In this article, you will learn what are the different parts of car wheel assembly and their functions? All explained with Pictures.
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What is the Function of a Car Wheel?
Every type of vehicle, from small cars to large trucks, depends on the simplest mechanism to operate: its wheel. In recent years, cars have been modified in various bodies, designs, and sizes. Some auto parts are now ancient and have been expired or replaced with new versions.
The wheel is just a circular component intended to rotate on the axle bearing. Wheels, in conjunction with axles, allow heavy objects to be moved easily, reducing movement or transportation while supporting loads or performing labor in machines.
These wheels generate rotary motion and are liable for moving the car from one place to another. Without wheels and tires, cars and trucks would be little more than expensive lawn ornaments.
A wheel has many parts, each performing different tasks, but not everyone who drives a car knows all the parts of a car wheel. To give you a brief overview of these parts, we’ll explore the basic parts of a car wheel and tire below.
Parts of Car Wheel
Following are the main parts of car wheel:
- Wheel bearing
- Wheel rims
- Wheel hub
- Wheel fasteners
- Bolt circle
- Outer lip
- Centre bore
- Valve system
- Center cap
- Lug hole
Related Article: A Comprehensive List of Car Body Parts [Names & Functions]
#1 Wheel Bearings
Commonly used wheel bearings are antifriction bearings, which create a low-friction connection between the rotating wheels and the stationary vehicle. This type of bearings consists of three basic parts which are the inner race, rolling element, and outer race.
The main purpose of using wheel bearings is that they enable the wheels to rotate smoothly with minimum friction. Car wheels have hubs in the center where the wheel bearings fit tightly within the hub and ride on a metal axle shaft, which helps reduce friction when the wheels spin.
When choosing a wheel bearing, it must be carefully selected considering the type of load, maximum bearing speed, and where the bearing will be used on the vehicle.
#2 Wheel Rims
Rims are the most essential parts of a car wheel that act as the outer edge of the wheel, holding the tire to the wheel. The main function of the rim is to support and seal the tire to the wheel to ensure proper fitting between the tire and the rim.
It is usually made of steel and installed on the rim, and the rim is bolted to the hub. Steel rims are significantly lighter in weight and reduce the amount of unsprung weight. Modern vehicles are increasingly using rims made from materials such as aluminum, aluminum-magnesium alloy, and graphite known as custom rims.
Customized rims give your car’s wheels a colorful and unique style, but they come with an additional cost.
As everyone knows, tires are made to support the weight of the vehicle, absorb road shock, transmit traction, torque, and braking forces to the road surface, and maintain the direction of travel. Tires are made of flexible rubber and filled with compressed air to perform these functions.
They can be considered part of the suspension system. Basically, tires are covers and prevent wheel rims from rubbing or touching the ground. The main parts of a tire are the threads that contact the ground directly and wear out over time.
Threads usually have grooves and notches known as patterns. The purpose of this pattern is to increase the friction between the ground surface and the tire and to direct water and debris away from the wheel.
#4 Wheel Hub
The wheel hub assembly keeps the car wheels attached to the vehicle and allows the wheels to spin freely so the driver can safely drive. In addition, it is also important for anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and traction control systems (TCS).
It is located in the center of the wheel to which the rim is attached and also houses the brake pads, calipers, and rotors. The tires are attached to the hub, and five bolts are held in place with a lug nut from its center.
#5 Wheel Fasteners
A fundamental factor in the wheel and tire design is the way the rim is mounted on the hub or axle flange. The wheel studs are used as wheel fasteners in the hub or axle flange on every type of vehicle. These are probably threaded bolts or studs that are pressed into a hub or flange for a tighter joint.
Typically, the head of the stud is wider than the hole in the hub or flange, as this prevents the stud from coming all the way through the hole. To center the wheel appropriately, the center of the hub or flange is raised slightly and positioned at the center of the rim.
The part of the car wheel between the outboard face and the inboard rim edge is known as the barrel. The purpose of the barrel is to create a surface for the mounting of the tire. The inner diameter of the barrel is the drop center that helps to determine the mount wheel type.
In the case of front-wheel drive vehicles, the drop center is near the front of the wheel. On the other hand, in a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, there are drop centers near the rear of the wheel. The sides of the barrel are shaped to form flanges, which ensure that the tires do not slip while the car is moving.
