In the world of shopping, it’s often said that items that separate you from the ground are crucial and that a lot of money should be spent on it. These include shoes and beds. The same idea applies to the wheels of your car! Oftentimes the wheels on your car are an afterthought but they in fact play a big role in how long your car lasts. Knowing what types of wheels your car has, and making sure you have the right ones can go a long way in improving your driver experience.
So keep on reading and learn about the three main types of wheels and what you should be on the lookout for when purchasing a new set of wheels for your car.
Types of wheels
There are three main types of wheels that most cars will have. These are steel, alloy and chrome. Each has major differences which separate them from each other – let’s go through them below.
More specifically known as standard steel rims, steel wheels are arguably the most common type of wheels that you will find. The reason behind the high frequency of ‘steelies’ (as called by car enthusiasts) is that they are cheap to both manufacture and purchase. Their heavy build also makes them durable and long-lasting.
However, their heaviness can also work against them. Because steel wheels weigh so much, they require more fuel and also put additional strains on your car’s suspension. This makes handling more difficult.
Overall, steel wheels won’t wow anyone with their appearance since their manufacturing process doesn’t allow room for artistic flair. However, their basic function and accessibility goes almost unmatched.
Alloy wheels were previously only reserved for high end cars but have become more accessible in the past decade. Alloy wheels are made of a mixture (or alloy) of lightweight materials such as magnesium, nickel and titanium. The end result is a wheel that is lighter than steel whilst being stronger. Alloy rims are more flexible and are more resistant to heat giving you better handling and acceleration.
These types of wheels however can also crack and are much more expensive than their steel counterparts. But when you factor in their light weight and better fuel economy, they save you in the long run! Not to mention that alloy wheels usually feature much nicer designs so you get both style and function albeit at a higher cost.
The cool kids in the car wheel world, chrome are in fact, not actually made out of chromium – they simply have a layer of chrome added as a finishing touch. Chrome is a type of metal solely made of chromium, which separates them from stainless steel or alloys which are a mixture of different metals. This layer of chrome protects the wheel from scratches and oxidation, which can lead to rusty wheels.
The chrome layer can be applied in different thicknesses. A thicker layer is used for protection and is known as hard chrome plating, while a thinner layer of decorative chrome is used purely for aesthetic and stylistic purposes. Chrome wheels are shiny and draw eyes, making them a popular choice amongst car enthusiasts.
Cast vs Forged Wheels
When selecting a new set of wheels for your car, it’s important to learn whether the wheels have been cast or forged. Casting or forging are the two main ways that wheel manufacturers make your rims.
Forging involves pressing hot metal into the desired shape of the wheel usually via a high-powered pressurised machine. A method known as forge welding or heat welding is also used in the process to join separate pieces of metal together.
Casting involves pouring molten metal into a mould which cools and forms the shape of the wheel rim. Alloy wheels are usually made with this method since it requires the melting and mixture of several different metals to create the wheel.
Forged wheels are significantly stronger than casted wheels, mainly due to the way they are made where the enormous force of compression creates a dense, durable and incredibly strong product. Casted wheels are more subject to cracks and flaws but are easier to make and much cheaper than forged rims.
Pick the best wheel for you
So when the time comes to pick a type of wheel for your vehicle, have a think and pick whatever best suits your needs! Need a wheel that’s super stylish and attractive? A chrome wheel might be right for you. If you’re more concerned about pure function then alloy wheels are best, while steel will save you money in the short run.
All in all, the types of wheels that will be right for you are different for everyone so make sure you do your research! And if you need an expert’s advice, give the friendly team at Seven Smart Auto a call! As self-declared car enthusiasts, we’ll be able to give you the advice you need and so much more! Get in touch today!