Nothing lasts forever and bike wheels are no exception. They’re subjected to a lot of stress and flexing, especially the rear wheel. It’s not unusual for a rim to crack, especially around the spoke holes.
I noticed that the rear wheel on my vintage Trek 2500 Pro had developed a pretty serious wobble. When I put it on the truing stand this morning to true it up, I noticed that the spokes had started to pull through the rim in three places.
After literally thousands of miles, my faithful rear wheel had finally given up the ghost. I’ve worn right through the side wall of a mountain bike rim, but I’ve never had a road bike wheel fail, except as a result of a crash.
I have a vintage Ambrosio Montreal tubular rim so what I might do is build a new wheel. Not sure if I want to use a tubular for commuting though.
Bike wheels do wear out, so if you ride an older bike, check them over for signs of damage or fatigue every time you wash your bike.