High-Performance Wheels: Should You Buy Them?

The type of wheels on your car do more than just impact its appearance – they also play a role in your vehicle’s performance.

What Are High-Performance Wheels?

High-performance wheels are those that are lightweight, compact and less susceptible to galvanic corrosion when compared to standard steel wheels. Performance wheels aid in reducing the unsprung weight of vehicles, which in turn lessens the effect of vibrations felt within the vehicle. Heavy vehicles are generally lower in fuel economy and have a higher emission output. A performance wheel is designed to improve your vehicle handling, as well as an outstanding visual appearance.

Types of High-Performance Wheels

The variety of options available to consumers on the market has rapidly increased in recent times. Deciding on a new set of performance wheels has become quite tricky, with options available that meet nearly all needs of just about every driver.

Cast Alloy

The most common and inexpensive option on the market is cast alloy wheels. The casting process occurs when aluminium alloy is melted into a mould, providing the overall shape of the wheel before it is cooled and finished.

Although cast alloy wheels are relatively cheap and easy to obtain, they are notorious for cracking – which is often irreparable. Additionally, cast alloys can be quite heavy compared to other high-performance wheels on the market. This is due to the requirement for extra material to strengthen the wheel during the manufacturing process.

For people who are wanting a relatively inexpensive way to improve the aesthetics of their vehicle, cast alloys can be a great choice.

Forged Alloy

Forged alloy wheels are stronger and lighter than their cast alloy alternatives, however they do carry a higher financial cost. The production process of forged wheels leads to around 30-35% less material being used, hence the savings in mass.

The forging process results in a wheel that has greater strength and resistance when compared to casting. Forged wheels are able to withstand impact and high levels of load stress while on the road. They are more suited to performance and are often utilised for track racing where lower treadwear tyres are prominent.

For performance and reliability overall, forged alloy wheels tend to be favourable when compared to cast alloys – consumers just need to be prepared to pay a higher cost.

Benefits of High-Performance Wheels

Alloy performance wheels are manufactured using light metals – generally aluminium with various other elements. This aids in improving performance and handling of a vehicle, playing a part in decreasing stopping distances, putting less strain on suspension components and can be attributed to marginal enhancements in acceleration. Under extreme driving conditions, such as motorsports, performance wheels dissipate heat from the brakes far more efficiently when compared to standard steel wheels.

Reduced Unsprung Weight

One of the most critical factors affecting the road holding ability of a vehicle is its unsprung weight. Unsprung weight relates to any components of the vehicle that are not supported by the suspension system – mainly the wheels, tyres and brakes. These components are more prone to road shock and cornering forces. A reduction in unsprung weight allows performance wheels to provide a more precise steering input and improved turning characteristics.

Enhanced Acceleration and Braking

Reducing the weight of the vehicle’s rotational mass allows performance wheels to provide marginally enhanced responsiveness when accelerating and braking. Removing weight from a vehicle will improve its performance; but removing weight from the wheels is beneficial in the sense that the wheels themselves require energy to gain speed, as well as slow down.

Increased Rigidity

Additional strength of a high-quality performance alloy wheel aids in reducing wheel or tyre deflection significantly when cornering. This is a particularly important consideration for vehicles that are equipped with high-performance tyres, where lateral forces can approach 1.0 g.

Added Brake Cooling

The metals used in the construction of alloy performance wheels are highly conductive of heat which assists in dissipating heat from the brakes of a vehicle. Alloy wheels are generally designed to allow more air to flow over the brakes making them cooler. Cooler brake components help to reduce wear and tear on a vehicle’s tyres, which promotes performance and economic benefits related to tyre replacements. It should be noted that this is more prominent under extreme driving conditions when compared to general everyday use.

Aesthetic Appeal

The cosmetic appeal of performance alloy wheels is one of the main contributing factors as to why people opt to purchase them. With wide-ranging styles and custom designs available, alloy wheels provide drivers with great flexibility regarding the aesthetics of their vehicle. Unlike standard steel wheels, performance alloys have higher corrosion resistance properties, making them easier to polish and maintain their visual appeal.

GMW & High-Performance Wheels

GMW Perth are a client-centric mechanic, taking a proactive approach to all service delivery. We take the time to understand you, your driving habits and your budget before we begin quoting your performance wheels or tyres. This information allows us to make personalised recommendations and help you find a product that suits your needs to perfection.

With access to performance wheels and tyres from all the top brands on the market, our service team are happy to provide advice to help you find a solution suited to your vehicle. Our goal is for you to drive away in a vehicle that looks and performs to the highest of standards.

For more information on our performance wheels and tyre service, get in touch with our friendly team today!