1. International Driver's License
  2.  / 
  3. Blog
  4.  / 
  5. Car wheel upgrade
Car wheel upgrade

Car wheel upgrade

The car crowd is so numerous today that every car owner strives to stand out from it, using not only the brand, model and color of the car. The easiest way to make your car individual and irresistible is tuning, which begins with wheels. As you know, the wheel consists of a tire and a disk, so the modernization begins with one or the other, and sometimes the design of both the disk and the tire is changed, that is, the entire wheel is upgraded. Here we’ll tell you about the most popular ways to properly tune wheels and recommendations that professionals follow when improving car wheels.

Tuning rule #1 – “do no harm”

Before you start improving the wheels or their parts (tires and disks), you need to know that the warranty car doesn’t accept changes in the chassis. Therefore, the car under warranty is subject to tuning only with the dealer’s permission, otherwise modernization outside the requirements of the operating instructions is considered as a reason for refusal of the warranty. But even if everything is done in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, the car owner may be faced with difficulties of certifying disks and tires. Before tuning made by yourself, you should consult with professionals – is it possible that the improvements resulting from tuning will finally cause difficulties with driving safety? For example, handling may deteriorate, there will be instability to aquaplaning, the load on the suspension, the unsprung weight, and fuel consumption will increase… Whether the above is worth improving the appearance of the car with the help of a wheel upgrade is up to the car owner.

Tuning rule #2 – don’t change the outer diameter of the wheel

There are standard and non-standard disks. In order to avoid breaking the car’s factory settings, especially the gear ratio, when changing the wheel size, it’s recommended not to allow the AU transformation (one turn of the wheel) by more than 1.5 percent up and more than 2.5 percent down. When increasing the diameter of the disk, you must strive to ensure that the outer diameter of the wheel assembly remains unchanged.

On the one hand, it’s not difficult to determine the wheel sizes that are suitable for tuning. It would be that way if all tires were the same width. But the standard size range meets the postulate “lower profile – wider tire”. Therefore, this is where the main difficulties arise. First, not every wide tire, without changing the disk offset, can fit in the arch without problems. It is fraught to change the offset within large limits. Second, you need a disk of the appropriate width. The geometric parameters of the tires – offset, rim width, diameter – must correspond to the parameters of the wheel disks and not violate national standards.

Wheel upgrade options

Most often, wheel disks are changed, less often – tires (for low-profile tires with aggressive tread). Stylish disks make the car recognizable and attract attention. Standard disks, as you know, are gradually losing their appeal – the car is operated in different weather and road conditions. In addition, disks are initially made in different technologies – they are stamped, forged and alloy, and depending on the model, they look simple and modest, or modern and refined. Therefore, different tuning can be applied to disks made using different technologies. At the same time, all types of disks are perfect for car tuning with skillful handling. Among the most common methods of modifying the appearance of disks today are: plugs, painting, chrome plating, immersion printing, incrustation, flanging techniques, lighting, installation of spinning caps, rim hoopers, and so on.

Original plugs are preferable for tuning. This ensures a presentable appearance. The solution to install plugs is the easiest, the least expensive and simple way to tune wheels. However, even this type of tuning can smooth out the unattractive design features of the wheel.

Painting of wheels provides the car owner with almost unlimited possibilities in choosing a color. This can be a color that is relevant to the body tone, in a matte or glossy version. It can be a bright neon color (preferred by sports car owners). It can be a mirror coating – this effect is created by chrome plating. It’s not difficult to perform such type of wheel tuning as immersion printing (aquaprint, wet printing, hydrographics, water decoration), or special technology for applying various 2D or 3D images – drawings, photos, graphics – to the surface of disks.

Incrustation of wheels is becoming more popular, although more often this type is preferred by females who drive luxury cars, as well as media personalities and VIPs. The use of precious and semiprecious stones for wheel incrustation is considered the height of perfection, luxury and exoticism. Incrustation is made with semiprecious stones (Swarovski crystals). Of course, crystals are attached by high-level professionals, otherwise such tuning is extremely short-lived. Wealthy owners also don’t neglect precious metals to decorate wheels of the car, because this is about еpatage. Authentic tuning directions reflect the financial and taste preferences of the car owner. 

The method of disk flanging is used if there is a motivation to increase the width of the product. Flanging is an increase in the width of the wheel disk by cutting individual elements and welding additional ones. Such an upgrade of the wheels of a domestic or foreign car allows you to make brutal wide wheels that change the car’s appearance. In combination with other appearance changes, this modification looks impressive and doesn’t go unnoticed by others. However, flanging increases the traction of the chassis with the road surface. The probability of a roll-over during a skid is reduced. These positive aspects, however, are balanced by the appearance of negative ones – the disk flanging increases the weight of the car, determines the rapid wear of suspension elements due to increased load, and requires the purchase of special wide tires. In addition, self-flanged tuning wheels are difficult to make (you need experience working with metal and welding skills), and traffic police officers often perceive flanged wheels as a reason to require registration of changes to the design of the car. It is not limited to the flanging, such disks are further painted or pasted with film, bright and non-standard bolts are put on them, they are decorated with lighting, etc., that is, a comprehensive upgrade is obtained.

Lighting on the wheels helps to highlight the car in the traffic flow. Cars with such improved wheels look especially impressive in the dark. In addition, a large range of colors and shades allows you to use your imagination in full force. For lighting, neon tubes (if the financial capacity is sufficient) or LED strip (if the car owner is less well-off) are used. Such lighting can be wired and connected to a car battery. But you can also make a wireless one that will be charged from solar energy.

Installation of spinning caps allows you to achieve the effect of movement on unmoved wheels or such an optical illusion of perception, when it seems that the wheels are rotating (although the car is standing). This visual illusion is caused by attaching a hub with a bearing to the cap. It is fixed to the standard car hub through conventional wheel mounts. Therefore, you can make such an unusual product yourself, since spinning caps are expensive. That is, the disk with the spinner consists of decorative and main parts, which are fastened together by rolling bearings.

Installing hoopers for the rim improves the appearance of the wheels and protects them from damage when rubbing against an obstacle. Hoopers come in various colors and shades – the range is wide – and are sold in many car shops. They are made of synthetic materials (thermoplastic elastomer). Some car owners make them themselves from rubber hoses and bands. Hoopers are not glued, they are weather resistant, supple and elastic. To maximize the service life of this accessory, the wheels must be balanced. Tuning with hoopers perfectly protects the rim from contact with an obstacle, since this protection takes all the damage, and the car owner is not afraid to rub against the next kerbside/curb. Expenses for upgrading with hoopers are not high, since their cost is low.

Cars with wheel upgrades also need drivers who have a documented proof of the right to drive them (preferably international). If you haven’t yet obtained a driver’s permit of this level, we invite you to quickly and easily process the international driver’s license on our website.

Please type your email in the field below and click "Subscribe"
Subscribe and get full instructions about the obtaining and using of International Driving License, as well as advice for drivers abroad