Regardless of the model, year, make, design, or tech specs, one of the parts that can render your car dysfunctional and somewhat a mere expensive ornament is a wheel. After all, when the rubber meets the road, the car works smoothly and takes you from point A to B. But this will not happen if the wheel is in a bad shape.
FYI, however, the wheel is not just a single unit but a system. It is a combo of many other important components, with each performing their different roles and functions. If any of these parts gets bad, the entire wheel structure will become inactive and your car won’t move. It’s that simple. But does every car owner or driver know all the parts of the car wheel? Even you, do you? What are the names of the parts of your car wheel? How do the wheel and its parts function?
To expand your knowledge about the auto wheel and its parts, you’ll need to commit a few minutes to read my explanation. Let’s get started.
What Are The Parts Of A Car Wheel?
The main parts of your car wheel are the rim, tire, wheel hub, and wheel valve system. Others include wheel bearings, beads, drop center, wheel fasteners, barrel, flanges, outer lips, mounting humps, and others. Each of these parts has unique functions and if anyone is missing or damaged, the entire wheel system is threatened. These components consist of both driving and non-driving axles.
I will explain the four main parts since most of the sub-parts fall under the main divisions, I will explain. To start with, what is a car wheel, and how does its design look? Generally, wheels are alloy or steel-made metal parts of a car which is bolted through the axle to the wheel hub. This circular part of the car can also be made of carb fiber, as you find in some modern automobiles. Wheels are located vertically beneath your car, making the vehicle move while proving support for the vehicle to sustain heavy loads.
Even though they do not come in contact with the road, wheels are responsible for the smooth rotary movement of your car from one point to another. Their non-contact with the surface makes wheels not considered as a wear-and-tear component of the car. As a result, you can only replace –and not repair -them when you need a different size or they’re damaged.
Since its invention around 3500BC, wheels have undergone different upgrades. Although the function remains the same, wheels have taken on different styles, structures, and designs. They are an indispensable item in your car. Let’s begin to look at the various components of the car wheel.
Components Of A Car Wheel
My explanation will focus on the six main components of the wheel, namely, rim, tire, hub, and valve system. This is because every other part of the wheel is either a part of any of these four or consists of the wheel structure.
Many people, including wheel professionals, often confuse the rim with the wheel. However, they are two different parts, even though they’re inseparable. In fact, the rim is a part of the wheel and not vice versa.
What is the rim?
So, what is the rim, you may ask me? The rim of the car is the part of the wheel that the tire wraps around. When you look at the interior left side of your tire under your car, you’ll notice a skeleton. This skeletal frame is responsible for holding your tire firm in place. Now, look at the exterior edge of the skeleton. The outer edge of the frame is the rim. The rim has a cylindrical shape which helps to fasten the annular casing to the entire wheel structure.
How’s the rim constructed?
Typically, the rim is made of a sturdy metal material. Manufacturers often opt for steel or aluminum material due to its durability and strength when operating under extreme conditions. The force and load of the vehicle can cause the rims to bend if they’re not made of solid and powerful metal.
How does the wheel rim work with other wheel parts?
If you’re using tubeless tires, the space between the tire and the rim should be tight enough to keep air pressure intact inside the tire. Any little space can cause air leakage that will result in a deflated tire. The size of your car tires depends on the dimension (diameter and width) of the rim.
The rim contains a barrel that helps to create a platform on which the tire can be mounted. The inside diameter of the cylindrical rim forms the center of fall. The edges of the rim barrel are shaped into flanges. The flanges essentially help the tire to remain secure in place as you drive around.
How much does a rim cost?
There are steel rims, aluminum (alloy) rims, chrome-plated rims, and painted finish rims. The cost of each depends on the size, manufacturer, style and finish, color, make and model, and wheel type. While a steel rim might go for anywhere between $80 and $110, an alloy rim will cost between $100 and $130. A chrome-plated rim is about $150 to $300 whereas a painted finish rim can go for something in the range of $110 to $250. There is a wide range of sizes, diameters, colors, widths, and shapes you can choose from the markets. You’ll find the aftermarket auto rims in their styled and colored forms.
The tire is another important part of the car wheel. Although in some instances, I use the tire and wheel interchangeably, the context has to be properly understood. I refer to the tire as the wheel when I mean to describe the former’s circular shape.
What’s the tire?
The tire is the ring-shaped outermost casing of the wheel. This circular outer shell of the wheel is usually filled with compressed air and mounted onto the wheel structure. As a pneumatic component of the wheel, the tire makes contact with the road to facilitate smooth movement of the car from point A to B. They’re also responsible for bringing the car to rest when you apply the brakes.
