There are very few Mag or magnesium wheels in use anymore although magnesium was the first light weight alloy used for car wheels. Today, wheels that are commonly called “Mags” are made from an alloy comprised of mostly aluminium.
The first effective use of Mag wheels was for racing; during the 1960s other materials were developed for use as die cast wheels. Pure magnesium wheels are no longer being produced in volume. Magnesium has a number of problems; the material is easy to pit, crack and corrode and when exposed to water the material actually breaks down. Another serious problem is the tendency for magnesium to ignite, in the event of a blow-out, when the wheel comes into prolonged contact with the road it can actually burst into flames and once burning is extremely difficult to extinguish, magnesium can even burn underwater.
Modern aluminium alloy wheels are far superior to the original Mag wheels, they are just as light, they are very attractive and they do not have the problems associated with magnesium. They are popular not only for the looks but as they are considerably lighter than steel wheels they tend to improve the handling characterises of the vehicle by reducing the unsprung weight. Unsprung weight is the weight of the vehicles suspension including the wheels and tires, the lighter the unsprung weight the better the car handles with the additional benefit of reducing fuel consumption.
Mag wheels are considerably more expensive than conventional steel wheels. Up until perhaps 10 years ago, alloy wheels which were fitted at the factory were reserved for high end models, today they are standard on many cars although they do tend to be rather bland. Alloy or “Mag” wheels are widely available as an aftermarket accessory as there are many car owners who wish to have wheels which are more appealing. When fitted with low profile tyres the result is better handling and performance and with the large variety of looks car owners are offered the opportunity to customise their cars to match their own personalities.
It goes without saying that Mag wheels are far more attractive than their pressed steel counterparts, but what other advantages do they have?
- They dissipate heat better which results in better braking and reduces the risk of brake failure.
- As they are light there is an increase in fuel economy
- They are far more durable, when cared for properly they will not rust or corrode.
With the huge number of designs available there is no doubt that you will find exactly what you are looking for regardless of the wheel size or bolt pattern.
There are many effective uses of Mag wheels, they enhance the looks of any car and they help to improve the handling and braking characteristics as well. For wide variety of wheels and tyres you are invited to visit Canterbury Old School Wheels & Tyres.