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Aluminum Has Changed the Trucking Industry

When it comes to your wheels, there is lots of planning, and researching that went into making it. Alloy wheels are the norm now and are top of the line. However, at one-time aluminum wheels were not even a product yet.

Recently, we had the opportunity to interview David Walters, Doug Mason, and Mr. Mike Yagley of

 David, Doug, and Mason are the co-hosts of the new podcast Behind the Wheels, that covers a wide variety of topics in the industry from torquing to CBS violations. They work for a company that manufactures the Alcoa Wheel brand and that company has a long and rich history. In fact, the founder of Alcoa invented the aluminum industry. But what is the story of how they invented the forged aluminum wheel in 1948? 

Mike said it best when he said:

“Alcoa was trying to get people to buy aluminum and was using it in many different products. They invented aluminum cans, and this was just one of the things by Alcoa to get aluminum into the industry, into people’s everyday usage. They then decided to use it in wheels to try to drive sales of aluminum.”

We have come a long way since 1948, and so has Alcoa. What huge innovations have Alcoa made to the wheel since then?

At the 8:21 time mark, Doug said:

“One of the biggest things that happened to Alcoa, the aluminum company is alloy wheels… Before I was working for Alcoa, I was with another company trying to replicate the forged aluminum wheel. The final product was 60 pounds when I was working on it, and we had a really difficult time doing that. Today, Alcoa is making a 39-pound wheel, which is a 7400-pound load rated wheel.”

Along with the light-alloy wheels that Alcoa creates, comes many aspects that lower cost-per-mile. Customers who do bulk hauling have noticed the difference in weight, but also the maintenance and fuel savings that come along with it.

But with every product, comes the need to be able to understand when it is no longer useable and should be replaced. The same is true when it comes to your wheels. But what are the signs that your wheel is wearing out that you should be aware of?

There are many signs, but some signs are when there’s flange wear or a sharp edge on the flange. Alcoa even gives a gauge away for free to be able to check these for wear. Another major one is cracks in the wheel. It is also important to understand how critical torque is for protecting your wheels. By keeping an eye on these areas, can prevent disasters from happening down the road. Regular inspection is crucial.

To learn more go to

  • Did you enjoy this episode of The Heavy-Duty Parts Report? Watch this interview we did with John Stoeckinger and Buck Monson from the Independent Truck Repair Group, where we talked help for repair shops during Covid-19, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and YouTube channel.

Author: Jamie Irvine

Taron is the Marketing Manager at The Heavy-Duty Parts Report.

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