There are so many terms that are thrown around in the vehicle industry, that sometimes it’s hard to know what they mean to the average vehicle owner, such as the term ‘forged wheels.’
While you’ve probably heard the term forged wheels before, you may be curious as to what it actually means? If you’d like to find out, keep reading this article to learn more!
What Are Forged Wheels?
Forged wheels are wheels formed out of a chunk of aluminum that is heated to a certain temperature to allow a huge pressurized stamping machine to shape the wheel into one finished piece. Forged rims are 25-percent lighter than steel rims and 3 times stronger than cast rims, which are molded instead of forged.
If you’d like answers to what forged wheels are, why they’re different from other wheels and more, read on to find out the most important things you need to know about forged wheels!
What’s The Difference Between Forged And Cast Wheels?
Forged wheels are made out of a solid block of aluminum, which is heated to a high temperature and then pressurized into a shape by a large press machine. Afterward, a design is machined into the wheel for the final product.
The outcome of the forging process creates a stronger wheel than casted wheels and they are also comparatively lighter than cast wheels.
In contrast, cast wheels are formed by pouring liquid aluminum or steel into a mold that is shaped like a wheel. After the liquid cools, the wheel is then machined for design and final shape.
Overall, the cast process is a lot cheaper than the process of manufacturing a forged wheel, which may be why most vehicles from factories will have cast wheels, while forged wheels are usually bought aftermarket by car enthusiasts or for racing purposes.
Do Forged Wheels Crack?
Forged wheels can crack, but that doesn’t automatically mean they have to be replaced, as this will depend on how bad the crack actually is.
There are many companies that will fix a crack in forged wheels for a reasonable price, making your wheel as good as new.
However, you should not drive for very long with a cracked wheel, as the crack is bound to get bigger the longer it’s driven on, which could cause drivers to get into accidents.
Therefore, the best thing to do is have your wheels checked when you take your vehicle in for inspection, and a technician can look behind the wheels when the vehicle is on a hoist.
If you suspect you might have a crack in your wheels due to you hitting a hard surface such as a curb, parking block, etc, don’t just assume you don’t have a crack because you can’t see it.
Instead, take the wheel off and inspect it or take your vehicle in to have an expert inspect it.
How Are Forged Magnesium Wheels Made?
Forged magnesium wheels will be manufactured either by the forged method or the casting method, as magnesium has several properties that are very attractive to wheel builders and enthusiasts.
Magnesium is another lightweight material that has a high damping factor and a high strength to weight ratio rate.
Magnesium is about 1.5 times less dense than aluminum, which helps designers build a rim that is significantly lighter than alloy aluminum while still exhibiting close to the same type of strength.
Who Are The Manufacturers Of Forged Racing Wheels?
There are many companies that sell forged racing wheels, but there are very few brands that have the manufacturing abilities to create them.
If you’re out shopping for a set of forged racing wheels, however, it’s recommended that you stick with brands that are well known.
The process of forging wheels is not something a mom-and-pop shop can do correctly. Rather, stick to brands such as Brembo, BBS, OZ Racing, Forgeline, SMW, and other similar brands that have a good reputation.
It’s hard to tell the difference by eye and feel, so don’t purchase a seemingly great deal unless you’re confident in the quality of the wheel that you’re planning to buy and have done the proper research.
What Are The Different Types Of Forged Wheels?
You will find that forged wheels come manufactured in two different ways: the wheel is either forged from one piece of aluminum (a one-piece wheel), or are modular forged wheels.
Modular wheels usually consist of two or three different pieces that are forged separately, and the final product is held together by bolts.
This process is usually reserved for one-off types of wheels and they are handcrafted together, and are more expensive than regular forged wheels.
Are OEM Wheels Cast Or Forged?
Whether an OEM wheel is cast or forged depends on the vehicle and trim status of your ride. If you have an average vehicle, then most likely you have cast wheels, as the process of casting is easier and cheaper for car companies to mass-produce OEM wheels.
However, if you have a specialized vehicle such as a Corvette, a high-end Cadillac, or a similar special edition high-end car, these vehicles will likely have forged OEM wheels.
If you’re unsure what kind of OEM wheels you have, you can always check with a dealer, as a quick VIN number check will confirm whether your wheels are forged or not.
How Do I Tell If My Wheel Is Forged?
There is no real way to tell the difference between a cast and forged wheel just by looking at them.
However, you can probably find a stamped “Forged” or “Cast” imprint on the back side of the rim of your wheels.
However, if you can’t locate an imprint, you can always try to find out the brand of the wheel and call the company for the info you are looking for.
If you have OEM wheels, you can head to a dealer that sells such vehicles and ask a sales or service representative for assistance.
To know more, you might also be interested in reading up on what are wheel locks, what are wheel adapters, and what are wheel weights.
Forged wheels are wheels formed from aluminum that is heated to a high temperature to allow a pressurized stamp machine to form the shape of the wheel.
The process of making forged wheels is more complicated than standard wheels, thus making forged wheels more expensive, and are generally only added to vehicles that are used for race car driving or that come from a high-end brand.