Wheels and tires are two key parts that make moving vehicles possible. But do you know how each one works?
A manufacturing technique that transforms a solid block of metal into the final shape of a wheel. This is done under high heat and pressure. This is what makes alloy wheels so strong and durable.
Alloy wheels are becoming more and more popular amongst car enthusiasts as they offer a good balance between performance and appearance. They also offer several advantages, such as improved fuel efficiency and enhanced braking performance. They are available in a wide variety of eye-catching styles, finishes, and spoke patterns. However, they do come at a higher price than steel wheels. Furthermore, they are more prone to corrosion and may be more difficult to repair if they are bent.
Most alloy wheels are made of aluminum and magnesium or a combination of these metals, but they can also be cast from other metals, such as nickel and iron. They are lighter than steel wheels and can provide a more aesthetically pleasing look to a vehicle. The material also offers superior strength and corrosion resistance, making it ideal for use in automobiles.
There are a number of different methods used to manufacture alloy wheels, including casting, forging, and machining. Casting is a process that involves pouring molten metal into a mold using gravity to fill it. This method is the most common and produces standard wheels for most vehicles. Forged wheels are made through a more complex process that includes heating, rolling, pressing, hammering and/or combinations of these. This produces a wheel with a higher strength to weight ratio than cast or flow-formed wheels.
Forged wheels are typically made of high-grade aluminum, such as AZ80 or ZK60. This is the most expensive way to produce an alloy wheel, but it is the strongest and lightest. These wheels are also less prone to cracking or bending than flow-formed or cast alloys.
Larger alloy wheels are typically paired with lower profile tires, which increase the amount of rubber in contact with the road. This improves handling and can make the steering feel more responsive. It can also quieten road noise. The wider tyres can also reduce road vibration and increase grip. Additionally, the lighter alloy wheels can help reduce unsprung mass, allowing the suspension to follow the terrain more closely and improve braking performance.
Ultimately, it is up to the individual driver to decide whether they want to go for larger wheels and tires or stick with their original equipment. Cost is normally a factor, but the appearance and handling of the vehicle are equally important. It is also worth considering the fact that larger wheels and thinner tyres will be more prone to damage and will require more regular maintenance.
Powder coating is a tough and resilient refinishing process that can give your wheels an eye-popping look and a rock solid defense against the wear and tear of everyday driving. It works by spraying ground particles that are made of specific pigments and resin on whatever surface you need to refinish – in this case, your wheel rims. The powder particles are electrically charged as they’re sprayed, making it possible for them to adhere to your rims. They then get baked so that the surfaces can blend and cure to form a hard, durable finish that’s much thicker than liquid paint.
As the powder particles are sprayed, they also create a uniform cover of your wheel’s surface that helps to avoid flaking and other common problems with conventional painting. This is made even better by the fact that powder coating doesn’t use solvents like liquid paint does, so there’s no loss of coverage due to evaporation.
After the base coat is sprayed, your wheels are hung on a metal rack and pushed into an industrial oven that bakes them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 Celsius). This heat forces the powder to fuse with your rim’s surface to form a strong molecular structure that doesn’t just protect your wheels – it’s virtually impenetrable.
This is one of the main reasons that powder coating is so long-lasting. With proper care and maintenance, a professionally-applied powder coat can last for a good 15-20 years, which is nearly double the expected lifespan of paint-on finishes.
The big drawback with powder coating is that your wheels will need to be removed and prepped before it can be applied. The rims have to be thoroughly cleaned and prepped for the baking process, which includes removing the tires and any center hub plugs or weights that might get in the way of a good finish. It’s also a good idea to remove any high-temp protective tape and hooks from the rims so that they can be properly cleaned, chemically dipped, and powder-coated.
After the initial powder coating has been cured and cooled, your wheels will receive a clear powder coat that will give them their final, beautiful shine. Once the wheels are cured, they can be refitted to your car, with new valve steams and balancing weights if needed. Then they’re ready to hit the road!
Whether you’re trying to match the color of your car or make it stand out from the pack, machined wheels will do the trick. They have an intricate design that adds a touch of style without taking away from your vehicle’s strength and performance capabilities. You can choose from a wide range of designs that include color-neutral options and black details to suit your style, while also providing you with the strength and durability you need.
Most machined wheels have a clear coating that protects the wheels from brake dust, tar and other substances that can cause them to deteriorate. Clear-coated machined wheels are easy to maintain by regularly washing them with a mild soap and water solution. You can also use a tire wax to keep them looking shiny and new.
Machined face wheels give your ride a bright, shiny finish that stands out from the rest of the crowd. The manufacturing process for these wheels involves spinning the wheel while a machine gently removes a layer of metal from the face. The result is a smooth, clean and consistent surface with thin lines that look similar to those on a CD. Most of these wheels are then coated with a clear polyurethane finish for protection from corrosion.
Machined wheels are often made of aluminum alloy, which is a light material that improves your vehicle’s performance characteristics by increasing cornering and steering precision and decreasing road feedback. They are also easier to maneuver and handle because they have a lower center of gravity than steel wheels.
Some wheels are buffed to a mirror finish, adding a rich look that’s not as weighty as chrome plating. This style of wheel is common for tuners and racing applications, as well as classic cars that require lightweight wheels. Buffed wheels are prone to scratches, dings and oxidation, so they need frequent buffing and waxing to maintain their shine.
The polished aluminum surface of these wheels is buffed to a high shine, and then covered with a clear coat for protection. These wheels are a bit more durable than polished chrome wheels, but still susceptible to pitting and rusting from water spotting or other environmental contaminants. It’s best to keep them protected with a good carnauba wax, like Mothers’ Brazilian Carnauba Wax, to minimize these issues.
Powder-coated wheels are a durable, attractive and inexpensive alternative to painted or polished aluminum. They’re available in a variety of colors, and can even be color-matched to your vehicle’s paint job. To get the most life out of these wheels, they need to be thoroughly cleaned with a mild non-acidic cleaner such as Mothers’ Foaming Wheel and Tire Cleaner before they’re coated. This will remove any contaminants that might prevent the coating from truly bonding to the aluminum.
To care for powder-coated wheels, use mild soap and water and a microfiber or terry cloth to wipe them down, rather than metal polish or acidic wheel cleaners. Drive-through car washes or high-pressure washing with a metal polisher could damage the clear coat, leaving the wheels vulnerable to oxidation and rusting.
PVD (physical vapor deposition) wheels are a durable and attractive alternative to chrome, with a bright shine that rivals conventional chrome. To create this finish, the bare aluminum is electrochemically treated with a layer of primer, then a very thin coating of metal is applied in a vacuum chamber. The result is a wheel that’s highly resistant to rust and heat, chips and scratches, but is not recommended for recoating in a different color later. To care for your PVD wheels, wash them with a mild non-acidic cleaner, such as Mothers’ Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner, and clean brake dust off regularly to prevent damage to the clear coating.