Wheel Testing Capabilities

At our laboratories in Ravenna, Ohio, and Suzhou, China, Smithers wheel testing capabilities include a number of standard and custom test options. Our wheel testing specifications cover a wide variety of industry standard tests including SAE, SFI, ABNT, ASTM and ISO as well as real-world and on-road tests such as torque retention studies. Some evaluation areas include:
  • Dynamic radial and cornering fatigue
  • Torsional fatigue
  • Hydrostatic burst tests
  • Impact testing
  • Strain gauging/stress analysis
  • Rim contour/dimensional checks
  • Rim flange strength
  • Metallurgical tests
  • Coatings analysis
  • Forensic investigation
In keeping with recent trends toward larger wheel sizes on SUVs and trucks, Smithers has invested in a new wheel testing machine that can accommodate passenger wheels up to 24 inches in diameter. The new machine has a computer controlling load, speed and deflection, and digital data storage and analysis.

Common Wheel Evaluations

The lab is fully equipped to perform a number of common wheel evaluations, including:
  • Fatigue testing: Standard radial and cornering fatigue tests on all size wheels.
  • Impact testing: Includes a standard 13-degree side impact test in accordance with SAE J175.
  • Hydrostatic burst testing: Using compressed water, the burst pressure of steel and alloy wheels is tested to determine the margin of safety above the rated wheel pressure.
  • Strain gauging / stress analysis: Customized strain analysis protocols per your specific requirements.
  • Rim contour / dimensional checks: Precise measurements of rim contour dimensions in accordance with Tire and Rim Association standards to confirm the wheel rim geometry will allow the tire to seat properly. Dimensions include rim width, drop center height, bead flange height, slope angle, and heel radius.
  • Metallurgical testing: Metallurgical analysis of steel and aluminum wheels and other components.
  • Coatings analysis: Evaluation of wheel coatings in accordance with ASTM standards and customized test protocols for coatings on steel wheels and alloy wheels. Standard test protocols include:
    • ASTM B117—Salt Spray
    • ASTM D3170—Chip Resistance
  • Crush Rim Deformation: The crush test for rim deformation is a crucial and manufacturer-specific assessment that plays a vital role in determining the loading limits of aluminum alloy wheels. This test focuses on analyzing the deformation of the wheel's rim along both the x and y-axis, providing valuable insights into its structural integrity under different levels of pressure and strain. Doing so optimizes the design and material composition of the wheels, ensuring that wheels are not only aesthetically appealing but also capable of enduring the inevitable challenges encountered on the road.
  • Rim Slip: The Rim Slip test is an essential procedure carried out by manufacturers to evaluate the energy needed to rotate a tire on the rim flange of a wheel. This test is specifically designed to evaluate the impact of various mounting fluids on different wheel materials, including painted, aluminum, raw, or steel wheels. By conducting this test, manufacturers can gain valuable insights into the performance and compatibility of tires and rims, helping them optimize their products for superior functionality and safety.
  • Lateral Deflection: Used to evaluate the structural integrity and elasticity of a test sample, the lateral deflection test not only determines the amount of lateral force being exerted on the sample but also measures the extent of deflection it undergoes when subjected to such forces. During testing, a controlled amount of force is applied perpendicular to the sample's surface. This force is gradually increased, and the resulting deflection is measured at specific intervals. By plotting the force-deflection curve, researchers can analyze the material's behavior and identify its elastic limits, yield point, and ultimate strength. This information aids in determining the material's suitability for various applications, such as in construction or automotive industries, where lateral forces are common.
  • Inspection - Dye Penetrant: The use of dye penetrant enhances the process of inspecting materials for flaws and defects. By employing specialized dyes, we are able to significantly improve our ability to detect fatigue cracks, pinholes, and porosity in both steel and aluminum metals. Dye penetrant serves as a valuable tool in non-destructive inspections, allowing to thoroughly examine these materials without causing any harm. Among our array of inspection services, we proudly offer Zyglo inspection with fluorescent exposure, providing exceptional clarity and visibility. If you have a specific need for photographic evidence, we are equipped to conduct inspections using red-dye, ensuring comprehensive documentation of any identified issues. 
Thanks to many years of combined experience in wheel manufacturing, testing, and design, the experts at Smithers can deliver reliable, accurate testing and customized solutions for your testing needs and challenges.
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Wheel Testing

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