Wheels come in countless variations in terms of design, but when it comes to the manufacturing process, aluminum wheels are always either forged or cast. Most drivers know about this, but there is still some confusion on why forged wheels cost significantly more. What makes them so special, and are they worth it?
Even if both types use the same material, how the manufacturer makes them has a big difference in their performance levels. Read on to find out whether or not these advantages are worth the extra bucks you will have to shell out.
Forged wheels are famous for being lightweight, but incredibly durable. The complex process involves using vast amounts of heat and pressure to shape a solid hunk of aluminum. For the same shape and size, these wheels are far stronger than their cast aluminum counterparts. They have superior mechanical properties, are more resistant to breaking and bending, and tend to last for a very long time.
Premium forged wheels are the top choice for racers and drivers of high-end cars. Finding them in the United States can be a bit difficult, however, due to their exclusivity. While some of the most well-known foreign brands, such as The Fuchsfelge, now have a branch in this country, others are still import only. Still, there are enough local choices to satisfy even the most demanding drivers.
The casting process is much simpler and easier than forging, since it basically only requires pouring molten aluminum into a mold, and then letting it cool. Because aluminum is not naturally dense, this method requires a greater amount of metal to become durable enough for the road. Even then, the results are inferior to forging, and there is a greater risk of variance and impurities in the metal.
While they are not exactly prestigious, cast aluminum wheels are fine for everyday use, especially if they come from a reputable manufacturer. Even if they have a shorter lifespan, taking care of them properly can help preserve your investment.
This is another example of the age old question of quality vs. price. Only you can really determine whether or not the extra cost of forged wheels is worth it, as every driver has different needs.