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2014年10月11日 星期六

Steel Wheels Buying Guide

When buying wheels for a vehicle, shoppers have a choice between steel and alloy. While alloy wheels are lighter, they can’t compete with the strength and durability of a steel wheel. Even though alloy wheels are the wheel type of choice for car manufacturers, car enthusiasts prefer steel wheels due to their reduced cost and strength.

Steel wheels are also heavier than alloy wheels, weighing three times as much. This makes them a good option for shoppers looking to save a little money when replacing their vehicle’s wheels. Their heavier weight lowers the center of gravity of the vehicle, however, which is not good for those who prefer a vehicle with agility and acceleration. On the plus side, this extra weight makes the vehicle more controllable in winter conditions, such as snow, ice, or freezing rain.

When searching for steel wheels, buyers should check out available steel wheel product options before making a final purchase. They should also learn about the different diameters and widths, how these differences relate to each other, and how to buy steel wheels.


Discover Steel Wheels
When shopping for steel wheels, shoppers should keep in mind wheel size, the finish that they desire, and their overall budget. The following sections detail wheel basics, including rim diameter, rim width, and what these two measurements mean in relation to each other. In addition to these areas, shoppers should learn how to differentiate the standard wheel size for their vehicle and the various types of finishes available for steel wheels.


Steel Wheel Basics
When dealing with steel wheels, there are some basic terms that affect what wheel a shopper buys. These include the overall size, the bolt pattern, the offset of the wheel, and the finish desired. The sections below provide shoppers with more information about these areas.

Rim Diameter
A steel wheel’s rim size is the diameter of the wheel where the bead of the tire sits on the wheel. The list below includes several common wheel diameters, which ranges from 13 to 20 inches:

13 inches
14 inches
15 inches
16 inches
17 inches
18 inches
20 inches
In all cases, buy steel wheels that conform to the load capacity of the vehicle they are mounted on, as determined in large part by the number of lugs, the pitch center of diameter (PCD), and the type of axle utilized. In general terms, the larger the vehicle, the bigger the load capacity requirements of the wheel. All wheels have the load capacity stamped into the back of the wheel.

Rim Width
Steel wheel rim width is the measurement from the inside of the outer rim flange to the inside of the inner rim flange. The list below details some of the various rim widths available, from 4 inches to 14 inches:

4 inches
4.5 inches
5 inches
5.5 inches
6 inches
6.5 inches
7 inches
7.5 inches
8 inches
9 inches
10 inches
12 inches
14 inches
When choosing a steel wheel to purchase, shoppers need to keep in mind that the vehicle they are buying for has a specific range of rim width that can be mounted and still retain a degree of safety while being driven. Buying a steel wheel with a width that is too small for the vehicle in question can lead to poor performance, or worse, wheel and tire failure.

Tire Diameter to Width Ratio
The ratio of the height of a tire in comparison to its width is called its aspect ratio. Increasing one will cause a proportional increase of the other. This is represented as a percentage. For example, when reading the tire code 225/70R14, the number after the slash represents 70 percent. What this means is that the height of the side wall is 70 percent of the nominal width of the tire. Width increases stability and handling, while a more narrow tire will increase speed and the overall ride comfort.

Using different-sized wheels over the standard that comes with a vehicle from the factory can represent its own set of problems. When doing so, shoppers should be careful not to buy a tire that is either too narrow or too wide for the rim it is placed upon. A common method for increasing the size of a wheel and still staying within safe parameters is to plus-size, step-up a tire. This involves decreasing the tire profile, some times as much 35 percent, which in turn allows shoppers to increase the overall rim size while keeping the tire within the parameters that allow the rolling radius to stay the same as a standard tire. Shoppers wanting to do so should consult a tire professional before proceeding.

Bolt Pattern
Bolt patterns are the holes in a rim for the bolts on the axle hub to fit through, allowing the wheel to be tightened to the axle through the use of lug nuts. They come in different numbers of bolts, which are stationed at an equal distance from each other in a circular pattern. The table below lists some common bolt patterns found on steel wheels. The first number represents the number of bolts, while the second number represents the diameter of the pattern in millimeters:

4x100 millimeters
5x100 millimeters
5x139.7 millimeters
6x139.7 millimeters
8x165.1 millimeters


Before purchasing a tire, shoppers should find out how many bolts their current wheels have and shop accordingly. When attaching tires, shoppers should use a star pattern when tightening, and make sure not to overtighten, as this makes it hard to remove the lug nuts when the tire must be removed at a later time.

Offset
The offset of a wheel is the relation of where the tire sits on the wheel in relation to the suspension. Measured in millimeters, it is the distance between the wheel hub, where the wheel attaches to the axle, and the centerline of the rim. A positive offset means the wheel is more toward the outside of the vehicle and toward the fender. A negative offset gives a wheel that is more in toward the suspension of the car.

Take care to not deviate outside the parameters allowed for the vehicle. Doing so can affect both how the car handles and also put too high of a load on bushings, ball joints, and bearings. Shoppers wishing to change the offset of their wheels should first consult with a tire professional before doing so.



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陳道 Will Chen
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帝師汽車有限公司 http://www.thiscar.com.tw
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