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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wheels and Tires Forum Sponsored by The Tire Rack > Wheel Certifications Directory/(explained)



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      06-09-2010, 12:17 PM   #1
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Wheel Certifications Directory/(explained)

Wheel Certifications Directory

When it comes to buying wheels, sometimes we need reassurance beyond from what the stores and manufacturers can give us. We want to know that the wheels we are buying are good enough, and they meet certain standards.

And so, we see famous initials that decorate (hopefully) the wheels we buy. Here you will find the meaning to what most of those mean, and the things the wheels have to be to earn them.

In essence, Japan and Germany are the only two countries that offer wheel certifications that are truly relevant to the markets around the world. They are as follows.

INTERNATIONAL COMPANY CERTIFICATION→
ISO 9001:2000 Certification - International Service Organization (ISO) is a worldwide organization that sets technical standards for testing and quality purposes for various international industries. ISO 9001:2000 is the latest quality management system for businesses. It basically creates a unique structure, development and implementation of a QMS in order to increase the quality of business transactions, quality and customer satisfaction.

JAPANESE→
JWL- Japanese wheels must have a "JWL" logo on the wheel and "JWL" (Japan Light Wheel Alloy) is a compilation of standards defined by the Japanese Government to ensure the vehicle's safety for aluminum road wheels. Every wheel put to market must be tested to meet JWL standards before a wheel can be put out to market in Japan. These standards are generally accepted worldwide as acceptable for most road conditions. That is why you will see these marks on European and other Asian country wheels.

VIA Certification - Vehicle Inspection Association (VIA) is a third-party group in Japan which can test and verify whether or not any alloy wheels can meet JWL certification standards.

JAWA Certificate Sticker
The JAWA Quality Certificates: Since 1995, JAWA has introduced the “JAWA Quality Certificate” system to protect and develop consumer confidence in wheel safety and quality. The certificate guarantees that all products qualify to the JWL and JWL-T light alloy disc wheel standards approved by Japanese government.

VIA Mark
A third-party entity called the Vehicle Inspection Association verifies whether a product meets the requirements prescribed by the JWL or JWL-T standard. This association permits a product to bear a VIA mark if it passes rigorous quality and strength verification tests conducted in accordance with the JWL or JWL-T standard.

GERMAN→
TUV Certification - Technischer Uberwachungs-Verien (TUV) (Technical Examination Association) in Germany. This is another third-party testing group which began in Germany and now has locations worldwide. The TUV Certification is the highest performance and durability standard any product can hope to meet. To even be considered for testing, all companies must first be ISO 9001:2000.

Since it is rather costly to obtain the both ISO 9001 and the TUV certs, most aftermarket companies have JWL, JAWA, & VIA certs, and will make sure their wheels MEET TUV cert standards, without officially having them.

So there you go! Happy Hunting!

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      06-10-2010, 05:34 AM   #2
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      06-10-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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While were on the topic of wheel certifications I'll provide a little bit of information about wheel construction as well

All Wheels Are Round. Or Are They?

Though not enforced, there are quality standards to govern the production of wheels. Some countries though, like Germany and Japan, have government regulations requiring aftermarket wheels to meet certain criteria and ensure proper fit. The United States has taken steps to establish guidelines but it will be some time before they can enact regulation of any kind.

Consequently, all wheels are not made the same. The performance of an alloy wheel is a direct result of the manufacturing technique employed.

There are many factors to consider when purchasing an alloy wheel.
What Is a Wheel and What Is a Rim? Are They the Same Thing?

It may seem obvious, but a wheel is comprised of a hub, spokes and rim. Sometimes these components will be one piece, sometimes two or three. The hub is the center portion of the wheel and is what attaches the wheel to the suspension. The spokes radiate out from the hub and attach to the rim. The rim is the outer part of the wheel that holds the tire. While many people refer to wheels as "rims," this is technically incorrect. We'll discuss several ways that wheels are manufactured below.
One-Piece Cast Wheels

This is the most common type of aluminum wheel. The casting of wheels is the process of getting molten aluminum inside a mold to form a wheel. There are different ways this can be accomplished and although it sounds simple, this is truly an art when done properly.

