:: An Alloy Wheel Guide ::
Interested in buying a set of Alloy Wheels? - This guide will help you pick the perfect set of alloys and has some great tips on how to fit and look after your wheels!
In general, alloy wheels are lighter, more attractive,
and better at dissipating brake heat that their steel counterparts. They
tend to be available in standardised sizes which means competition
amongst tyre vendors giving low prices and good availability!
Offset is the distance between the hub mounting face at the back of the wheel and the wheel's centreline.
Offset is usually stamped or engraved into the wheel and is measured in millimetres of 'ET' [ET is the short form of the German word 'Einpresstiefe' which literally translates as 'insertion depth']
Positive Offset wheels have their mounting face toward the front face
of the wheel. Most front wheel drive vehicles have positive ET wheels.
Eighties and Nineties Volkswagen wheels are usually ET38.
Negative Offset wheels have their mounting face toward the rear of the wheel - powerful rear-wheel drive cars often have wheels with negative offset.
What does PCD mean?
What does Centrebore mean?
Most modern wheels are what's called 'hub-centric' - this means that the hub which protrudes from your car [and mates with the equivalent sized hole at the back of your wheel] is 'load bearing'. All the studs or bolts do therefore is hold the wheel onto the hub!
If you have' lug-centric' wheels, the state of your studs or bolts is obviously more critical - be sure to replace these from time to time and always 3/4 tighten the wheels off the car to ensure they're centred.
What does Plus-Sizing or Up-Stepping mean?
Benefits - Plus-Sizing will
improve the handling of your car! - each step will reduce the proportion
of flexible tyre 'sidewall' to rigid alloy. This will improve response,
will help keep the tyre tread square to the road and will improve your
car's 'feedback'. If done properly speedo and odometer accuracy will be
retained and the car's sure to look better..
Before you do anything, check to see that you the right
sort of bolts - Bolts and studs have various diameters, threads and
seatings, your wheel supplier should be able to advise on this. Also
check to see that you the 4 plastic spigot rings which help the interface
between the wheel and the hub.
The wheel bolts or nuts must be tightened to the manufacturer’s
specified torque. [Be sure to re-torque the after a 100 miles or so as
they will compress slightly] tighten them progressively 'till they're
3/4 tight then lower the car and complete the process.
As anybody who's stepped into a motor factors in the last 10 years will tell you, there's a huge variety of specialist wheel cleaners on the market, all designed to help make the job of cleaning your new rims that little bit easier, unfortunately the real key to a great finish is hard work.
Before you fit your wheels, give them several coats of good quality car polish back and front. This will help prevent the road salt, brake dust and dirt 'keying' to the surface on first use. Be sure to treat the surface of your alloys as well, if not better, than you would your paintwork. Remember, you've spent a small fortune of your alloys and they're going to be subject to the harshest conditions of just about any part of the car!
Frequent washing with mildly soapy warm water [having hosed all the
loose abrasive grit off first] is the best way to keep wheels clean.
Never use abrasive cleansers, electric buffers or wire wool pads on your
wheels. Where possible let your wheels cool thoroughly before cleaning them
and avoid car-wash wheel-cleaners at all times.
Final Top-Tip - Fast Road and Track Driving can cause your wheels to get VERY hot indeed. Their proximity and direct connection to the braking system makes heat transfer a very real problem. Hyper heating the wheels can irreversibly change the colour of the paint on your wheels and as they heat they can expand to the point where your expensive centre caps are no longer held in-place and break for freedom. We know. We've had a set of silver wheels turn bronze and throw all 4 centre caps in just 1 hour on track!
---- coming soon ----