XXR Wheels. Style. Reinvented.
Welcome to Vamos Wheels! We’re your premier online XXR wheel store, selling the best aluminum alloy models XXR has for the lowest prices you can find. All the sets of wheels we carry here at VamosWheels.com have been hand-selected for their top quality manufacturing, their mind-blowing appearances, and continual customer satisfaction ratings. Yes! Of course we’re lumping in the XXR 527, XXR 521, XXR 526 into our lot… just to name a few. Vamos Wheels is where top performance and appearance collide so you can have one seriously sick ride!
Whether you’re new to the XXR brand, or simply want more information on these stylish, ultra-light alloy wheels, we’ve got a Buyer’s Guide below for you to help answer some of those questions you might have about them. Click through the tabs below for all the details.
About XXR Wheels
XXR Wheels (the company) has been around since 1976 – nearly dating back to the beginning of alloy wheel manufacturing itself. Their M.O. has always been straightforward and simple: build “…a high quality wheel for the grassroots car enthusiasts” (About Us). Over the years, they’ve made cutting-edge wheels for domestic cars, race cars (especially drift cars), imports, motorcycles, and truck wheels. They are (without doubt!) the king of color, quality, and style; they manufacture appearance and performance-enhancing solutions for automotive fanatics.
What Are Alloy Wheels
For most wheel options, you’ve got two primary material choices to pick from: steel or alloy. “But wait just a second (you might be thinking)! Steel is an alloy of carbon and iron. I remember my science classes from school. Why categorize steel as something else?” Fret not, friend – you are most correct; however in the world of aftermarket automotive wheels, “alloy” refers to a nonferrous (no iron) metal like magnesium or aluminum. Back in the day when men had horrid hair styles, and shamelessly sported tube socks, they, in their ignorance, used magnesium to make aftermarket wheels. These prehistoric alloys were, no doubt, lightweight and performance enhancing, but they had a couple serious issues – I bet you can guess one of them: That’s right – pitting! Without continuous cleaning and polishing, magnesium alloy wheels severely pitted from moisture which made them look like grandpa’s moth-eaten underwear.
Secondly (and this only happened on occasions with the old, primordial mags), one’s magnesium wheels could burst into a ball of hot, effulgent flames where they became nearly unextinguishable. Scary, right? That’s why we use magnesium in sparklers for the 4th of July. If this sounds like B.S. to you, feel free to watch this video of a guy roasting his magnesium wheels.
“Mags” – that’s where the term came from that we use today: from magnesium alloy. Today, 99% of the alloy wheels are made from aluminum, but they’re still frequently referred to as mags. We mention this, here, at Vamos Wheels because we know that the world is a confusing place, and we want to put your mind at ease when buying new mag wheels that they are not made out of magnesium alloy any more.
Why aluminum alloy for wheels? Why not something more futuristic than soda can metal? Well, you can buy titanium alloy wheels, too, but they’re very expensive. XXR aluminum alloy wheels, however, innovation synthesize high performance, versatility, and affordability to make an amazing product. They make some wickedly durable, beautiful wheels in a wide spectrum of colors and designs that the average car-nuts can actually afford to have without selling their organs on the black market. So let’s talk a bit more about how awesome aluminum is, and how it’s far more than “soda can metal.”
Aluminum alloy today makes for amazingly awesome wheels, and dominates steel wheels (steelies) in ductility, durability, appearance, and weight. In the early days (’60s & ’70s), these aftermarket wheels were inferior (though still non-flammable in comparison to magnesium), because archaic casting processes left the aluminum too soft and malleable. Basically, the older wheels would reshape themselves from driving conditions (i.e., speed, the weight of the vehicle, and impact). They were just crappy, expensive, lightweight wheels that didn’t last for long. However, as casting and forging technology improved, so did the aluminum alloy wheels. One such advancement in casting technology that XXR Wheels tapped into while other aftermarket wheel manufacturers were lagging behind was the process of squeeze casting.
