Choosing the right rims

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There are several categories of rims that can improve the dynamic behavior of a car, and the two biggest categories are cast or forged rims. Here’s why it’s good to know the differences.

Very often, cars come with a single set of wheels that users fit with summer or winter rims, depending on the season. Although it seems like a good choice, at first glance, this system is not exactly the most suitable. Over time, due to the stretching stresses the tires undergo when fitted and removed, plastic deformation can occur.

Sometimes these deformations occur over time, and users may not even notice the differences. Depending on the number of kilometers driven, there is a likelihood that the tires in question will wear out before they become deformed. But if you opt for a set of tires that will last several tens of thousands of kilometers, you’ll end up using them for several years. Depending on the skill and machinery used by the vulcanization where you change your tires, these deformations can occur even after three years.

Many drivers, therefore, choose to use one set of rims for winter tires and another for summer tires.  Customers can choose from two main categories: cast and forged rims. But what are the differences between the two types?

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With small exceptions, all car brands supply cast alloy wheels. These are cheaper to produce in large quantities and are durable enough. Unless they are subjected to hard knocks, they will do their job successfully for more than ten years. But that doesn’t mean they don’t suffer. At first glance, they are good, they run safely, and they don’t pose any balancing problems.

But on closer inspection, they will show plastic deformation and ovalisation over time. There are services where they are being adjusted to return to a perfect circle. The problem is that a rim once bent and straightened loses its strength and therefore it will not take long for it to twist again.

Generally, OEM rims are made by casting a liquid metal alloy into a mold and left to cool. Depending on the manufacturer, a hardening treatment follows, which aims to improve mechanical strength. This process of forming cast rims has the advantage of being more cost-effective. The disadvantage, however, is the differences in molecular structure and concentration, which results in lower material strength in some areas and higher in others. Thus, they will deform under mechanical shocks from potholes, tram tracks, kerbs, etc.

Some car manufacturers also offer the option of buying forged wheels. Very few of them do, and at quite high prices. But in addition to these, there are other specialist suppliers who use the same manufacturing process, and prices can often be more affordable than some cast but OEM wheels. The production process is achieved by compressing the alloy. The material is not melted but just heated so that it can be pressed into a mold. This increases the density of the metal and, thus the mechanical strength. In addition, the molecular structure is more evenly distributed. This makes it much less likely that the rim is harder on one side than the other.

In conclusion, cast rims are more common and more affordable but can be less durable. Forged rims offer superior strength and durability but can be more expensive. The choice between the two types depends on personal preferences and priorities, as well as the available budget.

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