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Wheels for GenNext

Alloy wheels are meant to be stronger and lighter than conventional steel wheels, but most imported ones don't meet stringent quality standards.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2003 12:30 IST

Alloy wheels are the best thing that can happen to your automobile. While conventional wheels are upto the job, a smart set of alloys not only increase the visual appeal of your motor but enhance performance by virtue of having less weight, stiffer resistance to deformation and lower rolling resistance. But like all normal components of a vehicle, even alloy wheels need looking after.

The most important thing to do, of course, is to keep the wheels clean. Dust and grime tend to accumulate on wheels, which in turn spoil the show. Clean your alloys with a rag and a mild soap solution - do not use harsh or acidic cleaners as they could disfigure the finish of the wheels. Tough dirt should be removed using a slightly more abrasive cleaner.

The other thing to do is to drive your car carefully. The contradiction here is that alloy wheels are meant to be stronger and lighter than conventional steel wheels, so bad road surfaces should not worry them; but in reality most of the fancy alloys available in India are imported from Taiwan and other such places and some of these wheels do not meet stringent quality standards.

There are indigenously manufactured alloys too, from companies like Synergies Dooray and Hindalco, which may not offer a choice in designs that the imported ones do, but are a better choice in terms of quality of manufacture and resistance to cracks and deformations.

Like all normal wheels, alloy wheels need to be balanced and aligned. However, conventional weights should not be used for wheel balancing, as specific alloy weights are available. Any good tyre shop should be able to take care of the balancing and wheel alignment but this should not be ignored and should be carried out every 10,000 kilometre or as per the schedule given for your vehicle.
If you have just finished a long outstation journey, where you drove over particularly rough stretches, it would be a good idea to get your wheels checked for cracks or deformations too.

Alloy wheels are particularly well suited for the use of tubeless tyres and since tubeless tyres depend on the bonding with the wheel rim for air sealing, any change in the shape could lead to tyre deflation - not a pleasant thing to happen!

Today there are many good brands to choose from in alloys. However, do not be tempted to go in for the cheapest brand or the most fancy one as they could turn out to be the harbingers of wheel trouble. Choose function over form and do remember to take care of your wheels regularly to keep them in peak performance!

First Published: Apr 09, 2003 18:13 IST