All You Need To Know About Wheels


The term “mag wheel” first emerged in the early 1960s and then kind of just hung around. It is quite popular even today, though not in a technical sense: cars with any kind of fancy-looking wheels and rims are said to have “mag wheels”. So what exactly are mag wheels? How are they made? Are they suitable for all kinds of cars? Here’s the low-down on mag wheels, and all you need to know about them.

What is a Mag Wheel?

The “mag” in “mag wheel” refers to the lightweight magnesium metal alloys out of which wheels of cars used for racing, and less commonly for passenger cars, are made. They are also known as alloy wheels, but this can be misleading as the term usually refers to non-ferrous alloys and hence alloys like steel are not included in this category, even though steel actually is the most widely-used substance in wheel production.

What Are They Used for?

The particular advantage of mag wheels and rims lies in the fact that they are as strong as steel while being extremely lightweight. They are, thus, a common fixture on sports cars and bikes especially because they greatly enhance the look of your ride. Mag wheels reduce what is known as “unsprung weight” in cars: the total weight of every part in the car that is unsupported by its suspension, including the wheels themselves. The lowering of this weight is essential in racing, as it offers faster acceleration, smoother braking due to better heat dissipation, and improved traction, as well as making the car more responsive to track surfaces. The decreasing of the vehicular mass also helps in fuel conservation.

Other than sports, the shining surfaces, sleek design and aesthetic finesse that are characteristic of wheels make many a car enthusiast swoon. They are thus popular aftermarket equipment. But they are less popular for common vehicles, although many passenger cars throughout the 1960s continued to use them.

How Are They Made?

Nowadays, mag wheels include aluminium and zinc as the other primary metals. Zirconium, copper and silicon- yes, you read that right!- might also be used. The forging is a one-step process that creates alloys with higher ductility and strength, and, inescapably, of a higher price! Other methods include High Pressure Die Casting where molten aluminium is poured into mold cavities under high pressure. This results in cheaper but more brittle wheels. Low Pressure Casting and Gravity Casting offer better results.