Wheelskins: Chrome for Styled Wheels
"Wheelskin" is really a relatively new term. Wheelskins were invented in the late 1990s to supply an inexpensive solution to put chrome on styled wheels.
Early aluminum alloy wheels were manufactured in fairly easy designs. As more sophisticated, high strength molding and forging processes were developed, more intricate and artistic designs became common. The initial reason for decreased weight for track performance metamorphosed to create and expression. Adoption of "styled" alloy wheels became widespread in high-end street machines of German manufacture, so when expensive aftermarket choices for the others. Finally, major American and Japanese manufacturers began offering styled alloy wheels first as options, and in the late '80s as standard features. The very best types of even the economy brands offered styled steel wheels.
The advent of styled alloy wheels opened a fresh selection of stylistic expression to auto owners. Spoke and swirl patterns could extend seamlessly to the outer edge of the wheel. As computerized machining technology advanced, it became less costly to engineer the molds, so a more substantial collection of designs became available and prices decreased.
Chrome, the ultimate fashion statement, was put on all types of styled wheels. This program is popular but expensive, in the number of several hundred dollars per wheel. Unfortunately, among the drawbacks of actual chrome plating on auto wheels is its tendency to corrode when subjected to winter salt driving conditions. Hence the small print caveat in the warrantees of chrome wheel manufacturers: "Usually do not drive chrome wheels in snow!" and "Salt can deteriorate and corrode your chrome."
Wheelskins were invented in the late 1990s to supply an inexpensive solution to put brilliant chromed plastic covers on styled wheels. Precision molds were made to produce inexpensive corrosion resistant covers that perfectly match the geometry of styled wheels, and 'fit just like a glove' or such as a second skin. There are many manufacturers of wheelskins, both best known will be the Impostors(TM) and the Wheelskins brands. There's only one style of Wheelskin that matches each specific styled wheel, and that wheelskin will not fit any wheel.
Styled Wheels don't have the standard recess within the bead for standard hubcaps to mount into. Therefore, Wheelskins were made with metal clips to seize the outer edge of the rim or wheel, just how a wheel weight does. The most recent Wheelskins models use center clips that grab the wheel at the bottom of its spokes.
Wheelskins have grown to be the best-kept secret in the wheel fashion industry. Once installed, you can't tell the difference between them and real chromed wheels from a lot more than 5 feet away. A large number of sets can be purchased to new and used auto retailers, who mount them on the vehicles on the lots. Those a large number of vehicles can be purchased to customers that are very happy they will have purchased chrome wheels at a bargain price.