Split rims are a type of rims used on motor vehicles – especially larger vehicles such as forklifts, tractors, bulldozers, trailers etc.; the way to identify split rims is to examine your wheel, if you have split rims there should be a ring around the outer edge of your rims that is separate from, but which seems connected to the outer circumference of the rims and sits around the inner circumference of the tire; this ring has a small gap – or split in it and is called a lock ring. Split rims are easily distinguished from regular rims as a regular rim is one solid structure with no additions, whereas a split rim has the lock ring.
There are many warnings attached with the handling of split rims as they can be quite dangerous and here is why; the lock ring that comes with split rims has been known to fly off and becomes quite a dangerous projectile while a person inflates his/her tires, especially because a person’s face and body are so close to the rim while inflating a tire.
If you have split rims there is no need for you to be overly concerned about them flying off as long as you are careful about what you are doing; the lock ring does not normally fly off except in the case of one of the following: corroded or dirty rim parts, not deflating tires before removing them, over-inflating the tire, putting tubed tires on a rim designed for tubeless tires, damaged or mismatched rim parts.
Mismatched rim parts in particular is something to be very careful of with split rims as it can be hard to detect until it is too late since lock rings will fit rims that are the wrong size but will not be properly seated and is more prone to flying off. So it is important to ensure that the lock ring on your split rim is the correct one that should be used and not just one that fits ‘ok’.
The recommended thing to do if you have split rims is to take them to a professional for servicing to avoid any accidents or injury as a professional will know the required procedures and security measures to prevent the lock rim flying off and causing any damage. If you understand the risks and still choose to service your split rims yourself, then here are a few tips on doing so safely.
Do not unscrew or loosen any nuts on your wheels, or remove any wheel from your vehicle until the tire has been deflated and the valve core is removed; when inflating split-rimmed wheels, make sure the wheel is placed behind a secure, restraining device (preferably one built specifically for that purpose) and inflate tires to no more than 35 kPA. Make sure all lock rings are properly seated, and finally do not use dirty, damaged or distorted tires or rims as the slightest flaw can interfere with the security of the lock ring.