Squeeze casting applies significant pressure to the molten metal during the curing process while the alloy solidifies in the cast. Doing so produces a rapid heat transfer resulting in a superior pore-free, small-grain bond that’s far stronger and more durable than regular casting. Squeeze casting, thus, saves manufactures money by reducing waste and time, and the savings are passed onto buyers by giving them more affordable, high-quality wheels.
Pros and Cons to All Aluminum Alloy Wheels
Hey, there’s really no perfect wheel-type yet, so there’s alway advantages and disadvantages to any kind, but we want you to know all about them, so here’s some pros and cons to consider when it comes to going with aluminum alloy wheels.
If one of your shameful past-times is to watch Chef Gordon Ramsay put his foot up some sloppy restaurant owner’s backside, then you’ve probably heard the phrase “Less is more” frequently. Similarly, this maxim applies to alloy wheels: their perks are small, but they really add up in improving appearance as well as performance. For starters, aftermarket wheels come with some serious strength. How else could such a little bit of metal handle the plus sizing people dish out on them? An additional property of the alloy’s strength is its heat efficiency that keeps the brakes running cooler and performing far better than heavy-old steelies do. If you’re into drifting, this is a must-have attribute, right? Yes – because you’re going to push that import to its limits, aren’t you? The lighter weight of the wheels also reduces the unsprung mass (bounce back), and that yields a much smoother ride with greater life extension to your suspension system. So far, that’s added protection to all of your brake components and suspension, so going with alloy wheels can save a lot of money on reduced wear and tear. Alloys also make steering and cornering better (improved grip), and the total weight reduction also improves upon gas milage. Pretty nice perks, really.
Now onto the cons. With the wider wheels comes anti-gripping issues when met with slippage conditions. This kind of stinks unless you really enjoy spinouts. Basically, the extra traction works as a double-sided sword. On good road surfaces you get better traction, but on loose gravel or really wet roads, you can plan and slide easier from the wide tire surface. Alloy wheels are also easier to scratch and damage if you happen to curb them, so really try to not do this. Most gouges and cracks on alloy wheels can be TIG welded and restored, but it’s going to cost you some significant cash (maybe more than it would to just replace the wheel). Keep dangerous driving to the tracks, not in neighborhoods with sidewalks, and your wheels should be fine. Potholes are also not kind on alloy wheels. While the wheels are very strong, hitting potholes with considerable speed can result in wheel buckling. Hitting potholes with anything besides a tank sucks anyways – we know other people know this – it’s just worse to do with alloy wheels.
Tire & Wheel Terminology
Since wheels and tires are some pretty important components to any vehicle, we thought we would lay out some terms for you, just in case you’re not overly familiar with them yet. It’s good to have a basic working knowledge of this stuff when you’re getting into aftermarket wheels in order to make your wheels work properly with your tires.
Let’s talk tire numbers first. Understanding what the little numbers and letters means on the sidewalls of your rubber buddies gives you pertinent information about compatibility.
The “P” there on the tire (about 10 o’clock) is one of the 4 possible vehicle type categories. This identification is sometimes referred to as the Prefix. In this example, we’re dealing with a “Passenger” tire.
- T = Temporary Spare
- LT = Light truck
- P = Passenger
- ST = Trailer
Immediately following the prefix are the numbers telling you the overall width of the tire (in millimeters) when mounted to the rim. The example indicates that this tire is 215 millimeters in width. Tire manufacturers provide recommended ranges for the width of wheels, and it’s very important to stick with them, or you’ll open yourself up for a lot of unpleasant, costly problems.
Right after the “slash” mark are the numbers referring to the Ratio of Height (sometimes called “Aspect Ratio”). It tells you the distance from the mounting surface of the wheel rim to the outside of the tire’s tread. This can be calculated by multiplying the tire’s section width by the aspect ratio’s percentage – for example: 215mm X 0.65 = 139.75mm (the aspect ratio).
