How to choose a good wheel

Alloy wheels and rims are a great way to customise the look of your car, with various different styles available - many drivers appreciate the enhanced look that clean alloy wheels can offer. If you’re thinking about changing your tyre size, you might also need new alloy rims to accommodate the new size correctly. Alloy rims are an important part of the car, securing the car tyres, and are produced through a very thorough process. The initial design phase is very extensive, carefully determining how many parts and flanges will make up the final product. After further, precise analysis and adjustment, a design is chosen that meets the technical requirements.This is followed by a series of sample models, which are used to gage the reaction and perception the final design will evoke. This is where any small problems are soon corrected, before manufacturing a cast to pour the molten aluminium alloy into. Further testing will assess the tension and strength of the product. If it passes these requirements, it enters production, where it is painted, varnished and the range is introduced among other alloy wheels for sale.

In the automotive industry, alloy wheels are wheels that are made from an alloy of aluminium or magnesium. Alloys are mixtures of a metal and other elements. They generally provide greater strength over pure metals, which are usually much softer and more ductile. Alloys of aluminium or magnesium are typically lighter for the same strength, provide better heat conduction, and often produce improved cosmetic appearance over steel wheels. Although steel, the most common material used in wheel production, is an alloy of iron and carbon, the term "alloy wheel" is usually reserved for wheels made from nonferrous alloys.

The earliest light-alloy wheels were made of magnesium alloys. Although they lost favor on common vehicles, they remained popular through the 1960s, albeit in very limited numbers. In the mid-to-late 1960s, aluminium-casting refinements allowed the manufacture of safer wheels that were not as brittle. Until this time, most aluminium wheels suffered from low ductility, usually ranging from 2-3% elongation. Because light-alloy wheels at the time were often made of magnesium (often referred to as "mags"), these early wheel failures were later attributed to magnesium's low ductility, when in many instances these wheels were poorly cast aluminium alloy wheels. Once these aluminium casting improvements were more widely adopted, the aluminium wheel took the place of magnesium as low cost, high-performance wheels for motorsports. 

The flexibility of aluminium has an additional advantage. The properties of this material facilitate its low-pressure casting, ensuring more precise filling of the mould, increasing the attractiveness of the products and their better performance. Manufacturers can freely shape the wheels, giving them individual character. The use of high-pressure hydraulic presses reduces the volume of the rim and increases the durability of the products. Higher plasticity may also reduce the weight of the model without losing its its properties. Optimised volume and better workability when forming wheel shoulders and spokes enable alloy wheels to adapt better to the driving style of their users. It is particularly noticeable for those who like dynamic and sporty driving.

A prevalent belief among drivers is that alloy wheels are much lighter than their steel counterparts. However, this is not as obvious as it might seem at first glance. In the manufacture of alloy wheels in smaller sizes, more material is used to achieve the required durability. As a result, alloy wheels can actually be heavier than steel wheels. In the case of larger wheels (above 18 inches), the choice is practically limited to alloy models, which feature better strength parameters than their steel counterparts. The lightest wheels are used in motor sport. They are manufactured using advanced flow-forming and forging processes. Their weight is important, as the wheels are non-suspended components (unsupported by the suspension system), and therefore more vulnerable to shocks from the road and forces generated while cornering. Properly optimised loads contribute to more precise steering and better cornering.

Another myth relating to alloy wheels is that they are less resistant to mechanical damage. What in point of fact distinguishes alloy wheels is their structural flexibility. Aluminium is more elastic than steel and this increased plasticity provides better absorption of loads and protects (to some extent) the rim against damage. Light-alloy wheels are much more durable and more resistant to mechanical damage than steel products. Modern alloy wheels offered by top manufacturers enable drivers to use alloy wheels made of light metals all year round. Modern paint finishes offer high resistance to harsh winter conditions.

Selecting the size of your alloys may be quite a problem, even for an experienced driver. It’s a very important issue, as poorly matched wheels may have a negative impact on the suspension system and condition of the tyres. Therefore, we recommend that you know the most important parameters:  

Wheel width – this is a very important feature. Not only in terms of matching it with the tyres, but also from a legal point of view. According to the law, no part of a wheel may exceed the outline of the car. If the rim is too wide, a scrupulous police officer may decide to confiscate the car’s registration, something which may be followed by some considerable costs. Wheel size and low-profile tyres – installing wheels of a greater or smaller size than the original is not too demanding. Of course, the size range defined by the manufacturer must be observed, but you can successfully replace 14" wheels with 15" wheels and vice-versa.  Most popular brands allow you to select different sizes of one model. Note, however, that larger wheel sizes require lower tyre profiles. Low-profile tyres are more susceptible to damage caused by surface irregularities. This is definitely worth bearing in mind when choosing the size of the wheel. 

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