How Wheels Work and Why They Matter
Wheels are one of the most essential components of a vehicle. While many people focus on the appearance of wheels and rims, they play an important role in how your vehicle operates.
How Wheels Work
Wheels serve the function of translating an engines power into motion. When a driver presses the acceleration pedal, the engine’s power moves from the drivetrain to the wheels. Wheels are bolted to a wheel hub, which keeps the wheel spinning freely on the bearing while remaining attached to the vehicle. When the tires on the ground create friction, it propels the car forward.
The different parts that make up a wheel are the outboard face, center bore, plate, spokes, rim, bolt circle, and valve stem bore.
When changing the wheels on your car, it is important to work with an industry expert. Replacing OEM wheels with aftermarket wheels can have a significantly negative impact on alignment, handling, acceleration and braking quality. Often times, the bolt pattern will not align correctly with aftermarket wheels.
The material a wheel is made of can also affect its performance. While steel wheels are basic, inexpensive wheels for lower cost vehicles, Aluminum alloy is a happy-medium between durability and cost. Carbon fiber is an option often associated with sports cars. This strong yet brittle wheel-type is the most expensive of the three.
Taking the proper measurements is also key in choosing the right wheels for your car. While you may love a certain design, wheel fitment and compatibility are far more critical in this decision. If the diameter of a wheel is too big, it can interfere with the wheelwell; if it is too small, it could have trouble fitting over the brakes. The width of a wheel is also important as a wider wheel can create more traction but may also interfere with the wheelwell.