Joined: 29 Aug 2017
|Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:26 am Post subject: Aftermarket Wheels and Tyres
|Wheels and Tyres
At the end of the day wheels are a necessity. Some people prefer to use steel wheels due to their basic design however recently there has been an increased used of alloy wheels both from factory and also the aftermarket demand has picked up especially from the American Markets.. Many people are now choosing to install aftermarket wheels to enhance the look and performance of their vehicle and this is where this entry will come into the puzzle. I'm sure all of you who are reading this will have seen MTV's Pimp My Ride, and for them, the wheels and tyres department is a big part of their car transformation and I hope to help you on how to go about picking a set of wheels that will fit your car like a glove.
With regards to wheels, there is such a vast choice of wheels. They are based upon size of the actual wheel, the number of studs and the offset. The size of wheels varies greatly and is measured in inches. You can get wheels as small as 14 inch alloy wheels and smaller, and go in excess of 22 inch alloy wheels. The number of studs a wheel has is specific to each car. For example, I drive a Smart. These cars from factory come with 3-stud fitment, however is it possible to obtain hub-adaptors. These adaptors basically transform the 3-stud fitting to either 4 or 5 studs (from my research, this is what I have managed to find.) However, the use of adaptors it has been recommended that the adaptors be only used for show use. This more than a legal issue is based upon safety. I recommend that if you can find a set of wheels that have the correct number of studs that you choose these. Alloy wheels that are directly able to fit to your car are a lot safer for you and your vehicle. Aside from the width of the wheels it is vital that the offset be accurate for your car. If the correct offset isn't used then you run the risk of wearing out your wheel bearings due to improper load of weight.
There are many ways of constructing alloy wheels. The way that they wheels are constructed effect the weight and price of the overall wheel. It may seem like it's an obvious concept that the wheels are all made the same but due to demands from the motorsport industry for example, there have been major enhancements in wheel manufacturing technology.
Casting alloy wheels will result in a one piece wheel. This involves the molten aluminium being poured into a mould. There are several ways of casting methods used; ranging from Gravity Casting and Low Pressure Casting to forged wheels. Gravity Casting involves filling a cast with molten aluminium and letting the force of gravity fill the mould. As a result, this method has the cheapest production cost of any method of alloy wheel and this saving is passed on to the buyer. Low pressure casting involves changing the pressure of the mould to move the molten aluminium into the cast. This method is commonly used with OEM alloy wheels and this method has started to become used more regularly with aftermarket manufactures due to this method being cost-effective as well as being lighter than using gravity casting. Rim rolling technology starts with a low pressure casting method but then the wheel is reheated and rollers are applied. This method has been used by manufactures in formula one wheels for several years. The last method of casting wheels is forging. Although there are various methods for casting wheels. Essentially, it is a solid billet of aluminium with pressure applied to form the shape of the wheel. As a result, the benefit of this is that the density will be higher than any of the other casting methods.
Multi-piece wheels are wheels that are made up of two or three components. Two piece wheels are made of the inner hub and spoke while three pieces consists of the centre part, the lip and the main body.
Car specific wheels
Most aftermarket wheels are classed upon wheel size/the number of bolts and the offset however it is usually the case that the wheels are categorised upon their actual size, measured in inches, and the finer details are listed beyond. For some cars such as my car, without the use of stud adaptors, I would require wheels specially designed for my car. This is because Smart features 3 stud wheels. Some aftermarket wheels are made specifically to fit certain cars. Wheels that are made specially for cars are a huge bonus, it makes your life easier as you know it'll just work. No need for spacers or any messing about, however as a result, the choice is limited somewhat which can be a pain, but the peace of mind and ease maybe enough for some people to look specifically for aftermarket wheels made for their particular car.
With any modifications it is essential to ensure that you're staying legal. A lot of people modify their vehicles without realising the implications. Installing alloy wheels will make the car more liable to thieves so it is important to use wheel locking bolts so you don't end up finding your car without their rims! With regards to the width of alloy wheels, the law states that the wheels cannot be protrude from the fender of the car. This more than anything is for safety. You don't want to run the risk of your wheels potentially rubbing against any pedestrians and it is also classed as being 'in a dangerous condition'. Also, make sure that your insurance company has been notified of any modifications, you don't want to find out that your insurance policy has become invalidated due to the fact that the insurance company are not aware of the increased risk, note that insurance prices are based upon postcode, gender, age, and any other factors that would result in the driver adapting their style of driving to match the visual look of their car.
With tyres, there is little scope for a selection, usually wheel manufactures will recommend certain tyre sizes and it's not recommended to run tyres that are different sizes to the manufactured recommended specification. You'll probably have a choice with regards to branding, the more expensive tyres will usually give you better grip but that is not to say that the cheaper tyres are useless. You also need to ensure that the tyre profile is sufficient so that the tyre will not rub or scrape on the wheel arches as this will pose the potential danger of blowing out.