Passenger vehicles are among the most comfortable and practical means of transport worldwide. Now, there aren’t many places where you won’t have access to a vehicle. With over 57 million passenger cars, it makes sense to learn more about their parts.
Wheels are the hardworking mechanisms in every vehicle. The saying “Get behind the wheel” has become a familiar idiom pertaining to driving, but how much do we know about wheels?
Wheels are instrumental in making your vehicle mobile, but not only that, they add so much to the aesthetic appeal of a car. Indeed, customizing your wheels can transform the entire look of the car. Before committing to an entirely new set, let’s learn more about wheels and rims and how to choose the best kind for your car.
Wheels and Rims 101
Wheels come in different shapes, sizes, and styles, but every wheel has three parts: tires, rims, and the hubs.
A tire is a rubber material that surrounds the rim and allows the wheels to pivot on the ground. The larger the wheel, the wider your tire can be. Wider tires provide better traction and handling, but the downside is that they can make the ride rougher.
Meanwhile, the rim is the part of the wheel that connects to the tire. Rims have different offsets—the distance between the rim and the hub. A negative offset means the rim is closer to the inside of the car, while a positive offset indicates it is closer to the outside of the car. Most rims are made of aluminum or steel and can be coated with chrome or other type of metal.
The hub assembly serves as the attachment point for the wheel. This enables the wheel to roll as the car moves, without disengaging from the entire vehicle.
Common Types of Wheels
Here are the typical wheel options you will find in car models:
Alloy wheels – These wheels are made of aluminum or magnesium. They are generally lightweight and offer good visual appeal and performance. The lighter weight contributes to your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
Alloy wheels are considered to be a more luxe option than steel, because they provide different customization looks: chrome, painted, polished, or machine finished. Each one has a distinct look. However, alloy wheels require more upkeep because they are prone to cracking and bending.
Chrome wheels – As the name implies, chrome wheels have the chrome coating. They make for a flashy look and can make a car stand out more. Chrome wheels are popular for show cars and sporting events because they make an impact. But they will also require more maintenance than alloy wheels.
Steel wheels – Steel wheels are the most common type for standard vehicles as they are very durable and sturdy. Steel wheels are the no-nonsense option, being more practical than stylish. However, they are not as light as alloy wheels and can put strain on the axle in the long run. Steel wheels are the best choice for police cars, commercial use vehicles, and other vehicles that require wheels to be heavy-duty.
The standard tire and rim size for your vehicle can be found on the sidewall of the manufacturer-issued wheels or the inside frame of the driver door. Some people deviate from this and customize their wheel size. It’s perfectly fine to have different tire and rim sizes for the front and back wheels. Most muscle cars adopt the style.
But do take note that the larger the tires and rims, the bigger your expense. Moreover, larger wheels generally mean thinner tires. So try to find the best proportion for your vehicle and your budget.
Once you choose a tire size for your vehicle, stick to that size. Changing things up might affect your vehicle’s stability calibration, speedometer, and even mess your braking system when it’s time to replace some parts.
Next to your engine, the wheels system may just be the most crucial part of your vehicle. Keeping it well-maintained is an investment, but it will keep you safe and will add to your car’s appeal.
Remember that wheels can get damaged easily as they are exposed to rough surfaces all the time. This is why replacing your tires on time, getting the wheels checked regularly, and being a conscientious driver are important.
When you’re shopping for wheels, keep your car, budget, and needs in mind. At OEM Wheels Direct, we can provide expert recommendations for high quality wheels. Let us assist you today.