Car wheels are one of the most popular aftermarket products for vehicles. Whether you'd like to improve your car's appearance or boost its performance, there is a wide variety of rims to choose from.
This car wheels buyer's guide will explain some of the different rims available so you can decide which type will best suit your car or truck.
Alloy car wheels-Most aftermarket car wheels are made of an alloy, which typically consists of aluminum mixed with other metals. Aluminum is naturally light, and because the metal is mixed with other, harder metals, these car wheels offer the benefit of being both light and durable.
Why Choose Alloy Car Wheels?
- Alloy wheels allow you to increase the size of your wheels without adding a significant amount of extra weight.
- Because alloy wheels are lighter, they reduce your car's un-sprung weight, which makes steering easier.
- Replacing steel wheels with alloy wheels reduces the car's overall weight, which allows for a smoother ride and places less strain on the suspension.
- Alloy wheels can dissipate heat better, which helps improve brake response.
- Alloy wheels won't corrode or rust as easily as steel wheels will.
Chrome car wheels-Chrome is highly reflective, and chrome wheels can turn just about any car into a showstopper. These super-shiny wheels are actually aluminum-alloy wheels that have been coated with a mirror-like chrome finish. The chrome exterior is extremely durable and strong, so chipping is usually not a worry (if it's a quality product), but routine buffing and polishing is required in order to maintain the glistening shine.
Chrome wheels are created by dipping an aluminum-alloy wheel into liquid copper and following this with a dip in liquid chrome. To finish the application, a clear coat is then applied to the wheel. While virtually all chrome wheels look fantastic when they're new, keep in mind that cost usually equals quality with this type of wheel. It's not unheard of for inexpensive chrome wheels to start chipping or flaking over time, whereas more costly chrome wheels will maintain their vibrancy for many, many years.
Aluminum car wheels-Aluminum car wheels are extremely light wheels that are usually found on cars that tour the racing circuit, although they are finding their way onto more and more street cars and trucks. Aluminum wheels offer the benefit of extraordinary designs that allow for easy customization, although, as with chrome wheels, the cost of the aluminum wheels usually reflects the quality of their construction.
Originally, aluminum wheels sacrificed durability for their light weight, but thanks to a new process called rotary forging, this metal is able to be made more durable. In rotary forging, the aluminum's molecules are realigned into a circular pattern that makes for a tighter grain structure, thus reducing wheel porosity and increasing the wheel's strength.
Truck, SUV and 4-by-4 wheels-If you're looking for aftermarket truck, SUV or 4-by-4 wheels, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, like the size of the wheel, the lug pattern and the tire choice.
Sizing the Wheel
If you want larger rims on your truck, SUV or 4-by-4, the first thing you have to remember is that with a larger rim comes a smaller tire. Yet more significant than that is the fact that adding a larger rim to your vehicle will alter the way the truck drives and steers because, as the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets smaller, and therefore, steering gets stiffer. To ensure your truck has the best handling and gets the best fuel economy possible, stick with the wheel size of those that came with the truck; that will give you the best results.
Understanding the Lug Pattern
This is something that's best left to the professionals, as lug patterns can be difficult to gauge. Wheel offset and PCD (pitch circle diameter) are a couple things you need to know when choosing aftermarket wheels out of a catalog, but luckily, when you buy online, that information is typically preloaded for you when you input your make and model.
For many people looking to increase their truck tires to 24- or 26-inch wheels, it's best to check online to see if a manufacturer offers those sizes for your vehicle. In some cases, a body shop may be required to modify the wheels in order to make them fit.
Customized truck and car wheels can be expensive, so buying them in a set will help save you some money. In addition, the new wheels should be insured through your insurance company in a specific policy addendum. This will add a few dollars to your insurance payment, but after paying for the wheels once, you don't really want to have to do it again should they ever get stolen.