What’s the tire made of?
The auto tire is a pneumatic part of the vehicle and is generally made of synthetic rubber and natural rubber. The tire can also come from fabric and wire, as well as carbon black and other chemical compounds. Some auto part manufacturers make use of fiberglass and nylon to make their tires. Although the wheel is not responsible for the wearing down of the tire, tires can experience wear over time due to constant rubbing against the terrain.
How does the tire sync with other wheel components?
Primarily, the tire is responsible for making the tire move from one point to another. It contains a tread that makes traction with the surface and a body that serves as housing for the compressed air. Besides, the tread comes with tread patterns, otherwise called grooves and notches. The pattern reinforces the friction the tire makes with the road while driving water away from getting into the wheel.
While it covers the rim, the tire also helps to prevent the wheel rim from making contact with or rubbing against the road surface. In addition, the tire serves as a cushion and helps your body to absorb the threat from bumpy terrain. Any direct contact with the ground may render the tire condemned. The tire can get deflated if there’s a leak via the stem valve system or space between the tire and rim.
How much does a tire cost?
Like the wheel rim, the tire comes in a wide range of sizes, diameters, widths, styles, designs, and specs. Hence, the prices also vary based on these factors plus the manufacturer. On average, however, you may spend up to $637 to replace the four tires. You can expect to budget in the range of $600-$800 for the two pairs.
The hub is another important part of the wheel structure without which the wheel cannot attach to the car. As a matter of fact, the wheel hub forms the centermost part of the entire wheel system.
What is the wheel hub?
Basically, the hub serves as the frame onto which the wheel itself is mounted. It’s located in the middle part of the wheel.it houses the brake rotors, brake pads, and brake calipers, and they all rest to the axle. The tire is also attached to the wheel hub with the help of the lug nut and five other bolts. The wheel hub consists of an antifriction bearing. The bearing has three parts including the inner race, the outer race, and the rolling element.
What’s the wheel hub made of?
Typically, the wheel hub is made of steel or aluminum forgings. Usually, steel is the more preferred material due to its strength and durability. It can also withstand extreme operating conditions more readily than aluminum castings. Wheel hubs are forged into their needed dimensions after they have been constructed.
How does the hub function with other wheel parts?
No other part of the wheel system will function optimally without linking to the hub. Primarily, the rim links to the wheel hub through what is called the wheel disc. In some cars, the disc can be detached from the rim. In others, the two are permanently joined, depending on the manufacturer or model of the car. The wheel is mounted on the hub’s studs. To get the wheel fitted to the car axel, the hub provides a port, otherwise called the central bore. The brake rotors constantly rest against the wheel hub to ensure proper braking when you hit the brake pedal.
How much does a wheel hub cost?
The wheel hub is one of the wheel components that won’t cause you to break the bank. On average, good wheel hub bearings will cost between $80.00 and $300.00. Since most cars today operate on a complete-unit hub bearing, you won’t have to spend much. However, you must be selective in your choice of wheel bearings. You should factor in bearing speed and load type before opting for a wheel hub.
Other important components of the car wheel
The valve system
The valve system is the point from which your car tires can get flat. The car wheel comes with a valve system that links well with the tire. The valve mechanism can determine how much of the compressed air gets out of is retained in the tire. With the vale system, you can accurately know how the pressure status of your tire. With the tire pressure monitoring system, your tires should always have enough air for your journey.
On both, either end of the barrel are ridges that surround them. These slanted-edged ridges are called the mounting humps. They are meant to essentially distinguish the surface of the beads. The slanted shape of the humps’ edge makes it easier for the beads of the tire to fit over ridges.
This article has answered the questions and provided deep insights into other things you might not know about the circular block. Suffice it to say that every car –from Ford to Nissan, relies on the wheel to work and perform. Without the wheel and tires, your car will be worthless and perhaps less worth than your kids’ Christmas toys.
My name is James. Call me your ‘Born Auto Neighbor.’ I am an auto savvy with a burning enthusiasm to help vehicle owners, auto technicians, DIYer auto caregivers, and drivers like you have a seamless time with your vehicles. Do you own or work on a Dodge Convertible, a Chevy Crossover, a Ford SUV, a Toyota Hatchback, a Honda Coupe, a Datsun MPV, or a Mercedes Sedan? I have enough automotive content to help your auto service and repair on the go.
I have been around for more than a decade, examining and analyzing car issues while proffering practical fixes that will help you spend less time and money. I take auto care, service, and maintenance very seriously and my tested experience in the industry means that you can always get the best auto tips and tricks.
Don’t fall for the auto myths; take the facts as I give them out freely.
Find out more about me here.