Japanese Wheel Quality
It’s generally accepted that Japanese manufactured products are of a high quality.
From electronics to homewares, the cars we love to the forged damascus steel knives renowned worldwide for their sharpness, hardness and beauty, Japanese products are very sought after. Japanese manufactured wheels are no different, with wheel lovers the world over holding certain brands and models of wheel with a reverence not often found when talking about aftermarket car parts. Japanese manufactured wheels have a reputation for high quality and it’s our opinion that this reputation is well deserved. What we aim to do here is to put this in context as there are some very good reasons for this reputation for quality.
What many people don’t realise is that Japan has very stringent requirements that wheels must conform to, in order to be sold for road use in Japan. As a Japanese wheel lover, you’re bound to have seen VIA and JWL logos on your wheels or on your travels on the internet while looking for the wheel of your dreams. Read on to find out what these things mean and why they are so important.
The Japan Light Alloy Wheel Association (JAWA) is the entity responsible for ensuring the safety and reliability of wheels sold in Japan for road use. It ensures that wheels manufactured for sale in Japan for road use meet the requirements for “Engineering standard for light alloy disc wheels” which is set by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. This is known as the JWL requirement.
JWL is the “Japan light alloy wheel standard”. The JWL logo on a wheel is an indication that the wheel has been self certified by the manufacturer to meet the minimums required under JWL for sale in Japan. This means the manufacturer has conducted their own in house testing, which all of the big name Japanese brands do.
VIA is the Vehicle Inspection Association of Japan testing body, which independently tests that the self certified wheel does indeed meet the strict criteria, these wheels will then bear the VIA logo in addition to the JWL logo. This means that the wheel is not just self tested and certified by the manufacturer, but has been independently tested to meet these requirements.
Wheels that have passed JWL and VIA tests also earn the JAWA Quality certification seal.
Not all countries have stringent quality requirements for the wheels that are sold for road use, many countries have no quality requirements at all. And of course, there’s no guarantee that the wheels being sold to international markets have undergone any testing of any kind. Further, it’s not uncommon for these wheels to bear the VIA and JWL markings without having undergone the stringent testing to ensure that they meet the requirements to carry those marks.
At Import Monster, we are often asked why we don’t sell this or that wheel brand, or why we don’t sell copies/reps/homages/tributes or just plain fakes of unknown origin. Well for us it’s a simple choice. By being selective in the brands that we deal with, by choosing only genuine Japanese wheel brands such as Weds, Work, SSR, Rays, TWS Forged or Enkei to name a few, we can offer wheels for sale with certainty that each and every wheel meets and in most cases, well and truly exceeds these minimum requirements to be deemed safe for road use. It’s just basic peace of mind for us and of course for the person who fits the wheels to their car.
When shopping around there are a lot of things that come into your decision to purchase one brand or another. Design, colour and fitment are often the first things we think about. But the quality is definitely something worth considering when choosing your wheels, whether it’s the sunday car, your daily or a race car. These days, prices for genuine Japanese wheels are very competitive. Having 100% confidence that the wheel you are purchasing has been designed, engineered and rigourously tested for safety and performance will give you peace of mind long after the purchase price is forgotten.