Billet wheels are often talked about throughout the auto industry, and while many believe they know exactly what a billet wheel is, the word is often used incorrectly or in the wrong context.
So, what are billet wheels, and what differentiates them from other wheels? If you’d like to find out, keep reading this article to learn the answer to this and other related questions!
What Are Billet Wheels?
Billet wheels are generally two-piece wheels that are formed out of a chunk of aluminum, and are completely milled out by CNC machines giving consumers more configuration options such as different back-spacing, different lug nut configurations, and one-off design patterns.
If you’d like to learn more about the difference between billet and forged wheels, if billet wheels are stronger than other wheel types and more, continue reading this article to gain more interesting facts and tips!
What’s The Difference Between Forged And Billet Wheels?
Forged wheels are manufactured by using a chunk of aluminum and heating the material to a certain temperature and then using an industry-standard press to smash the wheel into shape.
In contrast, billet wheels are designed by having a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine carve out the whole shape and design.
The billet wheel making process doesn’t use liquid material like casted wheels, and the process doesn’t require the use of pressing machines, such as forged wheels do.
Additionally, billet wheels are usually quite a bit stronger and offer consumers more customization options than other wheel types.
Which Is A Stronger Material, Cast Or Billet?
While cast wheels are more common than billet wheels, they are often considered to be the weakest form of material in the wheel-making process.
Cast wheels are cheaper, quicker, and easier to make than billet wheels, which is why they are the most common type of wheel for a vehicle.
What Are The Advantages Of Billet Wheels?
Billet wheels offer a number of different advantages, but the main ones are as follows:
Billet wheels can give your vehicle a more unique look and can make them stand out from the crowd. As well, you can get billet wheels in a number of different finishes including polished and unpolished.
Another advantage to billet wheels is that they can be manufactured to fit just about any type of project, whether you need special wheels for a custom fender design or you need wheels to clear an upgraded brake system.
Billet wheels are oftentimes stronger wheels but at the same time lighter wheels than their competition, which can help in quickening acceleration, braking, and possibly cause less strain on your suspension.
Better Brake Cooling
Billet wheels are great at conducting heat, which improves heat dissipation from your brakes, which can ultimately save your rotors from warping and your pads from crystalizing.
What Are The Drawbacks To Making Billet Parts?
Billet wheels have to be completely milled from a CNC machine, which makes the process extremely long and therefore quite expensive.
As well, most billet wheels are one-off designs that have to be specially ordered, which creates more of an inconvenience than if you just requested standard cast wheels.
Who Is The Largest Manufacturer Of Billet Specialty Wheels?
Although Boyd wheels were the first billet wheels to be created and marketed to the automotive industry, Performance Plus Tire is currently the largest supplier of billet wheels in the United States.
Performance Plus Tire is one of the hot rod industry’s most recognizable names and has over ninety wheel designs, in addition to the custom wheel orders that they fill.
Why Is A Billet Compressor Wheel So Popular?
The billet compressor wheel has been popping up all over the place, as casting something in small batches is not generally worthwhile.
In contrast, billet compressor wheels are great for one-off prototypes or small batches of parts.
For example, the turbocharger billet wheel will be much stronger than the cast wheel because the manufacturer would be able to remove material around the roll without weakening the wheel.
However, since the compressor wheel doesn’t take much of a beating (they essentially spin on bearings while being pushed into motion by exhaust air) their need for strength isn’t as crucial.
Why Are Billet Wheels So Expensive?
Since a lot of billet wheels are one-off designs, you might find yourself paying a lot more money than if you purchased standard cast wheels.
However, the best way to get a good deal on billet wheels is to look toward a wheel that is mass-produced from billet wheel manufacturers, which may enable you to save some money when making your purchase.
To learn more about wheels, you can also see our posts on what are wheel hubs, what are wheel cylinders, and what are wheel bearings.
Billet wheels are the only wheels that are completely designed and manufactured from a CNC process, and are not made from liquid metal like standard cast wheels are.
Billet wheels are popular due to the level of customization options available for consumers. Additionally, billet wheels are much stronger than cast wheels, though they are more expensive than standard wheels.