Embrace the suck, they say. But frankly, we’re not fighting a war here right now, so do you really need to suffer? Look, on 9 out of 10 cars on the market, the stock wheels are pretty terrible. Let’s talk about why your stock wheels suck so hard, and how an ugly set of stock wheels is doing more than just being ugly – they’re degrading your performance too.
And now, without further adieu, why your stock wheels suck!
1. Your stock wheels suck because they’re ugly.
That’s just all there is to it – but beyond the suckage of your wheels because of their style, let me clue you in to something else. We don’t know if that’s a deliberate choice to upsell you a set of new wheels when you buy the car or whether some designer actually thought some of the hideous stock wheel designs out there were a good idea. I mean what idiot though three spokes were a GOOD idea?
2. Your stock wheels are HEAVY. Almost all OEM wheels are gravity cast or low pressure cast, with a handful of VERY RARE exceptions being offered with OEM Forged wheels (Nissan 350Z track edition got RAYS, Lancers got BBS etc…), most wheels are gravity cast. Gravity casting is a favorite of OEM manufacturers because it’s cheap, it’s flexible in terms of what designs they produce and they’re fairly strong, but the tradeoff is that they’re heavy. Because the molten metal alloy is just poured into the mold and allowed to settle by the force of gravity alone, the way the metal molecules arrange themselves is heavier and it takes more material to make a strong wheel.
“So my wheels are a bit heavy. So what?” You might be asking. Well, without getting too technical here, we’re going to explain a concept called “unsprung weight”. Unsprung weight is anything “outboard” (towards the outside) of the wheel hub – weight not supported by the suspension. The more weight that is not dampened by the suspension, the worse handling can become.
Then you’ve got another force acting on your wheels called centrifugal force – that’s caused by the wheel spinning as you roll down the road.
Full disclosure, we’re not math majors, but we’re going to do our best to explain the general idea of the physics at work.
Centrifugal force is what tries to pull you off the Merry Go Round when you spin it real fast.
As your wheel rolls down the road at 60mph, because of how fast it’s spinning, centrifugal force makes the wheel BEHAVE as if it’s 4x heavier than it is, and when you take a 22lb wheel, multiplied by 4, then multiply that by four again, the weight of all four wheels goes from 88lb to behaving as if they’re 352lb – and weight slows you down.
If you reduce the weight of your wheel to a 17lb wheel from a 22lb wheel, the overall weight is 72lbs (instead of 88), but at speed the way it behaves is more like 288lbs, a 64lb difference, or about the weight of a 6 year old. It adds up.
We offer quite a few aftermarket wheels for a variety of makes and models, and almost without exception, the aftermarket wheel will be lighter than what the car had stock. For reference, we broke down the difference between the styles of manufacturing for virtually all of the aftermarket wheels out there on the market today.
Gravity Cast – Heaviest, Least Expensive, Easiest for a Manufacturer to make Many Style
Low Pressure Cast – Heavier, Less Expensive, Stronger & Lighter than Gravity Cast
High Pressure Cast – Not Really Used Anymore, Lighter than Low Pressure Cast
Rotary Forged/Flow Form/Flow Forged – More Expensive but Results in Stronger, Lighter Wheel
Forged – Most Expensive, Lightest, Strongest
3. Your stock chrome wheels look outdated.
Nothing says “I’M NOT WITH THE TIMES!” like Chrome wheels – stock or otherwise, there aren’t many GOOD looking Chrome wheels on the market these days. Ditch any chrome wheels and avoid looking like you bought your BMW wheels from the Classic Hot Rod store.
Chrome doesn’t belong on the majority of most modern cars, don’t be the guy who puts it there. Beyond the chrome look, many stock wheels are “period”, they just look like they’re from a particular year. I can look at a set of wheels and say “That is so 1995”, “That’s 1988 status”. – wheel styles change over time and having outdated wheels tells the world you’re behind the curve.
