‘Noise-reduction wheels’ help keep Lexus LS-series sedans quiet

noise reduction wheel

Some 2013 Lexus LX wheels have a small hollow ring around the outer rim that helps suppress noise.

Noise-reduction wheels? Wheels that actually make a car quieter? Lexus engineers worked hard, no doubt, to make wheels for the 2013 Lexus LS-series lightweight and for all the usual reasons. Lighter wheels don’t take as much energy to start turning, and that gives the LS better acceleration and fuel economy. And lighter wheels, because of their reduced mass, don’t bounce as hard, yielding a smoother ride. But quieter?

Yes, according to Lexus. To make the wheels lighter without sacrificing strength, certain Lexus LS 18-inch and 19-inch wheels have hollow outer rims, a hollow ring just under the “bead” of the tire, where the tire sits on the rim of the tire.

This hollow ring is vented to the interior of the wheel, so it’s pressurized, just like the inside of the tire. The vents, however, are tiny, small enough that air doesn’t flow through them easily.

When the air inside the tire is compressed and released by bumps in the pavement, vibrations are set up and sensed as sound. Bumps in the road and the tire are therefore actually creating noise.

With the noise-reduction wheel, the generated sound waves reach  the “resonator hole”—the hole between the hollow ring and the inner wheel—and resonate within the air in the hollow structure.

This causes friction in the air and that friction creates heat. In converting the sound waves to heat, the “air column resonance” is suppressed. And less vibration means less noise.

Voila, noise-reduction wheels.

[], [], []

Share this article

John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.