Basic tips on alloy wheels and tyre upsizing

Alloy wheels and tyre upgrade

Alloy wheels and tyre upgrade

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 OEs.

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!

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