Picking The Right Wheels

Car wheels have come a long way since the early days of the automotive industry where they were literally made of wood. Today, they are not only essential for vehicle mobility but also play a significant role in enhancing performance, aesthetics, and overall driving experience. Wheels are one of the easiest ways to completely change the look and feel of your ride as well! 

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Types of Wheels: Pro's and Con's

Steel Wheels:

Steel wheels are the most traditional and widely used type of wheels. They are made from a combination of iron and carbon, making them durable, robust, and cost-effective. Steel wheels are commonly found on entry-level vehicles and are ideal for daily commuting due to their affordability and ability to withstand rough road conditions. However, they tend to be heavier than other materials, which can impact fuel efficiency and handling.

Wheel

Steel wheels are strong and affordable, but heavy. If you’re wanting a factory wheel, then steel is your choice. The downside to steel is there aren’t a lot of options for designs with them as they are limited in manufacturing capabilities. Popular options are ‘smoothies’ and ‘ralley’ style wheels that both accept a hub cap. These can usually be ordered in a variety of sizes and backspacing as well that gives more options. 

Aluminum Alloy Wheels:

Aluminum alloy wheels have become increasingly popular over the years, especially among performance-oriented vehicles. These wheels are composed of aluminum and other lightweight metals, making them significantly lighter than steel wheels. The reduced weight contributes to improved fuel efficiency, better acceleration, and enhanced handling and braking performance. Additionally, aluminum alloy wheels often feature intricate designs, adding a touch of style and sophistication to the vehicle’s appearance.

The majority of wheels for our classics will be aluminum alloy. These are cast aluminum and are cost-effective yet strong. There are thousands of different designs out there and they can be accentuated with color choices as well. Sizing can be a bit tricky here when it comes to backspacing because changing it requires a different casting altogether. 

Forged Wheels:

Forged wheels are known for their exceptional strength and durability. The manufacturing process involves pressing and shaping solid blocks of aluminum or other alloys under high pressure, resulting in a more refined grain structure. This process enhances the wheel’s strength-to-weight ratio, making them an excellent choice for high-performance and luxury vehicles. The increased strength allows for reduced material thickness, resulting in further weight reduction without sacrificing structural integrity.

Forged wheels are made out of billet aluminum. These wheels are CNC machined from a solid chunk of aluminum. This gives almost an unlimited amount of design possibilities. When it comes to sizing, they can make the exact size you want. If you need exactly a 3-1/6″ backspacing, that can be done as each wheel is custom-made. The downside is these wheels cost significantly more than an Aluminum Alloy wheel. 

Carbon Fiber Wheels:

Carbon fiber wheels are at the forefront of cutting-edge automotive technology. These wheels are constructed using carbon fiber-reinforced polymer composites, a material known for its incredible strength and low weight. Carbon fiber wheels offer a substantial reduction in unsprung weight, significantly improving vehicle handling, ride comfort, and overall performance. They are primarily found on high-end sports cars and supercars due to their premium cost and specialized manufacturing process.

Magnesium Wheels:

Once popular in motorsports, magnesium wheels have taken a backseat in recent years due to their high cost and susceptibility to corrosion. However, they remain a lightweight option for racing applications where weight reduction is critical. Magnesium wheels offer excellent heat dissipation, making them ideal for track use, but they require careful maintenance to prevent corrosion.

What's Right For Your Car

As you can see, there are quite a few options for wheels. What style is the best for you? That really depends on what your goals are with your car, along with your budget. If you’re wanting your car to look just like it did when it rolled off the assembly line, steel wheels are your choice. If you want the absolutely lightest because you’re racing, then carbon fiber might be something you look at. 

Another consideration is fitment. If you want the biggest and/or widest wheel you can fit under the rear of your car then you need to consider what wheels as well. With a forged wheel you can get more precise on the sizing and squeeze just a little bit more under there. On the flip side, a aluminum alloy wheel won’t have as many options. 

Once you have selected your preferred wheel option, it’s time to explore the best tire choices for your ride. Click here to learn more.

Still can’t decide? That’s okay! Give our friendly techs a call at (203) 235-1200 and we will be happy to discuss the goals for your car and gives some suggestions for wheels. 

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