Many consider rims and wheels as one and the same, often interchanging the two terms in conversations. But, believe it or not, these two are different from each other even though they have similar basic functions.
In general, a rim is part of the wheel – the outermost edge where the tire rests. It is the durable metal material, which is mostly made of steel and alloy. When you combine rims with tires, then the object becomes a wheel. You cannot refer to rims as wheels unless you put tires on it.
The Making of Rims
One of the most common rim-making methods is flow forming. This hybrid process stretches and forms low-pressure cast block using heat and high-pressure rollers to shape into a rim. Another method is forging. The website FuchsfelgeUSA.com explains that in a standard forging process, manufacturers use a tremendous amount of heat and pressure to crush and shape a metal cast block.
There is also the casting method, which either uses gravity or pressure. Gravity casting simply pours molten metal in a mold, while pressure casting uses force to push the molten metal in the mold, giving the rim higher density and strength.
Common Rim Materials
Inarguably the most durable material for rims, steel features sufficient strength and weight that makes it ideal for car rims. Unlike aluminum and alloy, it doesn’t easily dent or break. But, steel rims are not ideal for car owners who are looking to add appeal in their car.
Some manufacturers nowadays address this downside by creating a tin-made thin overlay. Chrome-clad rims are common on trucks, which require durable wheels, and the chrome plate adds style to the car.
Aluminum alloy rims, meanwhile, are a mix of aluminum and nickel. Their weight and strength mainly rely on the proportion of the metals. The rim weighs lighter with less nickel, but it is more pliable to dents in an impact. Too much nickel, however, can make the material brittle and more prone to cracking.
In purchasing rims, make sure their making-method and composition fit your needs and the car’s specifications.