Why Subaru Does Not Approve of Wheel Reconditioning and Why That’s Critical for Your Repair

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Wheel reconditioning in collision repair can lead to a whole host of problems.

If you are not familiar with wheel reconditioning, it is a process of using various tools and methods to try to repair a damaged wheel, instead of replacing it entirely.  Some methods include welding, re-plating, or reshaping the wheel.  

Nearly every car manufacturer releases Position Statements explaining what methods of auto body repair they do or do not recommend.  While some shops disregard these statements, we take a fine-tooth comb to the information they provide so that we can provide the best possible repair for every vehicle that comes through our doors.

When it comes to wheel reconditioning, Subaru has issued a Position Statement explaining why they do not accept wheel reconditioning in any vehicle repairs.  Here’s what they say:

“Subaru does not approve of wheel reconditioning. Collision-damaged wheels should be extensively examined to determine if the wheel should be replaced. Any wheel refinishing or wheel conditioning may not meet Subaru specifications and may cause unsafe vehicle performance, which could result in passenger injury or death.”

The problem with reconditioning methods, such as heating, welding, and reshaping, is that these techniques could compromise the structural integrity of your wheels.  If a wheel is damaged enough to warrant reconditioning, then it should just be replaced outright.       

Being the only parts of the car to actually make contact with the road, your wheels are essential to your safety and are worth investing the proper time and energy into.  It is simply not worth the risk to your life to take chances with the condition of your vehicle’s wheels.


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Reconditioned wheels will void your warranty.

Another major reason to avoiding wheel reconditioning is that it can void your warranty:

“Subaru will only warrant an undamaged original wheel or a new replacement wheel.”

The practice of wheel reconditioning is so problematic that Subaru won’t even warrant wheels that have been repaired with this method.  Not only is wheel reconditioning dangerous to your vehicle and yourself—it’s dangerous to your wallet, as well.


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Not all shops follow these recommendations, but we do.

It’s disappointing, but some shops throw caution out the window and continue to practice wheel reconditioning, despite Subaru’s adamant recommendation to avoid this practice at all costs.  They can get away with this because no body shop is actually forced to adhere to a manufacturer’s Position Statement.  

At our shop, we strongly believe that there’s no reason to take a chance with your Subaru’s repair by going against the advice of the manufacturer.  Reconditioned wheels can lead to very dangerous problems down the road.  We will always replace your Subaru’s wheels entirely if they’ve sustained significant damage. 

You won’t have to worry about driving on unstable wheels when you bring your vehicle to us.  We always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in order to deliver the safest possible repair to our customers. 

Subaru Recommends Only Using OEM Parts on Structural Repairs—Here’s Why You Should Care

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Subaru wants you to have the highest-quality repair and that means using the best replacement parts.

If you’re in a collision and need to take your Subaru to a shop for repairs, it only makes sense that you would want the job to be done as safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible.  At our shop, one of the ways we can ensure the best possible repair for our customers is by adhering to the recommendations of each vehicle’s manufacturer.  

It is common practice in our industry for each vehicle manufacturer to provide “Position Statements” that explain the best methods for repairing their makes and models.  Unfortunately, some body shops toss this useful advice out the window.  Unlike those shops, we believe it’s imperative to study the information carefully and follow the recommendations as expressed by the manufacturer.

In the event of structural repairs, Subaru has released a Position Statement recommending that only Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts be used on their vehicles:

“Subaru does not support the use of aftermarket, alternative, or reverse-engineered components, or anything other than Subaru Genuine Parts for the collision repair of any Subaru vehicle. Additionally, Subaru does not support the use of parts that have been removed, salvaged or recycled from an existing vehicle. The use of non-OEM components that may not be manufactured to Subaru specifications or tolerances, or the use of alternative structural repair procedures, could compromise occupant safety in a subsequent collision.”

Essentially, they are explaining that it would be detrimental to your safety if anything besides OEM structural parts are used in a repair.


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How are structural parts different from any other parts?

Structural parts include floor elements, body panels, frame rails, and more that basically hold your vehicle together.  It’s especially important to preserve the integrity of your structural components, as they are the sections of your car that can help minimize damage in the event of a collision. 

These parts are designed with crush zones that are intended to absorb the energy in a collision, giving you and your passengers additional protection. 


Here’s the problem with non-OEM structural parts.

There are plenty of aftermarket, recycled, and salvage structural parts available, but none of them will ever be as reliable or as structurally sound as new Subaru Genuine Parts.  

Aftermarket parts are developed to fit a range of makes and models, so they may not fit the exact specifications for placement on a Subaru.  That means a technician would have to bend, heat, and employ other creative methods to get the part to fit properly.  

Recycled and salvage parts might seem like a good idea, but keep in mind that it’s nearly impossible to determine the quality of their condition by the time they get to you.  They might be from a car that was already involved in a collision or experienced extreme weather fluctuations or simply survived general wear and tear. 

Even upon close inspection, it’s often impossible to see all the microscopic damage a salvage part might have endured.  Even very minor discrepancies in material or shape can cause a structural part to become less effective and, therefore, less safe to use on your vehicle.


It’s dangerous to use anything besides Subaru Genuine Parts in your repair.

The engineers at Subaru have carefully designed their structural parts to work together seamlessly.  According to Subaru: 

“Compromising any element of a collision energy absorption system or an occupant supplemental restraint system in the repair of a collision-damaged vehicle may have an adverse effect on occupant safety in any subsequent collision.”

They are saying that disrupting even one structural element could throw the whole system off, leading to major problems down the road, including poor vehicle performance and less protection in a collision.

There’s no sense in taking chances with your safety.  OEM parts are higher quality than aftermarket parts.  OEM parts have also never been used, never been exposed to the elements, never been rendered defective by improper disassembly like recycled or salvage parts. 

New structural parts are made to function optimally on your vehicle, increasing your car’s performance and your personal safety.


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While other shops might disregard Subaru’s recommendations, we respect this information because we care about the quality of your repair.

It might be surprising to you, but collision repair shops are not required to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  There’s no one actually enforcing these Position Statements, so manufacturers are putting their trust in us to do as they recommend.  

At our shop, we genuinely care about every repair we do.  Because of this, we make sure to follow Subaru’s recommendation of using new replacement structural parts, instead of taking chances with aftermarket and salvage components. 

It is our mission to do what’s best for your vehicle’s performance and for your safety.