A quote once said that “you don’t have to reinvent the wheel”. This applies to machines such as cars, as the car wheel is perhaps the most integral part of automotive history. Without the wheel, the automobile would not have been possible.
It is so timeless that despite the changes in build, structure, and quality, it remained fundamentally unchanged through the years. With that said, they are available in all shapes and sizes, promising to be complimentary to specific cars. Also, given their importance, it would be important to take note that there are certain precautions that must be taken before equipping specific types of wheels.
What makes a car wheel?
It is no secret that the venerable car wheel was inspired by the wheels of transportation machineries of centuries past. Whereas the chariots and carts have been equipped by wheels that are usually made of hard wood, when it comes to cars, wheels has become more complex.
For instance, it is impossible for you to use those wheels found on chariots on an automobile, right? This is because of 2 things: the additional weight and the payload capacity of the automobile necessitated for the equipment of wheels that can endure the much larger stress subjected to the car. For instance, during the first few years since the invention of the car, the wheel resembles more like the wheels found on bicycles. Of course, with the progression of the years, those have changed too. The improvements on the process of the production of the wheels made them much stronger, more durable, and safer than their predecessors. In addition, new age materials such as aluminum, steel alloys, other types of metal alloys, and even carbon fiber are now being utilized to construct wheels that defy the limits of both style and performance.
The car wheel is seemingly eternally associated with the tire. With that said, another thing that has helped on the improvement of the wheel is the improvement of the tire. As something that works hand in hand (in fact, it’s more like they work inseparably), the improvement in tire technology improved the overall performance of the wheel. Some of the improvements on the tire include enhanced grip on all terrains, increased durability, and added reliability on different weather conditions.
The need to get the best car wheel available:
Well, it is no secret that the wheel is a huge factor in the design of the car, both style-wise and performance-wise. This is why a lot of car manufacturers from both past and present take a lot of time when designing the wheels that are going to be placed on their car. A wheel that perfectly complements a car design would add up to a vehicle’s innate aesthetic detail and would bring up performance too. However, a misjudged wheel would not just drive unwieldy but would also perform unwieldy. That is why a lot of car dealers do extensive research before deciding on what OEM wheels are they going to equip on their car.
Generally, the criteria involved to determine whether a wheel fits in a car properly is to look at it at both the performance and style perspective. First, we are going to discuss the performance side of selecting the best wheel for your car. Of course, a car, to fit into a specific mold, is created in such a way that they cater into a specific target audience. For instance, a car can be constructed to attain maximum speed, or maximum comfort, or maximum all terrain capability, or maximum payload capacity, or a combination of some or all these factors. The OEM wheels are constructed in such a way that it fits to whatever settings have been placed by the factory on this car.
Secondly, we are going to discuss why it is important to have great wheels, style wise. The answer is pretty obvious from the start. Whatever angle you may want to look at it, the wheel is a very prominent fixture in the car’s overall design and styling statement. If a wheel looks awesome or horrible on the car is going to largely reflect on the overall visual impact of the car.
However, while it is true that installing aftermarket wheels can drastically improve your car’s value on both the performance and style fronts, there are certain things that must be considered. First off all, one must make sure that the size of the wheel must fit in properly on the model of car that you’re driving. A specific car can only accommodate specific sizes (diameter and width) of wheels. If you go over or under that, you risk scraping on the wheel wells and other underpinnings. Also, going beyond the ideal wheel size is going to change the driving characteristics of your car, making it either difficult to steer or handle contact roughly.
Where to look for car wheels
Regardless of what you are looking for with rims, you are sure to find your match somewhere. If you are looking for original stock wheels or OEM replica wheels for your ride to replace the worn out, damaged, or missing ones, there are various venues wherein these wheels are sold. Among the venues that you can look out for are parts shops. Some of these shops are selling second hand wheels that are either left as is or are reconditioned to become road worthy again. Who knows, you might just find the original wheels that you are looking for right on the spot. However, there are also OEM replica wheels available on the market. As replicas, they recopy the original wheels’ design to the extent that they look like the original. Even better is that the quality might even be better because they are now subject to more advanced building processes than those found during its time of release.
