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Aftermarket vs. Factory Wheels – Which Perform Best on Your Car?

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Lexus, BMW, Infiniti and other luxury brand vehicles are gorgeous, high-performance machines that do more than merely transport drivers and occupants from place to place. Rather, they elevate the experience of driving and riding—and in doing so, they build and nurture bonds between owners and brands.

As beautiful as your vehicle is when you drive it off the dealership lot, it’s entirely possible to make it even more striking through a variety of enhancements. One of the most common ways that owners do this is by customizing their wheels with a wheel finish or coating. As wheel customization has grown increasingly popular among luxury vehicle owners, an array of aftermarket wheel coating companies have sprung up to serve this desirable market.

At Wheel Craft, we focus on one thing, and one thing only: Delivering the highest quality, most beautiful and most durable hand-crafted finishes for BMW, Lexus, Infiniti and other luxury-brand original equipment (OE) factory wheels.

Our custom wheel finishes are designed specifically for original factory wheels. And like the term implies, factory wheels are designed specifically for the vehicles in which they’re installed. That’s an important fact to remember if you’re considering customizing your wheels.

Why? Automotive manufacturers invest considerable time, money and testing to ensure a perfect fit between wheel and chassis. In fact, the cost of developing a new vehicle traditionally starts around $1 billion—and it can rise to $6 billion or more if that car involves designing an all-new platform, engine and transmission.

In speaking to the complexity of car design, Bruce Belzowski, Assistant Research Scientist at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, was once quoted as saying: “You're looking at hundreds of thousands of parts that have to work every time you turn the key and every time you press the accelerator and every time you press the brake. And they have to do it for about 15 years. And they also have to pass all the government inspections.”

Given all this, which wheels perform best on your car? At Wheel Craft, we think the answer is obvious. Original factory wheels are the only sure choice; installing aftermarket wheels is basically a roll of the dice, which we don’t think is a wise bet. After all, why would you turn your back on wheels that have been painstakingly designed to pass inspection and meet stringent quality criteria in favor of aftermaket wheels that weren’t designed specifically for your vehicle, didn’t have to meet government standards and weren’t necessarily subject to government inspections?

There isn’t a logical answer we can think of—particularly when you consider the array of gorgeous ICE finishes we offer, from the bold and beautiful gleam of Black ICE and Bright ICE, to the sultry sophistication of Midnight ICE or racy Matte ICE.

But the case for retaining original factory wheels on your vehicle goes even deeper than that.

For custom car wheels, traditional PVD chrome providers, as well as powder coat companies, use thick coatings (sometimes as thick as the width of a penny) which are simply layered onto wheels. The wheels themselves are “roughed up” a bit to make adhesion of the first layer of coating possible—and it takes a lot of coating material to achieve an acceptably smooth surface. Consequently, the thickness of that coating, combined with the fact that it sits atop the wheel (and doesn’t truly bond with it), makes these types of coatings much more susceptible to chipping and peeling.

At Wheel Craft, our exclusive ICE ultra-thin film technology connects with the fiber of the underlying alloy; it ties right to it, as opposed to a coating that merely sits on it. Moreover, our ICE finishes are no thicker than a piece of paper, which creates an inseparable bond across the entire surface of the wheel. This protective glove provides ultimate protection from the damaging elements mentioned earlier.

We hope this blog helps you understand why choosing ICE ultra-thin film finishes specifically designed for original equipment wheels is a much better decision than opting for aftermarket wheels or traditional wheel coatings. If you’re looking to Arrive in Style wherever the road takes you, visit wheelcraft.com or contact us for more information on our custom wheel and rim finishes for factory luxury car wheels. For dealers, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how Wheel Craft can deepen customer loyalty and drive unit sales, productivity, revenue and CSI.

Please contact Wheel Craft at 833.639.4231 or email Ed Hollinshead, company President.

Topics: Custom Wheel Finishes, Aftermarket Wheel Coating

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