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Aug 16th
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Wheel Tech

Torque

torqueAll alloy wheels should be installed using a torque wrench. This ensures that the wheels are not too tight or too loose. Check your vehicle's manual for correct settings. When you install wheels for the first time, you should re-torque wheels after about 100km to 150km (60 to 90 miles).

 

Hardware

sw-nutsboltsThe hardware holding your wheels to your car is an often overlooked step when installing new rims. Most aftermarket wheels require different wheel nuts / bolts  than what was used on the original equipment wheels. Wheel nuts and bolts have many different seats (where the nut touches the wheel). The 3 most common are acorn seat (conical), ball seat (radius), and mag shank seat. These differences along with different lengths and diameters makes hardware very confusing. Always check with the people who supplied your wheels for the correct mounting hardware before trying to install them on your vehicle

 

Wheel Construction

sw-forgeThere is a good variety of ways of constructing wheels. Most alloy wheels are made in either one, two or three piece construction types. One piece is just what it says, a wheel made in a mold as a single piece. Two piece wheels are made of two separate pieces (center and barrel) that are usually welded or bolted together. Three piece wheels are made of three separate pieces. They have a center, and inside rim half, and an outside rim half. They are bolted together using the highest quality fasteners.

Manufacturing method is very important in the overall quality and performance of a wheel. Here are the most common types of manufacturing techniques employed:

Forging

Considered to be the best manufacturing technique, forging allows for the compression of an aluminum billet (one solid piece of aluminum) into an aluminum wheel using over 13 million pounds of pressure combined with heat. This produces a wheel that is both stronger and lighter then your standard aluminum wheel.

A subset of forging is called roll forging. In this process, a metal blank is run through rollers with impressions sunk in to their surface giving the wheel its final shape. This allows the wheel to be produced with less aluminum, reducing weight but maintaining strength.

Low Pressure Casting

This is the most common form of rim manufacturing. Much like a casting, liquid metal is poured into a mold and allowed to harden until the finished wheel is cool enough to be taken out of the casting.

Counter Pressure Casting

Opposite to low pressure casting, the liquid metal is not poured, rather it is sucked into the mold using a vacuum. This reduces impurities making the wheel much stronger than a low pressure cast rim.

 
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Alloy Vs. Steel

The main differences between alloy and steel wheels lie in their durability and strength. Most high-performance wheels are made of an alloy and composed of aluminum, and other metallic substances. By using alloy wheels, you not only improve the looks of your vehicle but also the performance. The extra strength provides longevity as well as effecting tire wear in a positive manner. The weight reduction will improve steering response and handling, as well as help improve acceleration and braking.

 
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Centerbore

This relates to the center hole in the wheel that centers the wheel on the hub of the car. Since most wheels are mass produced, they have a large center bore to accommodate several different vehicles. If this is the case, it is recommended that you use a hub ring. Hub rings are hard plastic or metal ring that fits between the wheel and the vehicle. This centers the wheel perfectly on the hub ensuring that there is no run out when the wheel is installed on to the vehicle. Without hub rings it is possible to get vibrations even if the wheel / tire assembly is perfectly balanced.

 
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