What Are Alloy Wheels
The term 'Alloy wheels' is usually used as a shorter alternative to aluminum wheels. So don't be confused when you hear such words as Alloy wheels, Aluminum Wheels, Aluminum Alloy Wheels, Alloy Rims – in fact, all of them mean the same thing. So what are alloy wheels? These are wheels made from the alloy of aluminum and other metals. Reinforcing lightweight aluminum using other metals makes alloy wheels perform better, look smoother and last longer.
Aluminum alloy wheels benefits
So why more and more drivers prefer to change their steel wheels to alloy ones, even though they are way more expensive? What benefits of alloy wheels do justify their price tag?
Most of the inexpensive vehicle models come with steel wheels, which are not bad for daily driving, but are heavy and look bulky. Aluminum alloy wheels instead are lightweight, easy to customize and are able to enhance vehicle's look dramatically. Let's take a closer look at every of aluminum alloy wheels benefits.
1. Alloy wheels are lightweight.When reading about alloy wheels benefits you may be wondering, why their light weight is emphasized so often. Why is the weight of wheels so important? Wheels' weight is not supported by car's suspension, and reducing it will improve vehicle's steering and overall drivability. Because of the reduced wheel weight, the rotational mass reduces proportionally. It leads to faster acceleration and braking speed, ans also may provide a small MPG increase.
2. Aluminum alloy wheels improve brake performance and safety. Alloy wheels have better thermal conductivity than steel wheels. It can improve heat dissipation and reduce the chance of brake failure in high performance driving conditions. What's more, many aftermarket alloy rims are designed to let the air to circulate freely around the wheel and provide additional brakes cooling. In some cases upgrading to alloy wheels may increase brake clearance which leads to effortless pushing of a brake pedal and improved control over vehicle's deceleration.
3. Alloy wheels look better compared to sreel wheels with hubcaps. They are sold in a vast variety of styles and sizes and are easy to customize. Aluminum alloy wheels usually come in a number of custom finishes, including painted, chrome and polished, that may give a vehicle head-turning show look.
4. Alloy wheels are more durable, than steel wheels. They are less likely to flex round the corners, providing a better vehicle handling. Aluminum mixed with other metals disperses heat better, decreasing the chance of cracking and braking. This outstanding durability accompanied by the low weight is one of the most valuable aluminum alloy wheels advantages over regular steel wheels.
Forged and Cast Alloy Wheels
As we already know alloy wheels have a number of benefits, though not all alloy wheels are made the same. The technique and technology employed during manufacturing process determines alloy wheels quality and, in most of the cases, their price.
Depending on the manufacturing method, there are three of the most common wheel types: one-piece cast wheels, multi-piece wheels and forged wheels.
1. One-Piece Cast Alloy Wheels are the most common alloy wheels available on the automotive aftermarket. They are made by pouring molten aluminum into special molds to form wheels. Even though it sound that simple, there are different ways to perform a casting process. For example, gravity casting uses Earth gravity to pack aluminum into the mold. This is the simpliest, visually-oriented methods, alloy wheels produced using gravity casting are usually heavier, than other cast wheels. Low pressure method relies on a positive pressure to move aluminum alloy into the mold, this results in a product with improved mechanical properties (low weight, high density).
2. Forged Alloy Wheels are manufactured by forcing a solid billet of aluminum between the forging dies under extreme pressure. Forged aluminum alloy wheels are dense, strong and therefore lightweight. Forging is high-technology manufacturing process, which usually determines a high price of forged alloy wheels.
3. Multi-piece Alloy Wheels are made by assembling together several separately-produced components. Every component may be manufactured using different techniques. The 3-piece wheels are popular in the 17" and larger diameters.
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