There is a common question that often plagues both car owners and aspiring car owners. This question has often been: how important is a wheel to a car? The other closely related question is what is more important, the wheel or the tire? Or which of the two should be more elegant. Well, the answers to these questions could be correlated or unrelated, it all depends on what exactly you would like to get out of these two important car accessories.
First things first, a wheel is the metal part that a tire wraps around. In other words, there can never be a car tire without a wheel. Ironically, however, it is the term tire that is commonly used to describe the combination of the two.
The tires serve to reduce the transmission of road impacts by providing a cushion between the vehicle and the road. The contoured surface of the tire also provides the friction necessary for the movement of the vehicle. Rubber is the most common material used when making tires, although a combination of other materials can work just as well. However, for the avoidance of doubt, let’s try to focus a bit on the wheel as a component of the tire, and while we do so, we can keep the tire in the rear view mirror, just to remind ourselves how the two complement each other. These are some of the necessary characteristics of a wheel:
I. Generally, a wheel must be strong enough to provide adequate support for the vehicle. All forces associated with the operation of the vehicle are borne by the wheel.
ii. On the other hand, a wheel must be lightweight. It sounds mechanically unbalanced, but this is where the metal used issue comes into play. it’s about keeping unsprung weight to a minimum.
Aluminum is known to combine excellent strength and light weight to achieve the desired support for the vehicle. Furthermore, aluminum is also a better conductor of heat, and by easily dissipating heat from tires and brakes, it is considered a better material for making wheels compared to steel. This is especially the case for aluminum alloy wheels.
iii. Another important aspect of a wheel is the ventilation holes. The flange (middle section) of the wheel is usually lined with holes for ventilation. This is important for air circulation to the brakes.
iv. Flip-Down Center Design – This is an optional design for wheels, but is generally required for passenger car wheels. The design makes it easy to mount and remove the wheel when the need arises. However, it is important to note that tire mounting and dismounting should always be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s manual.
It is important for the driver to understand these important characteristics in order to make an informed decision when buying a car.