For some, aesthetics are key when modifying a car. There’s nothing wrong with that, but this approach can throw up some challenges. For instance, what if you have a car sitting on some lovely steel wheels, but you want wider, arch-filling tyres while retaining the retro look?
One solution is to go for banded steel wheels. It’s a term you’ll have likely heard before, but if you’ve no idea what it means, we’ve good news: it’s an extremely straightforward concept to understand.
First off, you take a factory steel wheel, cut around the circumference, usually between the edge of the rim and the face of the hub. A rolled steel ‘band’ is then inserted between the two parts, with everything joined together using a rotary welder. The now wider, deeper-dished wheel is smoothed off, painted and pressure tested.
You can have a small increase or a big increase, it’s entirely up to you - most companies have bands starting at one inch in width and going all the way up to 12. Offset, of course, does have to be carefully considered when choosing the width increase.
Decades ago, banding was very popular - if you wanted wider wheels, this was often the only realistic option. Banded wheels are often seen on lorries and other commercial vehicles, too.
Despite sounding quite labour intensive, it’s a cost-effective way to widen wheels while retaining an OEM look. It’s also safe, providing you’ve used a reputable establishment to do the work. Alternatively, there are companies like Weller that manufacture wider steel wheels from scratch, but it’s safe to expect to pay more, and you may not find a design that’s to your liking.
Do you run a set of banded steels on your car? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to post a picture or two!