Working together with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Specialty Equipment Market Association's Wheel Industry Council (WIC) has developed recommended testing procedures for aftermarket wheels.
The new standard, SAE J2530, Aftermarket Wheels Performance Requirements and Testing Procedures, outlines testing guidelines for aftermarket wheels, including performance and sampling requirements and testing procedures along with marking requirements for aftermarket wheels used on cars, light trucks and multi-purpose vehicles.
SAE J2530 is similar to the testing standards outlined by Safety Foundation Inc. (SFI), SEMA said, but is considered more comprehensive and creates internationally accepted testing standards for aftermarket wheels that are on the same level as Japan's JWL and Germany's TÃV testing standards.
The new specifications bring the same testing rigors to aftermarket wheels that have been followed by OEM suppliers for years, SEMA said.
SAE J2530 took four years to develop and resulted in part by the problems the tire industry faced following the Ford Explorer/Firestone Wilderness saga that led to heightened scrutiny and government-imposed regulations.
``We could see that legislation for the wheel industry was also coming,'' George Finch, research engineer at American Racing Custom Wheels and chairman-elect of the WIC, told SEMA News recently. ``We wanted to get ahead of it and keep the government out.''
Aftermarket custom wheels represented $1.1 billion in sales in 2002, an increase of nearly two-thirds over 1996, according to SEMA data.
Manufacturers can purchase the J2530 specifications from SAE and do the testing on their own or at a recommended testing facility, SEMA said. Wheels that meet the requirements can be marked with SAE J2530 to show that the product is in accordance with industry-recommended practices.
Established in 1999, WIC is composed of companies that focus on the wheel and tire industry and includes manufacturers, importers, distributors, dealers and service providers. The council's mission is to identify both opportunities and problems companies face in the aftermarket wheel industry.