Daily Slideshow: Wheel Buyers Guide: Pick the Right Set Today
Let’s sort through all this nonsense.
More than Skin Deep
Wheels are about more than looks. A whole lot more. From picking a cast or forged wheel to choosing how many pieces a wheel is made of you have a lot of things to consider. That’s before we ever look at things like offset. Don’t worry, we’re going to break it down in the simplest way. Here are your cliff notes.
Cast or Forged
Forged is stronger than cast which comes with a higher price tag. If you’re into performance you can’t match the reduction of unsprung weight that comes with ultralight forged wheels. Areas with rough roads will also benefit from forged wheels. The cast may be used on lightweight cars in some cases due to lower potential stress levels.
Break Me Off a Piece
…of that 3-piece wheel that just hit the curb. Part of the benefit of multi-piece wheels is the pieces can be changed individually if they are damaged. Another big benefit is the customization of width that allows the car to run bigger brakes or perhaps just give that signature VIP look. They are light weight, strong and may even feature a heat treated inner rim for added strength. Expect to pay big bucks for these if you’re buying new.
The offset can change scrub radius (SR) and scrub radius can have dramatic effects on handling. Defined as the imaginary point where the tire centerline and kingpin centerline intersect the ground, scrub radius can make a car stable or darty. Generally speaking, a negative SR will be safer and more stable where positive SR will be harder to control and require much more skill. Know what you are doing to your scrub radius by which offset you select.
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) have been a mandatory law for quite some time now. It goes without saying you will want to find something that is compatible with OEM equipment. Spend long enough in the industry and the horror stories you hear a long and numerous. Save yourself the headache, be sure they are compatible.
Unsprung mass is anything that isn’t supported by the springs. This would be your wheels, tires, brake rotors, shocks, lug nuts, etc. It goes without saying that the heaviest component in that list are your wheels and tires. By making sure these are as light as possible you help the car with noticeable performance. At the very least, make sure you are not adding weight to a wheel and tire combination. You want to reduce weight or keep it the same.
The picture depicts a positive scrub radius in both photos.
As a final send-off, I’d like to take a moment to name some brands that are worth every penny. These are my top picks that you can’t go wrong with no matter what you buy: BBS, Works, Enkei and OZ Racing. Short of some one-off producers that you find in the community, these are the big names that I go to for trustworthy performance. Well, there you have it. The how to buyers guide for wheels on your Honda. Hope you enjoyed.