The next route when picking up car wheels is to buy aftermarket wheels. Due to their popularity, you can see all kinds of wheels being produced by aftermarket manufacturers. All you have to do is select what you think looks and fits best into your car, then equip it. It’s that simple. Even though of course, equipping these wheels are generally more expensive than looking for (or sticking with) OEM wheels, the benefits are quite compelling too. You are going to drastically change the looks of your car, endowing it with a more personalized look. And also, provided that you have selected the right size of wheels for your car or truck, you are going to increase both the performance and reliability of your car.
Some guidelines when looking for a set of car wheels
Here are some simple guidelines when looking for car wheels, regardless if you are going for the OEM or aftermarket route. The first thing that you should do is to make research. You got to make sure (especially if you are purchasing a set of aftermarket wheels) that its measurements are going to fit in properly with your car or truck. It would be utterly useless if you are going to equip a good looking set of rims and yet the usability of your car is going to take a plunge because it is such an ill fit. That would make you eventually want to remove it, even if it looks attractive. If you are not quite sure if a certain size of a wheel is a fit for your car or not, you can ask professionals such as mechanics if such size of wheels are recommendable for your car or if you’ll need some modifications to accommodate it.
Also, make some proper research and inspection about the product before buying it. While it is always tempting to buy something because its price is low, it still pays to be vigilant. Make inspections on the wheel itself, as who knows if it has damage that can make driving dangerous. Also, don’t be afraid to ask some questions to the seller. With that said, avoid buying cheap knockoff wheels. As most of these knockoffs are fake, it is possible that it didn’t go through safety checks. Who knows, it might just break down while you’re driving, getting you involved in an accident. As much as possible, go for an accredited seller, as they have gone thru the proper process of being a wheel dealer.
Here is a list of some modifications that you should consider when replacing wheels. For each wheel, they have a number of lugs that allows it to be attached to your wheel. If your wheel doesn’t match the number of lugs in your car (for instance, a 6 lug wheel is going to be attached on a 5 lug base), the mounting points of the car must be modified before it can be installed. Also, since the tire is a part of the wheel too, you’ll need to take it into consideration as well.
The brands of car wheels that are worth considering
Because of the popularity of wheels as an accessory for all kinds of cars, the wheel business is thriving, to say the least. Not only that, but the competition is quite fierce as just about everyone has their own version of the wheel that are worthy of attention. With that said, you may ask yourself, what are some of the best wheels available right now?
For those that own sports cars, or cars that are customized with an orientation to performance, or simple for those that just want to have a sportier look, there are a lot of wheel makers that are sure to not just attract stares, but also would allow you to knock of huge speeds in style. Wheels from producers such as Volk, BBS, and OZ Racing have extensive experience with regards to building wheels that are suitable to even racing. Usually made from lighter metal alloys, they not just impart a striking look, but also help on saving weight, adding more speed on the process.
However, for those that are oriented on the luxury side, there are a lot of names popping out of the scene too. With brands such as Giovanna and Lexani are offering some of the craziest styles that wheels can possibly have, this section of the car wheel marketplace are as vibrant as ever. Some are available in massive diameters in order to fit into trucks, and also to give these cars that necessary touch of bling.
Some changes that can rock the future of the car wheel industry
Of course, the automotive market is constantly changing as the times progress. Naturally, the wheel market is going to be affected by it too. Financially speaking, due to the downturn of some economies coupled by inflation, the prices are becoming higher and as a result, potential customers are struggling to cough up something from their coffers. This has given birth to direct selling, meaning the producers themselves are the ones that distribute the wheels, in contrast to the practice in previous years of contracting retailers, which causes the price to increase due to “padding”. For customers, this is great because that allows them to buy cheaper wheels, but at the same time, it became trying times for distributors, as some of them are even forced to close down.
Also, the fact that oil prices are constantly rising can’t be discounted. Conventionally, most people are resorting to equip larger wheels because it gives out more track and is also more striking to look at on the road. However, they are known to cause cars to be less fuel efficient to some extent. This is why some people have actually resorted to installing smaller wheels to their cars. The 2 biggest reason being that: one, it is less expensive than larger wheels, and two, they give out better fuel mileage, resulting to lesser operating bills.
At some point, those trends can change too as tastes, sensibilities, and priorities tend to change with the ebb and flow of time. But regardless of what happens to the automobile, the car wheel is going to stand tall as one constant. Always will be an integral part of the car, no matter how much their form and construction may change over time, they are still going to remain the legs of this very important transportation tool for years to come.