When you get introduced to the landscape of aftermarket wheels, you’ll fall in love with the styles and finishes available. Variables such as finishes, paints, ET measurement, and bolt patterns play an essential role and the look of your wheels.
One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make if you want stylish wheels is that of diamond-cut alloys vs painted alloys. If you’re confused about which one you should pick, this article is for you.
Difference Between Diamond Cut and Painted Alloys
When it comes to alloys, painted wheels are the most common type. Painted alloys are often finished in either silver or black but you can choose any color you want. The finish allows wheels to have a durable thick layer of paint which is excellent against corrosion and curb rash.
On the other hand, we have diamond-cut alloy wheels. They are known for their razor-sharp style and beautiful finish. Compared to painted alloy wheels, diamond cut alloys are more sensitive to damage and more expensive to refurbish but for many people, they look better.
The way diamond-cut wheels are finished is that they are first painted, often in black. They are then put on a lathe with the face of the wheel machined to remove the paint and leave a shiny metal surface. This bare metal is then lacquered to prevent corrosion.
It’s this two-tone finish that can make diamond-cut alloys so appealing. Painted alloys can have a similar finish but it doesn’t quite look as sharp. Which one is better depends on your preference and budget. Let’s take a look at the two in a little more detail.
What is a Diamond Cut Alloy Wheel?
Diamond-cut alloy wheels are known for their shiny finish. This glossy finish is achieved at the final stage of manufacturing, where the external layer of the alloy is machined off. Once this process is done, an additional layer of lacquer is added to prevent further corrosion.
The longevity of a diamond cut wheel is less than with other types of wheels due to that manufacturing process. You can repair your diamond cut wheels around 1-2 times as a rule of thumb. This is because each time you are taking metal away from the wheel and eventually it will lose structural integrity.
When it comes to getting or refurbishing diamond-cut wheels, it’s always best to speak with a specialist. Not every wheel center will have the ability to diamond cut wheels and not all wheels can be diamond cut.
This rarity is part of the reason they are much loved. They require more stages than other types of wheels and more specialist equipment. This is why esteemed manufacturers often put them on their high-end models.
What is a Painted Alloy Wheel?
If you want to stand out from the crowd without spending too much money, painted alloy wheels are a great idea.
The process is fairly simple and one of the best aspects about it is that repairing the wheels is easy and can be done time and time again. This means you won’t need to worry about getting completely new rims if the paintwork gets ruined.
The thick paint can be any color you choose, with most people opting for black or silver, but feel free to be a little more daring. The benefit here is that without needing to machine lathe your wheel, painted alloys are going to be cheaper.
This paint can be applied with standard spray paint or powder coated, with the latter usually being preferred due to its full coverage and durability. While that’s true, standard spray painting has a cheaper initial cost and a wider color range.
Whichever method you choose, it will be cheaper and more durable than a diamond-cut alloy. For those that love the look of a painted alloy and want to be a bit bolder with their color choices, it makes it a great choice.
Diamond-Cut Alloy Wheels Vs. Painted Alloys
Which one is better? Well, as often with these debates there isn’t one clear answer. That’s because it comes down to personal preference.
For many car owners, they prefer the look of a diamond-cut alloy. That is because the two-tone finish is very striking and looks sleek and modern. You don’t see many vehicles with diamond-cut alloys so if you want to stand out from the crowd, they are a great idea.
The truth, however, is that’s the only real benefit to diamond-cut alloys. For customization, price, and durability, painted alloys win every time. They can look brilliant and you don’t need to worry about getting new rims if they get damaged.
It’s that practicality that almost makes diamond-cut wheels even more appealing. There’s nothing wrong with getting something more impractical if you love it. There is no doubting that diamond-cut alloys look great but if you do a lot of urban driving, then you may find them to be a little too high maintenance.
Are Diamond Cut Wheels painted?
Diamond-cut wheels are very different from painted alloy wheels but both are painted initially. Diamond-cut wheels are painted, cured in an oven, and then placed on a lathe to remove the top layer of paint on the face of the wheel.
What is the advantage of Diamond Cut Alloy wheels?
The only real advantage of diamond-cut alloy wheels is that they look fantastic and most likely increase the value of your car. You may hear other benefits such as their low weight, braking performance, and grip but these aren’t features exclusive to diamond-cut wheels. This is more because diamond-cut wheels usually have premium materials and a performance design.
How do I know if I have Diamond Cut Alloys?
If the alloy wheels on your car have a silver outer and a darker inner ring, you are most likely looking at diamond-cut wheels. A similar two-tone finish could be created on painted wheels but on close inspection, you’ll see the fine machining marks on a diamond cut alloy.