Wheely Good Advice
by Pat Goss
There are two very popular types of wheels that your car or truck might have. First is what’s called a chrome clad wheel, which is a typical alloy wheel with a plastic insert applied to it. It’s bonded right to the alloy wheel. And of course the plastic is chrome plated. It has the advantage of being more durable than a traditional chrome wheel. Now the second type of wheel is what’s called a high spoke wheel. And that’s where the spokes, well out here at the very edge, they are taller or higher than the edge of the wheel itself. So you have to have proper equipment to work with either one of these.
Now with chrome clad wheels, one of the things you have to look for is, you have to look into the back of the wheel, you may see that the plastic is wrapped around and into the center hole. Well, because for many operations like balancing and so on, you have to use collets, you have to make sure that the collet that is used on your wheels is a shallow one like this. Now here’s a traditional one. This is a tall one, and you can see the difference. This goes into the wheel too far, hits the plastic, and cracks the plastic from the inside. Not a desirable situation.
Now, on the machine to mount the wheels, well you have to have some way to hold the wheel in place. Now an adapter like this is used on virtually all wheels. And it doesn’t hurt anything on those, but on certain chrome clad wheels, you may have a situation where the chrome plastic parts extends into a certain point where the taper on this, when it clamps down, can crack the plastic. That’s why your shop has to have a flange plate, like what we see here. Now these fingers actually go down into where the lug nuts fit, and it clamps the wheel in place that way. So there’s no possibility of damaging the plastic.
Alright, now the second thing is, with the high spoke wheels. You have to make sure that your shop has something like this Hunter machine, where it has a tall unit that goes into the bead of the tire, to remove or install the tire. Became if it’s too shallow, it’ll actually hit those tall spokes and it may damage them. So you need to have the proper equipment so ask you shop if they have these things, if you have either high spoke or chrome clad wheels. And if you have a question or a comment, drop me a line right here at MotorWeek.