The Genuine Wheel Advantage

genuine vs replica wheels

Faced with a dilemma? You’ve got a shiny new car and now you’re wondering whether to go genuine or replica?

At Alloy Wheels Direct, we only sell genuine wheels. There are big differences. Let’s find out what they are…

Genuine Wheels

Genuine wheels are wheels that come either as standard or as a factory option when you buy a new car.

Genuine wheels are made for the car manufacturer under licence by approved wheel producers, who may also offer wheels sold under their own brand (eg BBS, OZ Racing).

They are designed and built to withstand the rigours of operating in a wide range of conditions, for instance; with high vehicle load, chemical damage, pot holes, salt, grit and other damage to the wheel from the environment.

Tried & Tested

Every Genuine wheel is x-rayed and pressure tested to detect any invisible imperfections or faults. They have undergone many thousands of miles of testing during design & development. A multi layer paint coating ensures complete protection against stone chips and corrosion.  

Genuine wheels ensure your vehicle handles as intended and they’re much more resistant to corrosion, cracking and buckling. They are available to order for many years after car production ends, so you're always able to find an identical spare.

Peace of Mind

Your car's only connection to the road is through its wheels. Genuine wheels assure the safety of you and your passengers. And all backed up with a multi-year guarantee.

Wheel Research & Development - Genuine Wheels

Genuine wheels go through rigorous design, development, testing regimes before production to ensure they not only look good, but also perform exceptionally.

Working from an initial sketch or design concept, wheels undergo detail design using CAD and stress analysis software. Engineers spend time analysing and calculating the expected dynamic load and performance characteristics of the wheel to ensure it meets the manufacturer’s specifications and requirements of the vehicle.

From then, the first mould is developed from which prototypes are cast using specialist aluminium alloys (often using low pressure diecasting). Before completely cooling, engineers check the quality of the casting for each wheel by performing X-Ray inspections. Wheels are checked for leaks before a multi-layer coating is applied for maximum protection against corrosion.

Batch samples are quality checked in heat, cold, and humidly chambers and in vapour tests using aggressive substances. Finally, samples are tested on a two-axel wheel test rig to subject the wheel to extreme continuous loads which are highly unlikely to occur in real life. In addition, an extremely wide variety of real journeys are completed in accelerated computer controlled simulations. Following successful testing, equivalent to several thousand miles on the road, wheels are thoroughly inspected, before they receive approval for full production.

Replicas, Counterfeit and Fake Wheels

At first glance, Replica wheels look like the real deal and they’re usually much cheaper. Replica wheels are available across the internet from less scrupulous alloy wheel dealers.

Alloy Wheels Direct only sell genuine wheels.

Usually a copy of a Genuine wheel, replica wheels aren’t as safe, strong or durable - they’re usually manufactured by factories in China. 

Heavier and Weaker

To reduce costs, they’re made using cheaper material and cheaper manufacturing processes. This produces a wheel that looks similar but is much heavier and weaker than a genuine wheel. Without R&D and testing costs, replica manufacturers don't adhere to the stringent requirements of vehicle manufacturers.  

When faced with potholes, bumps and exposed to cleaning chemicals, replica wheels are much more liable to failure and damage, watch the video above

Replica Wheels FAQs

No, replica wheels are not made in the same factory as genuine wheels. Genuine wheels are made by vehicle manufacturer approved suppliers. Replica wheels are usually manufactured in China or the far-east using lower quality alloys. 

No, replica wheels are never identical to genuine wheels. They may look similar but are never the same.

Replicas are made using a reverse engineered mould, which is produced much more cheaply than the original. Replicas are usually heavier and will have some notable differences on the front and significant differences on the back of the wheel. Replicas are sometimes adapted/modified to fit vehicles the originals were never intended to. 

Its worth noting that its almost impossible to replace replica wheels like-for-like. There is no manufacturer traceability and each set will vary slightly.

No, replica wheels are made using cheaper manufacturing processes and cheaper, heavier aluminium alloys. This makes them much more susceptible to cracking, bucking, scratching and vibration. They are much less safe.

Replica wheels do not like potholes!

No, replica wheels normally use low grade paint & lacquer finishes to keep costs to a minimum. Genuine wheels are quality checked in heat, cold, and humidly chambers and in vapour tests using aggressive substances during development. They are designed to withstand chemicals, road salt and the elements - that is why they are backed by the vehicle manufacturer's guarantee

It is nearly impossible to replace a damaged replica wheel like-for-like.

Replicas tend to be made in small batches from different factories, using different moulds. There are likely to be variations in size, detailing and fitment if you buy a replacement.

No. Replica wheels simply do not go through the same level of research, development and testing as genuine wheels. Where genuine wheels are tested, x-rayed and inspected to ensure they are geometrically perfect and meet specific quality standards, replica wheels are not - they have to be produced much more cheaply.

Replicas do not undergo the same amount of testing. It is not uncommon to have vibration/noise and other issues from new.

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