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4×4 Wheel Tech

On Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Of all the parts that compose a 4×4’s drivetrain, the wheels are perhaps the most misunderstood. Many drivers choose wheels based solely upon appearance, and while looks are important, function is equally vital. If you choose the wrong wheels, you can cause safety and drivability issues. In this guide, you’ll get some tips for choosing the right 4×4 wheels online.

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Construction and Materials

Most 4×4 wheels are made from either aluminium or steel. The latter was once in favor because of its high strength and low cost, and for drivers of 4WDs, it offers one main advantage: Steel wheels bend rather than break. Aluminium is now popular as a wheel material because it reduces a vehicle’s unsprung weight, which increases throttle response, fuel economy and braking capability.

Even within the aluminium wheel community, there’s a lot of debate on the merits of forged vs. cast aluminium wheels. Forged wheels are lighter and stronger, but most 4×4 wheels sold today are cast. Forged wheels are typically more expensive, and cast wheels have greatly improved in quality and durability.


Most drivers find it easy to decide whether they want a glossy black or a chrome, high shine look, but it is easy to disregard the functionality provided by such a finish. Not only does a wheel’s finish make it look good, it dictates the level of maintenance required to keep the wheels looking new. Paint and chrome are the most common finishes for steel wheels, but choices for wheels made from aluminium are:

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Chrome –4×4 chrome rims are easy to maintain, while offering bright shine and corrosion resistance. However, low-quality chrome 4×4 wheels can chip and crack over time if exposed to the elements.

Polished – While it’s not mirror-like, polished wheels offer a bright finish. You’ll need to clean and polish them regularly to keep them looking that way.

Powder coating — You’ll have a durable finish and a variety of color choices. Powder coated wheels are resistant to scratches, pitting and corrosion, and in many cases, this finish is more affordable than a painted one is.

Clear coat – This finish got a bad reputation in years gone by, but quality clear coat resists corrosion while being easy to clean. Many modern aluminium wheels are painted with a clear coat.

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Whichever wheels you choose, you’ll need to ensure that they fit your 4×4. Measure offset by laying a ruler across the wheel’s rear edge to its mounting flange. Offset is the measurement from the mounting surface to the wheel’s center line. It can be negative or positive, and you’ll need to know this number when making a purchase. Backspacing is the distance between the wheel’s rear lip and the mounting surface. It’s easier to measure than offset is, and you can measure it yourself to make it easy to compare prices on 4WD mag wheels.

New wheels are an easy way to change the looks of your 4×4, and they’re a critical drivetrain component. Before buying, determine what backspacing and wheel size you’ll need, and ensure that the wheels’ load rating is appropriate for your vehicle and the way it’s driven. The perfect set of wheels is both functional and stylish, and by following the tips given here, you can make the right choice.

Posted in Auto Parts

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