Just how are your alloy wheels made?

Alloy wheels are a popular feature with car buyers. They look smart and do not rust, but how much do you know about them?

Alloy wheels were first developed for racing because they offered greater strength and lighter weight than steel or wire wheels. Early wheels used magnesium alloy, which tended to be brittle. It was not until the 1960s that safer aluminium alloy wheels were developed and they began to become popular on road cars, as much for their appearance as for their engineering qualities. Today, alloys are a common feature of many new cars and are a popular aftermarket add-on.

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How they are made

The process of creating an alloy wheel starts with an ingot of aluminium. After undergoing tests to ensure the purity of the metal, this is melted down and used in a low-pressure die casting process to produce the initial shape of the wheel. The casting is them machined to remove any rough edges.

The next step is to x-ray the wheel to ensure there are no flaws; next, it the centre hole and the holes for the wheel bolts are drilled. Depending on the wheel, there may be additional machining to produce the finished shape. The wheel is then tested and measured to ensure it is perfect. Finally, the wheel will be polished or powder coated to produce the desired finish. Coated wheels are baked to provide a tough finish.

Maintaining alloys

Buyers like to see alloy wheels on a car, but not if they are dirty, scratched and damaged. Clean, unmarked alloys can make a difference to the value of your car when you come to sell it; therefore, it is a good idea to look after your wheels, keeping them clean and trying to avoid damage from kerbs. Pay attention to the wheels when cleaning the car and remove any brake dust; if left, this can lead to corrosion.

If your wheels are scratched or damaged by kerbing, you may be tempted to think about replacing them; however, a company such as http://www.acefinishcarrepairs.com/diamond-cutting-alloy-wheels-huntingdon-peterborough-cambridge-st-ives-st-neots.html can carry out alloy wheel refurbishment in Cambridge and have them looking like new at a fraction of the cost of new wheels.

Keeping your alloy wheels looking good takes a little effort but this is a worthwhile investment if you are looking to sell your car.