You won’t see it in this example, but when a tire has a “Z” after the Ratio of Height, this indicates the highest speed rating available. In other words, a tire with a “Z” can handle a lot of speed. Speed ratings are posted on all tires, but they are in different places on different types, so you’ll have to look for that information carefully or ask a tire sales person.
The “R” following the Ratio of Height is the Construction Rating, and in this instance, it indicates “Radial-ply” which is common for just about anything besides a trailer tire. Occasionally, you will see a “D” for “Diagonal” instead of an “R” – these are old-fashioned bias-ply tires.
The final numbers on the tire after the Construction Type indicates the Size (the diameter of the rim in inches). This number tells you right away what size wheel is required for this specific tire. In our example, the Size is “15” which means that only a 15 inch wheel will work with it.
Backspacing: measurement from the wheel’s mounting surface to the rear lip. Determine the backspacing by measuring your current wheel and tire combo to identify the overall dimensions, then get the width from bead surface to bead surface and backspacing. Sound’s kind of wacky, doesn’t it? Sometime seeing is believing, so here’s a video:
Offset: relative distance of the hub mounting surface to the centerline. If you want your wheel to fit and operate right, it’s best to select the same offset on the aftermarket wheel as your factory wheel. That way, you’ll retain your original scrub surface too. If you mess with the scrub surface too much, you’ll need to change your suspension, and this can add quite a bit of cost to your initial project.
ET: no – not the silly, little, candy-popping alien from the movie – it’s an abbreviation for the German phrase “Einpresstiefe,” and it’s universally stamped on wheels to indicate one of three standard offset positions:
- Positive Offset: mounting face positioned forward of the wheel’s centerline. Very common for Front Wheel Drive vehicles
- Zero Offset: mounting face positioned evenly with wheel’s centerline
- Negative Offset: mounting face positioned behind the wheel’s centerline. Very common with Rear Wheel Drive vehicles
Bolt Patterns: Your vehicle’s factory wheel hub has a specific bolt/stud pattern and it follows that the wheel must match it. Believe it or not, this is one of the most overlooked requirements when people buy wheels. If the aftermarket wheel’s bolt pattern doesn’t match up to the factory hub, then they are completely incompatible.
SAE J2530: “The Society Of Automotive Engineers” gives this approval to aftermarket wheels that meets their performance requirements.
Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD): If you picture an imaginary circle that runs through the center of each of the bold/stud holes, this is basically the measurement for PCD. It’s crucial that your XXR wheel’s PCD perfectly matches your vehicle’s stock PCD.
Load Rating: Every wheel has a load rating, and this can range from 2,000 to 3,000+ pounds per wheel. When you add the load rating of each of the four wheels together, you get the total load rating for what your vehicle can bear. This is especially important for towing. Let’s say you have a 4,000 pound trailer, but you’re unsure if your wheels can handle the weight. If each of your wheels has a load rating of 2,000 pounds, and you multiply that by 4 (4 tires), then you have a total load rating of 8,000 pounds. The wheels, therefore, can handle the weight of the trailer. Hopefully your hitch and motor can, too!
Plus-Sizing: Simply put, plus-sizing is increasing a wheel’s overall diameter without increasing the circumference of the tire itself. There are pros and cons to doing this. The primary advantage is that with a wider wheel and more surface area meeting the road, you get an increase in smoothness and the effectiveness of turning. It also looks pretty amazing, too, which is why most people plus-size. The downside is that wider wheels can also cause more slide when you hit gravel or water, and they are more susceptible to bending when hitting potholes.
Additionally, there’s more to “plussing” than just “plus-size” – in fact, there is Plus-One, Plus-Two, and Plus-Three wheel sizing, and the pros and cons radically change with each choice. We recommend looking over this great resource that indicates each plus-size advantage and disadvantage.
