Wheel Construction: Not All are Created Equal

The Custom Assembly of O.Z. 3-Piece Wheels Are you in the market for custom wheels? Other than wheel size, style and price, you may want to research how your new wheels are made. Buying new wheels can be a significant investment and you want to be sure to get your money's worth before spending your hard earned cash.

Consider Use: Vehicle demands, road conditions and driving style are all important considerations. If you are driving a sports car such as a Porsche, Corvette or BMW and enjoy track days from time-to-time, you may need a lighter/stronger wheel.

Construction Methods: The reality is that not all aluminum wheels are created equally. Strength and weight of a wheel are partly determined by how a wheel is made, not only the material it is made of. The three primary methods of O.E. and aftermarket wheel construction are gravity cast, pressure cast and forged.

Gravity Cast: Gravity casting is the most common and least expensive wheel manufacturing process. This is the process of pouring molten aluminum into a mold using only gravity to assist. This results in the heaviest and weakest of the manufacturing methods. 

Pressure Cast:
Pressure casting is the process of introducing positive pressure to assist in the flow of molten aluminum through the mold. This creates a lighter/stronger product due to higher density than gravity cast at a minimum cost increase. Tech Article on Wheel Construction

 Forging is the process of forcing a semi-solid piece of aluminum between the forging dies under extreme pressure. This produces the lightest and strongest product of the three primary methods. Most of the 2- and 3-piece custom wheels and race wheels in the market are forged. The downside is that due to the extensive tooling required to create a finished wheel, forged wheels are considerably more expensive than either pressure or gravity cast. 
Bottom Line: I have spoken to many customers who wish they would have invested in a higher quality product after bad experiences with lower quality ones. The key to making an informed choice is to understand the advantages of each. To ensure you are getting the best product for your needs, consult a sales specialists to find out how the wheel you are interested in is constructed. 


Sunday, January 3, 2016 by Joe

I have a 2011 highlander base and OEM is 245 65 R17. I wanted to know if you can put the Michelin 255 65 R17 LTX MS/2 on this vehicle? I am not sold on the LTX Defender and the LTX MS has a soft compound of 440.

If I can't what would you recommend?
Monday, January 4, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Joe, Yes, you can use the 255/65R17 LTX MS/2 on the 2011 Highlander: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/TireSearchResults.jsp?width=255%2F&ratio=65&diameter=17&rearWidth=255%2F&rearRatio=40&rearDiameter=17&zip-code=&affiliate=GF3

Leave a comment