Wheel Weight Debate: Are Alloys the Secret to a Nimbler ride?
When it comes to cars, there are a few things that are more important than others. For instance, your car’s wheels are extremely important. After all, you don’t want to be seen driving around on old steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, do you? Or even a set of tiny 15″ alloys? No, you want to make a statement with your wheels. The largest possible size or even a bright red if you’re feeling particularly adventurous.
But seriously, forgetting their colour, the weight of your wheels is an even more important factor when it comes to your car. You see, your wheels’ weight has a huge impact on handling, braking and acceleration. And trust me, you don’t want to drive around on heavy, clunky wheels. It’s like trying to run a marathon in a pair of cement-filled boots.
Unsprung weight loss: Sprung vs unsprung – which is the real culprit behind your car’s poor performance?
Any unnecessary weight directly affects your car’s handling, and when we think about car weight, we think about whether it’s sprung or unsprung.
Car wheels are part of the unsprung weight. That’s the parts of the car not supported by the springs. Like the wheels, tyres, brake assembly, and the parts of the suspension that attach the wheel to the car.
In contrast, sprung weight is anything that is supported by your car’s suspension. Like the body, engine and your mother-in-law sat in the back seat. Sprung weight has less effect on handling, but reducing it can still improve performance, especially if she is chatting a lot.
Takeaway:If you want to improve unsprung weight, change your wheels. If you want to improve sprung weight, ditch your mother-in-law.
New Wheels, New You
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “how can I reduce the weight of my wheels?” The answer is simple: switch to a decent set of alloys.
We all know alloy wheels are lighter than steel wheels, but what about one alloy vs another? Shall I tell you a little secret? Not all alloys are made equal.
The weight of an alloy wheel is determined by its composition and manufacturing process. Someone who drinks 18 pints of lager and visits the kebab shop on the way home tends to be slower and heavier, and in the same way, so are cheaply manufactured alloys.
Good quality alloys are typically much lighter than their cheap and chunky counterparts. Made to the exacting standards of our German brethren, whose only obsession is to manufacture perfectly engineered and designed vehicles. They use high-grade aluminium and other lightweight metals intended to be strong as an ox and light as a feather.
But the bad stuff? It’s usually made from subpar materials and thrown together like a toddler’s puzzle that weighs a tonne.
So, there you have it: if you want a better drive, ditch your mother-in-law, get some shiny new alloys and try not to eat too many kebabs. Trust me; your car will thank you.