Basic Tips On Alloy Wheels And Tyre Upsizing
Published On 27-Feb-2020
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A wheel is unarguably the most crucial component in an automobile’s running. That’s not saying that other parts in a car are insignificant, but to convert all the mechanical forces into motion in a vehicle, everything comes down to the fact on how efficiently you put the power down.
Besides doing the regular job that involves road-holding, braking, soaking up bumps etc., a tasteful set of wheels can also make your car look attractive. Which is where the thriving business of aftermarket alloy wheels comes into picture. A market place that generates a lot of interest from all sect of car buyers. So, if you are looking to upgrade your set of wheels so as to enhance the look of your ride while also improving its driving characteristics, read on...
What's the purpose of upsizing tyres or fitting alloy wheels?
Barring a handful of bare-basic entry level cars, almost all the vehicles sold these days come with an optional choice of alloy wheels. However, as you must have also observed, alloy wheels come fitted only in top-of-the-range variants of cars; meaning you have to shell out a lot more cash over lower-spec variants just to get company-fitted alloys.
What’s more, there’s a limited choice of designs, and most of the premium you end up paying usually includes other additional equipment, which you might not necessarily need. Also, in most of the mainstream cars (hatchbacks/sedans) sold in India, you will usually find thinner and high-profile rubber shod on steel rims. While these are good for fuel-economy and in soaking up undulations on the road, their performance is a tad underwhelming in terms of road grip, cornering, braking etc.
What you do in that case is upsize your vehicle’s tyres with aftermarket alloy wheels and more grippy tyres. Not only do you get a plethora of brands, designs etc., to choose from, but also get reasonable deals and pay only for stuff you need.
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Why go for alloy wheels?
The ‘normal’ steel wheel rims that most of the cars come fitted with as standard are prone to damage and are much cheaper to fit than alloy wheels. They are also considerably heavier, unattractive and plain-jane to look at, and have smaller diameter and width. In comparison, alloy wheels are made using a mixture of light-weight metals such as aluminium, magnesium etc.. The alloy is made using ‘cast’ which gives it a more rigid structure and prevents cracks propagating on a wheel when it encounters a pit or pothole- obstacles that can be found in abundance in our country’s roads.
In technical speak, alloy wheels allow for reduced unsprung weight (components that are not supported by a car’s suspension). This translates into lower rolling resistance, increased efficiency, improved steering feel and greater braking response (since heat dissipation substantially increases as compared to steel rims).
How to choose the right alloy wheel/tyre combination for your vehicle?
Choosing right type or more importantly right size of alloy wheel and tyre combination is crucial in order to reap all the benefits listed above. Otherwise, you might just end up ruining the ride quality, handling and suspension components of your car. For example, if you go for a larger-than-needed diameter wheel than the stock-size rim, you will have to put a lower profile rubber on it. This combination may look impressive on the outside, and infact, it will feel like you're driving your vehicle 'on rails' .
However, this experience will only be limited to smooth tarmacs. In normal running, the steering wheel will feel heavier; the ride will be super stiff and the fuel economy will drop down significantly. It is, therefore, always best to consult your mechanic or people in the know before upsizing tyres/wheels on your vehicle. Additionally, try and stick to your car manufacturer’s specified rolling radius (combined tyre+alloy size) for your vehicle. The rolling radius of the new combination of tyre/alloy wheel should never change by more than 3 per cent from earlier in any case.
Also, always buy alloy wheels and tyres of reputable brands. Try and go for manufacturers that are renowned and supply to OEMs.
Last but not least, once the alloy wheels and new tyres are fitted, do not forget to carry out routine wheel maintenance services like alignment, balancing and rotation. This will not only help them look chic standing still, but will also make up for a smoother drive while you’re on the go!