A- A+One of the easiest ways to tune your car and make it look better is by changing its wheels. You can quickly notice that around this time of the year, as most people will be changing their rims from the summer setup to the winter one. Most of the time, that also means using smaller wheels.
I, for one, hate the way my car looks during winter because of the tires and wheels setup, but I know that’s the best way to go. Some people, though, won’t mind cutting corners and getting wheels for their rides for prices as low as possible.
That’s a deal that may not make a lot of sense if you consider the pros and cons. On the plus side, you get to pay less, but on the other, you might just put yourself and those traveling with you in danger.
Mercedes-Benz Australia and Holden decided to put together a video to show you the risks you expose yourself to when buying cheap, fake replicas of OEM wheels. In this regard, they actually purchased a set of fake CLA45 AMG wheels and compared them to the real thing on a special track that belongs to Holden.
Over here, they had access to a portion of asphalt with specially designed potholes that replicate (pun intended) those found in real life. Needless to say that the fake wheels failed this test, actually losing their integrity in the process.
How can you tell fake wheels from real ones?
That’s a tricky business, and the Mercedes people tried to show us how it’s done, but that will depend on the laws in various countries. In Australia, for example, selling the wheels with the same markings on them as on the real ones is illegal. That’s why the “Made in Germany” and three-pointed star marks on the back of the rims were polished off. However, the center hubs were intact and sported the Mercedes logo because they were original, probably bought legally from the German company altogether.
In other countries, though, that may be part of a grey legal area, an instance where discerning between fake and real wheels will be even harder to do. One thing’s for sure, though: 99 percent of the time, if something’s too cheap to be real, it usually is.
Playing Devil's advocate for a bit, we should point out the fact that any wheel that is not forged (as is the case with AMG's versions) will probably do the same thing and break into pieces when put through this test. That means that most aftermarket wheels will have the same fate in similar conditions and that shouldn't take you by surprise. That's why most of them are cheaper than forged alternatives offered by manufacturers in the first place. The best thing to do is avoid potholes, but that's just wishful thinking at this point, as we all know that's impossible.