What Are Your Wheels Made Of?
Wheels make the world go round. The right set of rims can make your truck look badass.
But you might have a hard time choosing the perfect set since there are so many choices out there. From the construction of the wheel to the size, fit and finish, there are literally tens of thousands of choices.
If that isn’t enough to make your head spin, there’s the stress of choosing the wrong set for the job. You could end up with pitted, stained wheels in just a short amount of time if you pick out the wrong finish for your custom rims, depending on what part of the country you live in and how they treat your roads in the winter.
Wheels aren’t cheap and you don’t want to waste all that money on wheels that look sad and dirty in less than a year.
We’re here to help you out with that.
We know wheels and we know how to use them. That’s why we’re giving you the information you need to pick out your next set of perfect wheels.
Start at the beginning when choosing your wheels. What they’re made of is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, besides the size, finish and cost of course. And when you find your perfect set of wheels, visit our wheel visualizer to see what they look like on your vehicle.
The construction of wheels isn’t as simple as you might think. There’s more than one material and method used to make all the cool looking wheels you’ve probably been drooling over lately.
Check out the different types of ways wheels are made and see what kind is best for your ride.
One Piece or “Cast Aluminum”Rims
One piece wheels are made just like they sound – in one piece. Wheel makers pour super hot molten aluminum into a cast mold, cool itoff and out comes the wheel. There are actually a few different ways manufacturers make these cast wheels depending on the way the wheel is designed, but they all result in a one piece wheel.
One piece wheels are usually heavier and sometimes stronger than other types of wheels. This is why most auto makers use one piece cast wheels to make factory wheels. A downside of one-piece cast wheels is if you damage one you’ll probably have to replace it rather than have it repaired.
Cast or one piece wheels are pretty tough and are on the inexpensive side of the price scale. That makes these wheels a good choice if you’re watching your wallet and don’t want to blow it all in one place.
Two-piece wheels are also self-explanatory. The outer piece,which is the lip, hoop or barrel, is made separately from the center or spoke area of the wheel. They’re then welded or bolted together to create the wheel.The inner section can be made from cast aluminum, billet or forged aluminum and the outer hoop is usually aluminum.
Two-piece wheels look about the same as three-piece wheels and have the same quality. Two piece wheels are usually cheaper than 3-piece,depending on the materials used. A welded two-piece is a little harder to repair since the outer hoop has to be cut off and a new one welded on. A boltedtwo-piece is easier to repair since a new hoop can be bolted on. Depending onthe type of aluminum wheel you have, and where the damage is are also factors in repairing custom rims. If you curbed one, or a pothole bent the lip, these can occasionally be repaired. Every case is different so ask your local wheel experts if yours can be repaired.
Three-piece wheels are made very similar to two-piece wheels, but are more expensive. With these you get the center (usually forged),the outer hoop and the inner hoop all held together by bolts or rivets. The good thing about all the parts is you can get just about any width wheel you want, including the really deep dish wheels. Most 3-piece wheels are built to order. This gives you the ability to have custom made offsets and backspaces which are great for lifted and lowered vehicles. They’re also easy to repair if the rim gets bent or damaged. Three-piece wheels are seen most frequently on luxury cars, race cars(road race, etc.) and other higher end applications.
Also, 3-piece wheels are typically lighter weight than cast wheels. The bad thing is these are the most expensive type of forged wheel out there.
You get the badass riveted look on the three piece wheels so even if they are a little heavy, they’re a great way to make your truck look like the tough guy on the block.
Billet wheels are usually 2-piece or 3-piece wheels. Billet wheels are forged from billet aluminum. Since the creation process uses less material than other types of wheels, billet wheels are really light weight and can be made into crazy unique designs. And even though they’re light weight, they’re still pretty strong.
Billet is a softer material though, and can result in bends and a hard to clean surface. They can also be pretty pricey depending on the design and size. Billet wheels need to be polished several times a year to keep their good looking surface or they’ll start looking cloudy.
Billet wheels aren’t as popular as they were a decade ago. You’ll find the biggest crowd of billet wheels at truck shows on custom trucks, hot rods and other show vehicles.
Forged rims are made by using extreme force to take a raw chunk of metal and turn it into a unique shape with intense pressure. You’ll find most forged rims on performance cars because they’re very light and strong. Forged rims don’t have the shiny, mirror surface chrome rims have, but they do have a bright finish that looks good when they’re clean. The good thing about forged wheels is how strong they are. These rims are about 300 times stronger than cast wheels so of course they can last a lot longer and take more abuse.
You won’t find many solid steel wheels on the market today. These are mostly considered old school and are pretty hard to find these days. You won’t find 26” steel wheels or steel wheels with the latest and greatest designs, but if you need a good solid wheel that’ll last for a good price, steel may the way to go. Steel is also a great choice for off-road wheels since they’re so tough. The downside is that steel will rust. Guaranteed. So weight that with the other benefits before making your choice.
What’s All This Mean?
Here at Chux Trux we know the looks of your car, truck or Jeep are important. That’s why we carry a huge selection of wheels made from different materials through different processes. Construction, finish, looks and prices are the main categories you’ll look at when choosing your next set of wheels for your truck.
Let us help you with that important decision and get a set of wheels that you won’t regret.