If you’ve ever bought a used aluminum wheel and have trouble with it breaking down, you’re not alone.
But a new report from the Consumer Reports magazine shows that this problem is becoming increasingly common.
The study, published online Monday, shows that more than half of all aluminum wheel repairs, or 51%, have been caused by poor manufacturing quality.
The aluminum wheel problem has gotten so bad that aluminum companies are using the term “aluminum bong” to describe the product.
“If we can fix the problem, it’s going to be the best-selling product,” said Richard Cressey, vice president of research for Consumer Reports.
“And I don’t mean ‘the best-sellers’ in terms of brand recognition.”
The problem is especially prevalent in the car industry, which has spent the last decade redesigning its wheel to accommodate aluminum.
But the aluminum bong has remained popular, and even as consumers are replacing older aluminum wheels with newer aluminum ones, the problem is still not fixed.
In 2012, Consumer Reports identified an average of 1,500 crashes in cars and trucks every year.
Last year, the report said, there were more than 16,000.
Some experts are worried that the problem will get worse, and that aluminum wheels will be used more than ever.
The report points to a number of factors that have contributed to the problem.
The most common reason for aluminum wheel failures is poor manufacturing, according to the report: bad assembly, poor construction, faulty wiring, and the use of plastic for the wheel.
Aluminum is lighter than steel, and is easier to bend, but it’s harder to bend than other metals.
Some of the problems cited in the report include: “Poor manufacturing quality,” where parts fail prematurely and the wheel doesn’t have enough force to break through a vehicle’s frame.
The result is that a wheel can bend and crack, causing it to stop moving or break.
Another common cause is inadequate maintenance, such as a driver’s error that can cause the wheel to spin out of control.
“It’s been a slow-moving industry,” said Robert J. Mertz, a vice president at the Aluminum and Wheels Council, which represents the industry.
“A lot of people are doing it in the wrong places.”
Aluminum is also made of polyethylene, which can be hard to weld, and therefore more prone to corrosion than steel.
The problem with aluminum wheels is that they’re often welded together in a way that can crack and crackle.
Aluminum can also be welded to other products, including plastic, so it can flex.
The metal can also corrode quickly and the process can be messy.
A single wheel can also break apart, making it impossible to fix.
“You’re going to see a lot more wheel damage in a lot of different applications, whether it’s a factory-installed wheel or a new wheel that’s been welded,” Merts said.
“The only thing you can do is use a plastic bag, which I think is probably the safest way to go.”
In a survey of more than 4,000 customers, Consumer Report found that the majority of wheel problems were caused by improper assembly, and a high percentage were caused because of a driver error.
“There is a significant amount of work involved in installing the wheels,” said Mark Boulanger, a senior vice president with the National Auto Parts Manufacturers Association.
“They have to be checked for defects, and they have to have the right parts installed.”
But the problem can be fixed in a number different ways.
“We’re really just at the point where you can go to a local car dealer, buy the wheel and install it,” Meckel said.
The key is getting the proper tools, Mert says.
“I’ve seen it happen with a lot different kinds of aluminum, but the most common is a tool called a hex wrench,” he said.
These tools have been around for decades, but they’re becoming more popular in the auto industry, and manufacturers are offering them for less.
The best way to do that is to buy an aluminum wheel kit, Mecks said.
That’s typically around $250 to $400.
But in addition to the wheel itself, many manufacturers also offer wheel accessories that can help repair your aluminum wheels.
These include a small wheel repair kit, which costs $20, and an aluminum brake pad, which is typically $30.
“All of these items help,” said Boulangers.
“But it’s not going to solve your wheel.”