Having been first developed in 1924 by Ettore Bugatti, alloy wheels became a popular option for a number of motorists and car designers in the 1980s. Since then the marketfor them has boomed, with the alloy wheel gaining pre-eminent status as the leading design option for car tyres. Whilst once an expensive add-on feature, consumer demand and lower production costs have seen alloy wheels become a feature on a wide range of car types. They have also become a way for the industry to combat the rising problems of fuel inefficiency and consumption. They are considered one of the best wheels in the market today.
Alloy wheels are those that use metallic alloys, often Magnesium or Aluminium based, which combine either multiple metals or a metal with non-metallic element or compound. The exception to this is Steel, which whilst technically an alloy itself, is often not branded as such and considered separate to alloy wheels.
Alloy wheels are manufactured using two primary methods, casting and forging. Forged wheels are usually lighter, stronger and costlier to manufacture. Forged wheels themselves come in two distinct varieties, modular and one piece.
One of the primary benefits of alloy wheels is that they are able to provide greater strength in a lighter frame than those made of pure metals. A lighter wheel is able to produce better handling results, whilst a lighter vehicle on the whole will have lower fuel consumption. Alloy wheels also offer a variety of cosmetic benefits and design options. As their manufacturing process allows for a number of bespoke and eye-catching designs, and laser, diamond or bare-metal finishes. One of the draw backs to alloy wheels however is that they are not resistant to corrosion. This has both a cosmetic effect and can involve galvanic corrosion which can lead to tires leaking air pressure.