There is much more to a perfect repair job than just getting your hands dirty. In the case of Wheel Collision Center in Bath, Pa. there is also a science involved in returning a damaged wheel to drivable condition.
Founded by George Herschman and Cornell University graduate Daryl Robbins, Wheel Collision Center offers quality wheel refinishing and wheel sales, as well as custom wheel polishing, painting, powder coating and chrome plating services. The company stocks thousands of refinished and used factory alloy wheels available for sale or exchange, while aftermarket or out of stock factory wheels can often be repaired or located. Above all, Wheel Collision Center is known throughout the industry for its patented, consistently high-quality wheel repair process, which takes the repair of bent wheels out of the hands of backyard shops into a world that combines engineering with superior mechanical expertise.
As Robbins says, “We believe that a reconditioned wheel can consistently be the right color, the right finish and be round within factory tolerances.”
Wheel Collision Center has been in the business of selling, refinishing, and repairing alloy wheels since 1990, when Robbins and Herschman were still overseeing their previous business venture, Advanced Machine Systems, Inc. It occurred to Robbins that if he could combine his engineering background with Herschman’s machinery skills, it might result in a better way to professionally straighten bent aluminum wheels.
“We put a program together with Lehigh University’s Materials Research Center, funded by the state of Pennsylvania, in which we had metallurgy tests conducted on the straightening of damaged wheels to find out if we could validate our repair process,” Robbins recalls. “We were able to take a wheel and return it to factory roundness tolerances without adversely affecting its metallurgical properties. Over the course of two and a half years of funding, we were able to accomplish our goal, and apply for and be rewarded a broad U.S. patent on both the equipment and process.”
With so much time and effort put into developing a legitimate way to repair damaged wheels, Robbins is secure in his company’s ability to determine what works (and what doesn’t) in the wheel reconditioning process.
“Between the patent and the testing, we’ve put ourselves in a relatively unique position in the industry where we can confidently repair a wheel and know that we have returned it to factory specifications,” he explains. “Conversely, with that knowledge, we know that there are certain wheels we receive that may be able to be straightened properly, but not without affecting the metallurgy. Because of our testing, we know what can and cannot be repaired properly based on the level and nature of the damage.”
“Sometimes, people think because we’re in Pennsylvania that we’re a long way away,” Robbins says. “But we have drivers who pick up in Eastern Pennsylvania and Central and North Jersey, along with daily UPS across the rest of the U.S. making our wheel repair, refinish and sales both cost effective and convenient for our customers.”
While technology has allowed Wheel Collision Center to produce a solid, dependable product, misconceptions about the overall quality of repaired and reconditioned wheels – a holdover from the days when repairers would bash away on bent steel and alloy wheels with hammers – still circulate throughout the industry. Not surprisingly, Robbins would like to put such concerns to rest once and for all.
“The alloys weren’t very good [in the past], and the wheel could break or crack,” he says. “At that point, many thought, ‘Well, you can’t repair aluminum wheels.’ Wheel Collision Center evolved to figure out how that could be done, professionally and reliably."
Tom Corcoran, 2005 Acura TL 3.2, writes:
"Hi - just wanted to say I recently had my Acura rims fixed by your company on Friday (at American Tire in NJ) and you guys did an outstanding job. I am not sure of the process you used to do this - is it just paint?
Very impressed and I am not an easily impressed person - nice job. This site is now forever bookmarked and not just because of the attractive model on the home page. Thanks again - I will spread your name as far as I can.
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