You already know that alloy wheels look great, increase the value of your car and protect against irreparable damage but do you know the best types, the metals used or where they originated from.
Prepare to Learn Everything You Need to Know about Alloy Wheel Repair
We don’t often think too deeply about our alloys until we need an alloy wheel repair. As alloys are an expensive investment the cost of repair can be pricey too. If you know your aluminium form your steel and your die cast from your forged though, you can make sure you get the best price for your repair.
History of Alloy Wheels
In the beginning people preferred magnesium alloys. They replaced the need for heavy steel wheels and delivered a lighter solution without any loss of strength. Although aluminium alloys were available they had a lot of hoops to jump through to satisfy safety standards as they posed problems such as easy breakages due the brittle metal.
Many tried to pass off aluminium alloys as magnesium but were soon found out when the alloys snapped under pressure. With tweaks to the casting, and problems resolved, aluminium started to take over, they were cheaper, lighter and favoured by racing drivers.
Today alloys are made from a mixture of the two, while adapted to suit the vehicle. Large lorries prefer the more solid, heavyweight alloys while the average driver prefers lighter models that don’t impact on the speed of the car.
How Alloy Wheels Are Made
There are many ways in which alloys are made and many inventors are still developing the perfect alloy.
The most popular manufacturing methods are:
Alloy Wheel Forging
Forging is usually done only on magnesium wheels, for instance the AZ80. When produced like this they are very tough and ductile although this is reflected in the price.
High Pressure Die Casting
This is an incredible process to watch, a little like watching Terminator 2. Basically it uses heavy duty machinery to clamp the die cast together before molten magnesium is dispensed into a tube. Once in the shot sleeve it is forced out with a piston using intense pressure into the mould and in what seems like seconds, the cast splits open and the alloy is revealed.
They can be produced in bulk this way but obviously have their drawbacks being weaker than forged alloys. Nevertheless they are a sound and affordable option.
Low Pressure Die Casting
This uses a similar method to the high pressure casting however the cast is set above the molten magnesium. The mixture of air and internal pressure forces the magnesium into the die and the alloy is formed.
This method promises to produce better alloys than high pressure casting. It is also known as gravity casting and is one of the favourite methods used for bespoke alloy wheels.