A set of custom wheels is often one of the first changes a tuner makes to their vehicle. Achieving a dynamic, aggressive custom look is usually the reason for the change. Stock wheels are, as a rule, ugly. However, there are many other reasons to switch to a set of new wheels form a reputable aftermarket company. What do custom wheels offer that OEM wheels lack? Here’s a rundown:
It’s All About Weight
Most vehicles come from the factory with steel wheels, though upgrade packages are available for OEM alloy wheels. Steel wheels are incredibly durable, though they lack style and pizzazz. However, they are also incredibly heavy. The heavier a wheel is, the more torque must be utilized to get it up to speed. In other words, weight from the wheel detracts from acceleration and top speed. In addition, wheel weight can also detract from overall vehicle performance and handling. Removing weight is one of the top reasons for ditching those OEM eyesores.
Alloy wheels (aluminum) weigh much less than their steel counterparts and accordingly provide better acceleration and top speed. Your ride will also enjoy better stopping power, as it requires less friction to slow an alloy wheel than it does a steel wheel.
The Cool Factor
Another reason to eliminate those steel wheels is heat. Steel retains heat rather than dissipating it as alloy wheels do. This heat builds up and reduces braking performance, brake life, and even tire life. By radiating heat through the spoke pattern, alloy wheels are able to cool the entire wheel/hub assembly, which increases brake performance and life, tire performance and life, and much more.
Traditional steel wheels are solid discs with a few patterned cutouts around the edge. This provides enormous stability but keeps the heat in the wheel. However, alloy wheels utilize a spoke pattern rather than solid disc construction. The spokes provide better surface coverage for airflow, allowing heat to be dissipated while you drive.
Obviously, alloy wheels enjoy a much better appearance than their steel brethren do. However, aftermarket alloy wheels can give you a better look and more style than even those expensive OEM aluminum wheels. Since aftermarket manufacturers specialize in nothing but crafting unique wheels and developing new patterns, they are able to attain a greater degree of aesthetics than automakers, as well as endowing their wheels with greater durability.