time. i replaced and balanced the tires... no help. There is no loose or worn out steering or suspension parts. and the brakes work perfectly. even wear on the pads and rotors.

could it be the rims?
one of the times that i rotated the tires and rims i noticed that on the inside of every rim there was about a 4inch dent on the bead of the rim. like maybe from hitting the rim to remove it off the hub if it was stuck. i was able to hit the dents with a rubber mall real hard and get them to bend back normal. so obviously they are not that strong.. Does anybody know or has anyone heard of a pull to one side or the other from bent rims? any ideas? Thank u
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:11 AM   #10
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Default Re: Problem: Steel Wheel(s) Go Bad?

Note to respondents: Post 9 above has been duplicated in its own thread. Normally we would remove the duplicate from here but since it's somewhat germane to the discussion (on topic) we'll leave it here. To post comments to his issue please find his thread and post them there.

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