Corvette Rim Failure: Fluke or Flaw?

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Recently on our forums, we came across a very rare anomaly. Member chets ls3 was using his Corvette in the way Corvettes are intended to be used, but somehow managed to produce a stress fracture on a rim. Your initial thoughts might be that this was an aftermarket rim, but this is indeed an OEM Corvette rim. Now, one can argue that standard Corvette rims, as pictured, aren’t meant for this kind of abuse, but any wheel on a sports car should be more than able to handle the rigors of spirited driving.

Personally, I have encountered this same problem of rim failure on a vehicle of quite high caliber. It was an Italian car of the exotic variety, and the stress cracks looked almost exactly the same. The way in which the problem was discovered was also the same: a strange vibration (which scares me to think about now, knowing what it was), followed by 2 spokes that got cracked, and no hard impacts with rumble strips.

Some folks on the forum have mentioned the wheel weights. I’ve yet to land on either side of the fence on this. A good wheel and tire shouldn’t need much weight, but sometimes even the best have some vast irregularities. Either way, I’m hesitant to think that an unbalanced, and subsequently cracked OEM rim was the result of poor manufacturing.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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