#7 Bolt Circle
A wheel’s bolt pattern may also be referred to as bolt circle or pitch circle diameter. This is the area created by the lug bolt. The bolt circle is expressed as the number of lugs by the diameter of the imaginary circle formed by the center of the lugs.
For example, 5 lug bolt holes and a 4-inch BCD would be a 5×4″ bolt pattern. Bolt circle generally varies between the wheel and car manufacturers and makes it difficult to cross-fit wheels designed for different car manufacturers.
#8 Outer Lips
The outer lip refers to the part that will most likely collapse when a wheel hits the pothole and is the most repairable area. Technically, the lip can be bigger or deeper until it meets the face of the wheel.
A deeper outer lip is easier to damage by the impact because the spokes cannot provide as much support. The outer lip is on the outside and is measured from the face of the wheel to the edge.
Typically, a wheel flange serves as a connector that allows the vehicle’s wheels to be attached to the axle. These are mechanically locked to either the drive axle or to the end of the spindle. In addition, they are on the sides of the wheel designed to prevent the tire from slipping unnecessarily.
Wheel flanges with lug nuts have long been the standard mounting procedure for car wheels. The flanges are located on both ends of the wheel and will keep the tire held onto the wheel even in extreme conditions or uneven road surfaces.
#10 Center Bore
It is the machined opening in the center of the wheel that properly centers the wheel on a vehicle. It is important for a wheel to be hub-centric as this will reduce the chances of vibration. This is usually an empty area containing the functional space that goes over the axle and supports the weight of the car.
If the diameter of the hub collar is larger than the central bore, it will be impossible to fit the new wheels. Similarly, if the center bore is larger than the diameter of the hub, the wheel can be fitted, but an unwanted diameter difference would be difficult.
#11 Valve System
Almost every vehicle tire inflates or deflates through its valve system. The function of the valve is to keep air or nitrogen in, preventing it from escaping. Therefore, it is an important element in maintaining tire pressure and driving safely.
Typically, wheels have two valve stems for two reasons. The first is to pump in the air with a valve stem and the second is to refill nitrogen air. To put it simply, one valve stem is used to pump nitrogen while the other stem is purifying regular air.
The spokes play an important role in connecting the wheel’s rim to the plate at the center of the wheel. This is where the bolt holes and lugs that connect the wheel to the vehicle are stored. The spokes also shield the outer edge and prevent damage from minor impacts.
These spokes are available in thousands of designs. There are 5 spokes in the classic style, but there are also some that have intricate designs or as few as 3 spokes. The stability and strength of spokes vary depending on the material and design.
Read Also: Types of Car Jacks & Their Uses [PDF]
#13 Center Cap
Good quality car wheel center caps ensure that the wheel rims and tires of the vehicle are protected from dirt and sunlight. Especially for drivers who park their vehicles in the open space, these car wheel caps are a great buying option.
The center cap is at the center of the wheel where the spokes are. In some models, the center cap can be removed. However, most wheel rims do not have a removable center cap. A wheel can still be fully functional without a center cap, but it also makes the wheel look more uniform and complete.
The main purpose of tire beads is to firmly attach the tire to the outer surface of the wheel. This is done by using the pressure of the wires to mold the rubber firmly into the frame of the wheel. Beads are also part of the wheel that will transfer energy.
If the beads are damaged, the energy can transfer awkwardly and cause the entire vehicle to shake, especially at high speeds. Beads are important because they create an airtight seal against the wheel and allow for a more efficient transfer of forces as the car is moving.
#15 Lug Hole and Nut
The lug hole is usually machined to form a bolt circle on the center disc. These are the holes into which the lug nut is bolted. Lug holes are usually the empty spaces covered by the center cap. The lug holes form a bolt circle with a diameter called the bolt circle diameter.
The lug nut fits into the lug hole to fasten the wheel hub to the threaded wheel stud on the vehicle’s axle, securing the wheel in place and centering it properly on the axle. It is a type of nut fastener with a round or conical (tapered) end.
As we said, the car parts that have always been in use are the wheels. These circular systems generate rotary motion and are mainly responsible for moving the car from one point to another. Hence, wheels are an essential part of any automobile.
Now, I hope I’ve covered everything you were looking for about “Parts of Car Wheel”. If you still have any doubts or questions regarding this topic, leave a comment below I’ll definitely reply. If you liked it, then share this with your friends.
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