I own a number of classic cars and have never really been a fan of wire wheels for a variety of reason. Firstly they take a lot of cleaning and it is very difficult to get between all the spokes and to clean the hub properly. Secondly and more importantly, spokes can work loose, or worse still they can actually crack or break under hard driving. I have never had a spoke snap on me, you really need to be doing some spirited rallying for them to fail, but I have had them work loose.
Over the years I have replaced the wire wheels on some of our cars (MGB Roadster, Triumph TR4a and Austin Healey) with Minilite alloy wheels and have D-Type alloy wheels on our Jaguar E-Type. These are easier to clean, no spokes to mess about with and they are actually easier for tyre companies to balance properly so normally make for a smoother, better ride. One of my latest acquisitions is a 1961 Jaguar Mk2 saloon which arrived with chrome wire wheels. Minilites would look out of place on a Jaguar and changing to standard steel wheels would involve replacing the hubs, and would look a bit plain and boring. So for now I am sticking with the wire wheels.
Cleaning the wheels recently, I noticed that a couple of the spokes were loose, and much credit to my local garage they also spotted this on the car’s annual MOT test, so I decided I needed to check all the spokes on all five wheels (including the spare).
This is a non-trivial task and can’t be done with the wheels on the car as you need to be able to get to both sides of the wheels to tighten the outer and inner spokes. First you need a