So why do off-road guys use bead locks? Well, the answer is pretty simple. It is common for off-roaders to bleed tires to improve ride quality and performance on the track. This makes navigating sand, mud, dirt and rocks much easier compared to a full-pressure tire. However, there are risks associated with this. With factory wheels and off-road wheels without bead locking, you can safely lower tire pressure to about 12-16 psi without worrying about the tire coming off the wheel. On a real beadlock wheel, you can go down to 5-7 psi without any problems with heel removal. The question of whether beadlocks are road legal has been posted several times in almost every off-road forum on the internet with no definitive answer. We decided to do the research and here are the facts: Simulated or fake bead locks are a decorative fitting on the rim of a standard wheel. All-terrain vehicles and off-road racing trucks require high traction on uneven and slippery surfaces. Beadlock wheels allow them to fulfill the stated purpose with low air pressures.
However, this situation becomes dangerous for use on highways or urban areas. Beadlocks are not allowed to drive due to various safety concerns. Here is a brief description of the possible reasons for their prohibited use on highways: They protect the tire from dirt and stones in the terrain. Their use is legal because their use is safe and does not have a negative impact on the tires. You`re probably wondering how a beaded wheel and a wheel without a bead stack against each other. The truth is that both have their advantages and it depends entirely on what your use case actually is. However, there are a few important points to consider before committing to a particular set of wheels. If you don`t intend to tackle the tougher trails, beaded wheels aren`t a must on your off-road platform. It is important to note that not only are these types of wheels relatively expensive, but most, if not all, are not legal and approved by the DOT (Department of Transportation). This means that you cannot legally drive your platform on the road or highway if it is installed. Traditional wheels do not have a fail-safe design due to the locking mechanism on the outer edge of the wheel. Now that beadlocks don`t appear to be illegal, we need to look at the possible consequences of driving a vehicle with beadlock wheels.
Like other street equipment laws, the risks are mainly tickets and prosecution. If you`re into the off-road scene, you`ve probably heard of or seen beadlock off-road wheels. Yes, the beaded wheels look cool and all hardcore trail platforms run them; But why? The biggest questions emerge in the background. Do you need beadlock off-road wheels? Are you sure? What are the advantages of a beadlock over a non-beadlock? As trail addicts, we often get this question. At HardRock Offroad, we`ve done tons of testing, not only from a manufacturing perspective, but also from individual experiences on and off the ground, sand and mud. Let`s take a closer look at beadlocks and what they are. Therefore, manufacturers do not offer such wheels for use in urban areas or highways with more traffic. IT makes them responsible for any accident occurring in such situations. As a result, this results in better grip on the road and stable movement in corners during dirt racing or other off-road applications. While conventional wheels get the same effect, you need to buy big tires with wider heels.
If a product is sold as “For off-road use only” or “Not legal for highway use”, is it illegal for the customer to install it in a road vehicle? The use of bead-locking wheels has several advantages in off-road applications. First of all, they are safe because the screws are less stressed due to slow speeds. Why aren`t beadlocks legal on the street? The use of beadlocks on highways or urban areas is not legal due to the risk of tire bursting. When a bead comes out of the clamping ring, the tire eventually detaches from the bead without air pressure. Other risk factors include their poor balance and lack of expertise to mount Beadlock wheels safely. They have the same outer plate and screws that mimic pearl locks. The second is internal bead locks. These wheels have a tube inside the high-performance housing. When inflating the hose, it presses both sides of the tire bead against it to prevent them from slipping or detaching from the wheel. Ultimately, it comes down to your intentions with your platform and what you think is right.
Always remember to consider the risks and liability arising from improper use and installation of screws and wheels. In short, Beadlock wheels do exactly what their name suggests: they lock the bead of the tire on the wheel. Originally, this type of wheel was used in military applications, but was later popularized by off-road and creeping communities. The purpose of a beadlock was originally to prevent the wheels from descending when subjected to massive torque load and lower-than-normal tire pressure. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has a J2530 guideline to establish performance requirements and other procedures for aftermarket passenger car and pickup wheels. These wheels are more difficult to balance than conventional wheels and require special expertise. Both sides should have the same weight as a centered scale. In case of imbalance, you need to put weights on the lighter side during the procedure. Due to legal complications, there will be few workshops offering the services.
Beadlocks are great tools for off-road vehicles, but they can be very dangerous if not properly installed, operated or maintained. LiftLaws.com strongly believes that beadlocks should not be installed on vehicles that drive on the road, as they are not as safe as their counterparts that are not beadlocks. If someone decides to install trunks in a road vehicle, they should make sure to check their tire pressure and pearl pin torque frequently and adjust their driving habits to account for possible heel failure. (This includes taking turns slowly and learning how to handle the vehicle in the event of a tire burst.) Therefore, use properly installed beadlocks with a design approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).