GRAVITY CASTING:
Gravity casting is the most basic process of pouring molten aluminum into a mold utilizing the earth's gravity to fill the mold. Gravity casting offers a very reasonable production cost and is a good method for casting designs that are more visually oriented or when reducing weight is not a primary concern. Since the process relies on gravity to fill the mold, the aluminum is not as densely packed in the mold as some other casting processes. Often gravity cast wheels will have a higher weight to achieve the required strength.

LOW PRESSURE CASTING:
Low pressure casting uses positive pressure to move the molten aluminum into the mold quicker and achieve a finished product that has improved mechanical properties (more dense) over a gravity cast wheel. Low-pressure casting has a slightly higher production cost over gravity casting. Low pressure is the most common process approved for aluminum wheels sold to the O.E.M. market. Low-pressure cast wheels offer a good value for the aftermarket as well. Some companies offer wheels that are produced under a higher pressure in special casting equipment to create a wheel that is lighter and stronger than a wheel produced in low pressure. Once again in the quest for lighter weight, there is a higher cost associated with the process.

Spun-Rim, Flow-Forming or Rim Rolling Technology:
This specialized process begins with a low pressure type of casting and uses a special machine that spins the initial casting, heats the outer portion of the casting and then uses steel rollers pressed against the rim area to pull the rim to its final width and shape. The combination of the heat, pressure and spinning create a rim area with the strength similar to a forged wheel without the high cost of the forging. Some of the special wheels produced for the O.E.M. high performance or limited production vehicles utilize this type of technology resulting in a light and strong wheel at a reasonable cost. BBS has used this technology for several years in their production of racing wheels for Formula One and Indy cars. BBS's RC wheel for the aftermarket is an example of a wheel produced using spun rim technology.

Forged:
The ultimate in one-piece wheels. Forging is the process of forcing a solid billet of aluminum between the forging dies under an extreme amount of pressure. This creates a finished product that is very dense, very strong and therefore can be very light. The costs of tooling, development, equipment, etc., make this type of wheel very exclusive and usually demand a high price in the aftermarket.

Multi-Piece Wheels:
This type of wheel utilizes two or three components assembled together to produce a finished wheel. Multi-piece wheels can use many different methods of manufacturing. Centers can be cast in various methods or forged. The rim sections for 3-piece wheels are normally spun from disks of aluminum. Generally, spun rim sections offer the ability to custom-tailor wheels for special applications that would not be available otherwise. The rim sections are bolted to the center and normally a sealant is applied in or on the assembly area to seal the wheel. This type of 3-piece construction was originally developed for racing in the early 1970s and has been used on cars ever since. The 3-piece wheels are most popular in the 17" and larger diameters.

There are now many options for 2-piece wheels in the market. The 2-piece wheel design does not offer as wide a range of application that a 3-piece wheel allows, however they are more common in the market and the prices start well below the average 3-piece wheel. Some 2-piece wheels have the center bolted into a cast or cast/spun rim section and other manufacturers press centers into spun rim sections and weld the unit together. When BBS developed a new 2-piece wheel to replace the previous 3-piece street wheel, they used the special rim-rolling technology (originally developed for racing wheels) to give the rim section the weight and strength advantages similar to a forged rim. On the high-end of the 2-piece wheel market you can find wheels using forged rims and forged centers. Since these are only sold in small volume and due to the high development and production costs associated with the forging process, they tend to be on the high end of the price scale.

- Alan
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      06-10-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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Good info folks!
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      06-10-2010, 10:49 AM   #5
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Very informative! Sticky it!
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      06-10-2010, 11:55 AM   #6
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Thanks Alan, although Wheel construction is already explained and stickied here with diagrams and all.
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      06-10-2010, 07:59 PM   #7
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      07-13-2010, 07:12 AM   #8
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      07-20-2010, 04:36 PM   #9
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You are missing SAE by DOT. Although not a certification is a testing standard in the US. SAE provides several standards to testing not only the wheel strength based on an specific load rating, but also the surface finish resistance of the wheel.

I would be very happy to answer any questions anybody might have.
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