Strictly speaking; we are talking about automobile wheels made from a magnesium alloy – wheels are made as a complete unit from a single piece of metal. Until the late 50’sand early 60’s; pressed steel was favored by automobile manufactures for most mass produced vehicles. These wheels are naturally rather boring in shape so they would normally be hidden from sight behind a clip on cover (mistakenly; but, popularly known as a hub cap). By the way, the center of a wheel is its hub and the outer circumference is its rim.
Making Cars More Eye Catching
People who race cars are constantly aware of a vehicle’s power to weight ratio; which means that it takes more power to make a heavy car go faster. Anything that reduces the car’s weight without compromising its driving safety can assist in winning races. Naturally, heavy steel wheels came under scrutiny. Spoked wheels were some help; but many racers opted for substituting a lighter magnesium alloy for the heavier steel in their wheels.
Die cast magnesium alloy wheels proved a success and the public at large began to want them for their normal road cars. Note; the whole wheel is referred to a “mag wheel” (it is not just a mag wheel rim welded to some other metal – although many enthusiasts do call the whole unit a rim). Today, aluminum has largely replaced magnesium as the base metal of choice for alloy wheels; but popular parlance still talks about mag wheel rims.
Unfortunately, wheels in either alloy are always more expensive than standard pressed steel wheels. For this reason; pressed steel wheels are still standard on lower cost economy vehicles while the “fancy” alloy wheels sometimes called “mag wheel rims” are usually only found on higher priced vehicles. Some manufacturers do offer mags as an optional extra; while other buyers prefer to go for the aftermarket wheels to seek amore unique design appearance with which to customize their car.
Expensive But Easily Scarred
The plastic wheel cover is not expensive to replace should it become damaged. However, any mag wheel will be a major cost item should it require replacement.
High impact wheel damage can sometimes be repaired but this is specialized work not suited to the average DIY car owner. However, the driver of a car fitted with Mag Wheel Rims is more likely to suffer regular minor damage. It has happened to just about all of us who drive; we are drawing up alongside a raised curb and our wheels scuff up against the curb.
This invariably scratches or scrapes the rim of an alloy wheel leaving an unsightly scar. Fortunately, there is a product on the market that will protect our investment in alloy wheels by attractively covering that portion of the rim with a shaped polymeric strip that can withstand curb scrapes. These strips can even be used to cover existing scrapes.
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