New wheels, what are my options?
They old saying rings true, “The shoe makes the person.” The same applies to our vehicles. The options are vast when it comes to wheels. What are the pros and cons of purchasing new wheels and do you want to style your OEM wheels? This short explanation will leave you better prepared to make a decision tailored to your needs.
Although there are many options, we will dial-in on current stylistic changes that range from an updated look on existing wheels to tips on acquiring new wheels. First, you’ll have to answer a few questions:
· Do you like the look of your OEM wheels?
· Do you like the current color?
· Are you influenced by what is in style? The current trend is a matte black or gloss black. For instance, chrome used to be all the rage and now chrome has lost its appeal.
· Are you looking for a more exotic color of wheel?
If you like the current style of your wheel and you want to change the color, there are a couple of favored options. If you chose to go for new wheels, there are a few facts that will help you make an educated selection.
The best use of paint on OEM wheels is to stay away from using paint on large surface areas facing road hazards and to use paint on smaller areas such as specialty styling options on the inside spoke areas with less problematic results. Paint does have setbacks to be aware of when considering your options, custom work is all about choosing the right tool for the job to get the most bang for your buck. Painted wheels are not recommended when the wheel is exposed to road use, the first rock chip can cause a fracture which will chip the paint off. If you are set on selecting paint as an option to stylize your wheels, make sure to use on smaller areas of the wheel and not as a large surface area solution.
Plasti dip is the least expensive and least invasive option to stylize your wheels. Plasti dip is a rubber polymer coating that is usually applied with a spray can. The good news is, that if it is applied properly, then it is 100% removable when you want to re-stylize your wheel. The bad news – and its big – the product is not durable and is not chemically resistant. The moment gasoline or tire shine touches this product it will immediately reverse the application. If you need to change a tire it is almost certain your tools will rip open the product. It is for these reasons, unless an immediate reversal is in the near future (i.e. temporary for a car show) this is not a recommended product for a long-term solution. Unlike paint, it will not facture as the polymeric structure will stay intact even if it is ripped or damaged in specific areas.
Powder coat is science in action and a strongly recommended option to update the look of your wheels. The first step in any decent powder coat process is to chemically strip the current coating. After the coating and contaminates are cleaned away the wheel can start from near factory scratch settings. The second step is an aluminum oxide blast to give the wheel a very slight etch for coating adherence. Without going into the complete science of the process, electric current is used as a means of attracting powder particles PERFECTLY to every square inch of the part to be coated. After the powder is applicated the wheels are then baked to allow the polymeric structures to heat up and bond. This is the most durable way to style the wheel and a favorable option for the longevity of your wheel styling.
Powder coat can be found in almost any color of the rainbow and can also be completed in a range of finishes. It does not have to be matte black! Gloss and satin are available options. Beware that not all powder coaters applicate the same, if your local powder coat shop specializes in fence posts they most likely do not take the time and attention that is needed on a high end automotive wheel. Many industrial styles do not have skilled automotive technicians and chemical strip processes as part of their procedure process. In short not all powder coat is the same.
Choose any wheel, style, size or option you would like as there are a surplus to choose from. One fact to remember, manufactures spend tireless amounts of time and effort to perfectly formulate a wheel and tire option to their vehicles. Any time you go away from the OEM setup you will most likely lose some form of ride quality and maybe even safety precautions. The bigger you go in wheel size, the more this is affected. To dust off an old chestnut “too much wheel the ride is too hard” you’ve got to pay to play.
There is a multitude of options to choose from – select any wheel style, size or option.