Caring For And Protecting Your Alloy Wheels
Investing in a set of great aftermarket, alloy wheels can cost a bit of cash, so you’ll want to protect them from wear and tear – namely dangerous chemicals that can cause corrosive pitting, cracking, and etching on the surface/finish of the wheel.
Any XXR Wheel you can buy has undergone a barrage quality testing to insure extreme quality; however, even the best protective finishes (be it paint, powder coating, clear coat, chrome, etc.) are susceptible to chemical damage and require regular cleaning to stay in good condition. We’ve got some suggestions below to help you keep your wheels looking tip-top.
- Don’t ever wash your XXR wheels when they are hot. If you’ve been driving on them for awhile, let them cool down before you wash them, or else you could increase the chances of damaging your brakes and rotors.
- Use automated car washes with care. Wheel brushes and unknown soaps can harm your wheels, so if you’re a fan of letting the big, fancy machines clean your vehicle, it’s worth talking with the manager in advance to determine whether the brushes and soap are safe. It doesn’t take long, and it’s good to do.
- When washing your own wheels, it’s best to do one at a time from start to finish. Doing so reduces mineral buildup from the water, as well as residue soap. Working this way also keeps your focus and attention on the particular task so that you can catch potential issues before they occur. Blasting through everything in an automated process doesn’t usually lend to the attention to detail.
- Learn what’s laid down on your roads – especially if you live somewhere where it snows a lot. State’s typically use quasi-corrosive chemicals to melt snow and ice. This stuff is horrible on wheels! Believe it or not, so is brake dust – it’s very corrosive.
As stated earlier, we recommend washing your wheels and tires one-by-one. Pay close attention to the crevices on the rims where road grime can collect. Even if it’s not detrimental to the wheel’s finish, grime just reduces the awe of appearance. What’s the point of having nice wheels, then? Frequency for washing wheels depends on the wear they get, but it’s not uncommon at all for people to wash them weekly.
Only use automotive soap and non acidic cleaning products on your alloy wheels. Keep the wheels wet while you work to prevent any scratching.
Only use soft bristle brushes and clean, soft towels. You don’t want to use cleaning tools that are extremely abrasive and able to scratch your wheel’s finish. Also, when brushes begin wearing out, just toss them and get a new one. It’s tempting to keep using old stuff, but as the bristles wear away, that hard piece of metal or plastic stem gets closer and closer to your wheel’s surface and can make a scratch. It’s just not worth it.
Clean the lug nuts and caps on your wheels too. Brake dust can stick to everything, and it will take its toll over time against any surface. Even hitting your wheel wells is beneficial for removing brake dust, but do this first, and don’t use your nice, soft bristle brushes on them.
The benefits to polishing your XXR wheels is two-fold: first, polishing helps to remove the tarnish that builds up on aluminum, and secondly, a coat of polish acts as a protecting layer against harmful substances that you may pick up while driving on the road.
Begin by double-checking which polish is best for the type of wheel finish you have. Regardless of your finish, be sure to buy a non abrasive polish, and also be sure there is no acid in it. Some polishes on the market are cleaners and polisher in-one. Avoid these! They likely contain some sort of acid or abrasive in them. Keep your cleaning and polishing as separate processes. Our suggestions for maintaining your wheels might sound like a long and tedious process, here, but it really doesn’t take very long at all. Just resist the urge to take shortcuts with cleaning your wheels!
Apply the polish with a polishing tool to keep the coat even. Consistently apply the polish to the wheel’s surface with your tool and spread the polish around until it begins to dry and diminish.
Next, you’ll want to apply wax to the wheel as an additional protectant. This really helps against brake dust pitting. The wheels need to be completely dry before applying the wax. Use an applicator pad and apply a good quantity. That’s it! Enjoy the beautiful shine of your alloy wheels with a piece of mind knowing that they are safe and protected from harmful road grime.