Steel rims

Steel rims, due to their low cost and simple design, are used in many cars and other wheeled vehicles.. They are usually included in the cheapest standard equipment of many passenger car models..

Often steel wheels look too simple and undemanding compared to more expensive light-alloy siblings. – aluminum or magnesium rims. Therefore, they are often supplied with plastic caps., which often imitate cool and fancy spoke alloy wheels.

First car wheels / rims

The very first car wheels were made of wood and looked like the wheels of railway cars.. With the increase in speeds and loads, there was a need for wheels from more durable materials and structures.. Near 1900 years the first spoke wheels appeared. Their original design included a steel hub and countless steel spokes., which connected the hub to the rim. The advent of steel wheels coincided with the invention of inflatable tires, which ensured the elastic interaction of the car with road defects and provided greater comfort to the driver and passengers. The design of steel rims has remained practically unchanged for almost a century - except that the steels and their manufacturing technologies have changed..

permanent wheelPicture 1 - Steel stamped wheel, 1910 year (source - autosteel.org)

stalnoe-spicevoe-kolesoPicture 2 - Spoke steel wheel, 1920 year (source - autosteel.org)

Competitors of steel rims – alloy wheels

Innovations in rims concerned primarily materials - instead of steel, light metal alloys began to be used in them., basically, aluminum. Aluminum rims are made by two methods - casting and forging-stamping.

Cm. more details:
Forged aluminum rims
Cast aluminum rims
Aluminum rims

Features of steel wheel rim

Each rim, anyway, has three structural elements: hub, spokes and rim. Sometimes they bizarrely transition into each other or absorb each other.. A steel rim usually consists of two or more separate sheet steel parts, which are connected by welding, riveted or bolted. Therefore he, sure, heavier, than aluminum and, especially, magnesium, wheel rim of the same dimensions. This makes it less fuel efficient., slower when accelerating and more difficult to maintain.

If the steel rim is not monitored or painted, then it will rust and from this it is more likely to bend or warp. The main advantage of steel discs over aluminum ones is their low cost.. This one, in fact, and gives then, that they remain popular with both manufacturers, and drivers.

stalnye-diskiPicture 3 - Steel rims with 1935 by 1980 year (source - autosteel.org)

Summer - aluminum, in winter – steel

Many car owners, especially rear wheel drive vehicles, prefer to have two sets of wheels - one set of light alloy - aluminum – with high quality summer tires, and steel wheel set with winter tires. Since steel rims are durable and relatively cheap in winter, they are often used with winter tires.. In harsher winter conditions, steel rims provide the best value for money on snow, ice and roads, sprinkled with salt without fear of damaging the beautiful surface of aluminum disc wheels. The steel wheel on many cars is used as a spare complete with a tire, even if the car usually has alloy wheels.

Besides, understandably, steel rims lower the center of gravity of the car and from this driving a car becomes more like driving a tank. Obviously, that in the summer it is completely undesirable. However, this can be a significant physical and psychological benefit in winter.. Heavier wheels make the tires bite into the snow, which makes the car more manageable on a snowy road, and the feeling of additional rigidity and heaviness of the machine, say, gives the driver confidence on snowy and slippery roads.

sovremennыe-stalnye-diskiPicture 4 - Modern steel rims (source - autosteel.org)

Manufacturing of steel rims

Steel rims are made from sheet steel. The path from the steel sheet to the finished rim is quite long.. That element first, which includes the hub and spokes, his then, by the way, and is called a wheel disk in foreign literature, and rim, made separately, different technological processes.

Wheel rim (still without rim) made of sheet steel, which is supplied in bays, using the technology of deep heading in several operations of forming and piercing. The rim is made on a separate production line also from sheet steel in coils. The coil is unwound and cut into blanks. Each workpiece is bent and welded into a round "barrel". This "barrel" is then profiled on special machines, to create the familiar wheel rim profile. On the assembly line disc (hub and spokes) pressed into the rim and spot welded to each other. The finished wheel rim is checked for compliance with quality requirements and then applied to its surface protective and decorative painting or coating.

Thickness of sheet steel in rims

Sheet steel thickness, which is used for the manufacture of rims, depends on the purpose of the product, its size and steel grade. The usual thickness of steel sheet for passenger car rims is 3-4 mm, and a little thinner in the rim, in the disk - slightly thicker. In large rims for, say wheeled tractors, sheet thickness can reach, say, to 6,5 mm. On the other hand, the use of "tricky" alloy steels allows you to reduce the thickness of the steel sheet in the wheel rims somewhere down to 1,4 mm.

Sheet steel grades in rims

Until the 80s of the last century, almost all steel discs were made from low carbon steels., such as steel 10 and steel 15, and the steel grades in the rim and disc are slightly different. Currently, many steel rims continue to be made from low carbon steels. At the same time, the number of steel rims from low alloy steels, such as 10YUA, 15ЮА, 08GSUT(F), 07ГФЮ. In a limited number, steel discs are also made from alloy steels.

Steel rims – the cheapest

Steel rims are usually almost half the price of aluminum ones., which gives an additional reason to have them as a second set.