What’s more, like the classic Pantera above proves, even if you have a classic car, newer wheels can look positively BOSS.
4. Your stock wheels limit how much grip you have and how wide of tires you can run.
Want more grip? Get wider wheels that can accommodate wider, stickier tires. Having a wider tire means each wheel has a wider “contact patch”, meaning it’s making contact with more of the road, and therefore the car has more mechanical grip.
#5 – Your stock wheels aren’t unique and don’t express who you are.
When you have stock wheels, so do thousands of other people who have your car. If you want to make your car unique, you have to change your wheels. Otherwise, you’re just going to blend in. Like for instance, let’s say you have a BMW. We’re not trying to be mean, but most BMWs and Euro vehicles are subtle colors like silver, gray, white or black – they blend in, unless you have a bold color like Imola Red or LeMans Sunset Orange or something. Do you want to disappear into the crowd like a white Camry at a Toyota dealership? If you’re taking the time to consider how your car looks to others, you probably don’t want to look like everyone else.
If you want to express your personality, changing the wheels on your car really works! Clean & classy? Keep it silver or another clean color like gunmetal. Mean & aggressive? Throw some black wheels on there! Want to turn heads? Try a custom powdercoat color like lime green, Tennis Ball Yellow, Blood Red or bronze burst! Got a light blue car? Try orange wheels for that classic “Gulf Racing” look.
As you can see just by some of the themes we explored in the last few sentences, when it comes to wheels, you have all KINDS of options to express your style and yourself. The options are only as limited as your imagination – and if you’re lacking in inspiration, consult our team of Mod Experts – tell us what styles of wheels you like and we can recommend some options that might be the wheel that says “YOU”.
Give the Mod Experts a call at 714-582-3330, we have quite a few wheels in stock and on hand in our inventory (5x120mm, 5x112mm, some 5×4.5in fitments) and can get nearly anything else nearly as quick as The Flash. We offer a wide variety of wheels to suit any taste, style and budget – and we can even help you out special ordering or having something custom manufactured if you’ve got a weirdo lug pattern, and we even are able to offer wheels for hard to find lug patterns like 5x108mm and 4x108mm (Volvo, Focus ST/RS, Fiesta ST, 4-Lug Fox Mustang, most FWD 5-lug Fords/MN12 Tbird/SHO/13+ Fusion/Ferrari/Jaguar).
Check out what we have for your car at www.modbargains.com – and by the way, we’re by no means limited JUST to what you see on the site. Fact is, we have relationships with nearly every manufacturer on the aftermarket. If there’s something you’re looking for and we don’t have it listed, let us know – odds are we can get it – and at a great price.
Here are just a few of the wheels we offer:
- Audi RS4 Wheels
- Audi Wheels
- Audi Winter Wheels
- Avant Garde Wheels
- Axis Wheels
- BC Racing Wheels
- Beyern Wheels
- BMW M3 Wheels
- BMW Wheels
- BMW Winter Wheels
- Concept One Wheels
- D-Force Wheels
- ESM Wheels
- EuroSport Wheels
- Forgestar Corvette Wheels
- Forgestar Wheels
- iForged Wheel
- Incurve Wheels
- Infiniti Wheels
- Klutch Wheels
- Linea Corse Wheels
- Mercedes Replica Wheels
- MRR Wheels
- Niche Wheels
- NM Engineering
- Porsche Wheels
- Sportline Wheels
- SSR Wheels
- TSW Wheels
- Ultra Wheels
- Vertini Wheels
- Victor Equipment Wheels
- VMR Wheels
- VW Wheels
- WedsSport Wheels
So now that we’ve established just how gawdawful your stock wheels are and how they’re robbing you of style AND performance – let’s talk about getting you on the right path with a new set. Check out our selection online, call us at 714-582-3330 or chat live with the Mod Experts at ModBargains.com
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time!
Story & Select Photos by Nick Gregson