Wheels support the vehicle’s weight and transfer torque to the tires from the drivetrain and braking systems. Automobile wheels generally are made of steel or aluminum. Aluminum wheels are lighter, more impact absorbent, and more expensive.
Pneumatic (air-filled) rubber tires, first patented in 1845, fit on the outside rims of the wheels. Tires help smooth out the ride and provide the automobile’s only contact with the road, so traction and strength are primary requirements. Tire treads come in several varieties to match driving conditions.