How do I know which wheel has the best strength?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 by Mac McNabb
Wheel manufacturing methods take you into metallurgy and methods of casting and forging. This information can be very helpful in selecting the right wheels for their intended purpose.

Steel Wheel

Method: Stamped sheet steel
Purpose: Simple winter and year-round driving in a touring driving style without aggressive driving
Limitations: Will not mount race tires or autocross tires, not safe for autocross or road racing

Gravity Cast Wheel

Method: Molten metal is poured into a cast and is forced into the mold via gravity
Purpose: Full spectrum use (touring, winter, semi-aggressive and mild autocross)
Limitations: None, but not as strong as high levels of cast or forged

Pressurized Cast Wheel (usually with surface treatment)

Method: Metal under pressure to help keep air bubbles out
Purpose: Standard touring to aggressive driving with racing included
Limitations: None, strongest of the cast
Example: Some O.Z. Racing, ASA, some BBS, moda

Forged Wheel


Method: Forced piece of metal, sometimes semi-molten into a mold
Purpose: Highest strength for the weight, so usually in extreme performance applications
Limitations: Your pocketbook.
Example: Some O.Z. Racing, some BBS

Does this all matter? Wheels are an aesthetic statement as much as a functional part of our vehicle, but since most of us do not race, a forged wheel, or even pressurized cast wheel that carries a higher price tag may not be necessary.

Choose which wheels you like on your vehicle. Pick two to three options and from there investigate which of your favorites are constructed using the best methods. Pick by look first if you are a casual driver; because for you and your all-season tires, construction won't really affect your daily commute.

If you are racing and spend significant time on the track, use this info to help determine which wheels will hold up for you at the limits.

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