Most people don’t really think about the wheels that come factory fitted to their cars. In fact, most vehicle owners ignore them completely and focus more on the wear their tires are experiencing.
The truth is, vehicle wheels are extremely important, and more often than not, the wheels that come standard on your vehicle are extremely heavy. The heavier a wheel, the more it hinders your vehicle’s performance. Check out the five benefits of installing lightweight wheels on your car!
1. Reduced weight
Weight is the mortal enemy of performance. Unfortunately, this concept seems to have been forgotten by vehicle manufacturers, especially considering that performance SUVs are currently taking over the world. In this world of high-performance EVs and SUVs that perform better every day, weight reduction has seemingly taken a backseat.
But the truth is that if you want a vehicle that performs amazingly well to and from the limit, mass needs to be reduced. The reduction in rotational mass is particularly beneficial when considering weight reduction. This includes your wheels, tires and brakes. The great thing about lightweight wheels is that you also reduce the weight of an object that the motor has to turn.
Getting rid of the weight of an object that the engine is actively rotating will improve your vehicle’s performance tremendously in many ways. Normal weight savings are important, but the benefits of reducing a vehicle’s rotating mass will be felt dramatically. Most parts of your car aren’t turned by the engine, but parts that do turn, like wheels, driveshaft, and brakes, affect performance drastically because your engine actively has to work extra hard to turn those parts.
Reducing the weight of these critical rotating parts saves your engine a lot of effort, and the engine will thank you. The benefit of this weight reduction has a direct positive impact on your vehicle’s performance. This can even lead to better acceleration. You can further reduce unsprung weight by also installing a lightweight brake kit in your car.
The brakes will likely perform better than the stock brakes and have weight savings over the factory units. Light brakes also reduce a vehicle’s rotational weight and, when combined with light wheels, help deliver large performance benefits. The only downside to installing lightweight wheels and brakes is that they are expensive relative to the performance gains. They might also be weaker than the heavier stock brakes, which isn’t great if you live in a potholed place.
2. Better fuel economy
If you have a vehicle with very heavy wheels and do a lot of city driving that requires constant stopping and starting, light wheels can provide better fuel economy. This is because the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to move wheels with reduced mass, especially from a complete standstill.
A vehicle’s tires are also important factors in fuel economy, so choosing tires with low rolling resistance can help you save money on fuel costs. If you want lightweight wheels, pairing them with a set of low-rolling-resistance tires can be a beneficial combination. This combination can also prove beneficial when trying to improve your EV range.
Weight reduction is generally a great way to make your car more fuel efficient. The less weight your vehicle’s engine has to lug around, the easier its job will be, potentially saving you money on fuel.
3. Better handling feeling
Weight reduction also means better handling, as the vehicle has less weight to shift from side to side when changing direction. In terms of reducing rotating mass, this also helps improve the car’s perceived responsiveness, especially when you’re constantly accelerating and decelerating on a track.
If the weight reduction between the stock bikes and the lighter units is dramatic enough, you can shave a few tenths off your lap times. The vehicle’s steering can also feel livelier, especially if your power steering isn’t in the best of shape due to the reduced weight of the wheels.
Getting a car up to speed after decelerating is easier for the engine when it has less weight to move. Braking performance can also improve, as a lighter vehicle should be easier to stop, especially if the weight reduction comes from a spinning part that the brakes are designed to slow down.
4. Appearance Benefits
One of the most underestimated benefits of lightweight wheels is the fact that you can choose the type of wheel you want for your car. When you buy a new (or used) car, wheel options are usually very limited. Often manufacturers will offer a more expensive wheel option for your car, but it’s usually just a choice and may not be the best looking wheel on the market.
The problem with wheel manufacturer selection is that they are also usually heavy, so you won’t see performance improvements by choosing the more expensive wheel. Of course, this is not always the case, as manufacturers can optionally offer lightweight performance wheels.
But even this is only a choice. When you go aftermarket, there are so many wheels to choose from that you’ll likely soon be overwhelmed by the number of choices. Choosing a wheel that you think best suits your vehicle is a great feeling. The great thing about this is that not only do you improve the aesthetics of your vehicle, you also reduce weight and potentially increase your vehicle’s performance on many fronts.
5. Change wheel and tire size
If you buy a lightweight aftermarket wheel, you can also resize the stock wheels and tires. If you want to downsize your wheel and get tires with a larger sidewall for extra comfort, you can. This is yet another way to customize your car exactly to your liking, which the manufacturer can’t quite match.
Lighter wheels can help any car
The great thing about lightweight wheels is that they can help transform any vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you own an electric vehicle or an internal combustion engine; Both use wheels. Putting light wheels on your car may not yield dramatic numbers like bolting on a turbo kit, but you will likely feel a difference in drive feel and overall behavior.
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