SAE J 175-2020: Lateral Impact Testing of Car Wheels

Black sports car speeds in landscape that blurs like a painting with wheels tested to SAE J 175-2020 for lateral impact

Many depend upon SAE J 175-2020: Wheels – Lateral Impact Test Procedure – Road Vehicles for testing side, or lateral (curb), impact collision resistance of wheels intended for use on passenger cars and light trucks.

Testing Automobile Wheels

Accidents on the road predate automobiles themselves. For instance, in 1857, two horse-drawn carriages collided at the corner of E 13th St and 3rd Ave in Manhattan, sending one buggy directly into a nearly 200-year-old tree, planted by none other than Peter Stuyvesant, the former Dutch governor of New Amsterdam. The pear tree, brought by Stuyvesant from Holland, was destroyed, but a plaque commemorating the former Manhattan landmark remains at the street corner until this day.

This accident, as expected with road accidents that predate the Civil War, took place, of course, with wooden carriage wheels, but the idea is still the same—automobiles need to be prepared to enter their usage safely. Today, there are 1.2 billion vehicles on the road worldwide. All components of an automobile, from the electrical systems to the tires, need to be tested against the elements to ensure reliability before a driver takes their car on the road.

Stacked tires on yellow shelves tested to SAE J 175-2020

SAE J 175-2020 plays a role in this by offering requirements for side impact testing on wheels. Similarly, other standards developed and published by SAE International garner requirements for additional automobile wheel tests. For example:

  • SAE J 1981-2016 is used to evaluate the frontal impact resistance of wheel and tire assemblies and specifically relates to pothole tests conducted by most manufacturers.
  • SAE J 1204-2017 specifies requirements for fatigue testing ferrous and aluminum wheels.
  • SAE J 46-1993 is a wheel-slip brake-control system road test code looking at vehicle stability and maneuverability.
  • SAE J 2633-2015 deals with wheel and wheel trim weathering testing for paint coatings.
  • SAE J 2634-2015 is intended for the sample preparation of test pieces for automotive wheels and wheel trim, and its usage provides a consistent scribing method for use on test panels and or component parts with substrate chemical pretreatment and coating systems.
  • Applying to the wheel, wheel bolts, and wheel nuts, SAE J 2316-2012 gives performance requirements and uniform procedures for nut seat system strength of wheels.

Please note, however, that numerous other standards and specifications are pertinent to automobile wheels. ISO 4107:2010, for instance, specifies the dimensions necessary for the attachment of a commercial road vehicle wheel on the hub of a vehicle.

About the SAE J 175-2020 Standard

The SAE J 175-2020 recommended practice establishes minimum performance requirements and related uniform laboratory test procedures for evaluating lateral (curb) impact collision resistance of automobile wheels. Only fully processed new wheels representative of wheels intended for passenger car and light truck applications should be used for its tests.

SAE J 175-2020 outlines a series of considerations related to these test procedures, including the equipment, calibration of rubber mounts and drop height, and the information required on the test data sheet.

This standard revises the 2003 edition of the same document, and it was changed to coordinate with updates proposed to ISO 7141.

SAE J 175-2020: Wheels – Lateral Impact Test Procedure – Road Vehicles is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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