Changing the car rims may seem like just a simple upgrade. However, many car owners spend quite a lot of time searching for a new set of car rims because selecting the wrong ones is a waste of money and effort.
Several factors must be taken into account when searching for the perfect car rims. With so many styles and sizes available in the market, you must know how the rims work and why the differences in aftermarket car rims matter.
Purpose of wheels
Whether for passenger cars or commercial vehicles, wheels are necessary for all automobiles. Commonly called rims, it is an integral part of any vehicle. The rims hold the tires in place so the vehicle can function.
Even though the design of aftermarket wheels is one of its biggest selling points, wheels aren’t made just for looks. Oftentimes, the basis of most car owners for changing their wheels is to give their rides a sportier look. But bear in mind that new car rims should also provide better handling.
Putting on a new set of aftermarket car rims can enhance the look and add character, whether it’s for an old or new vehicle. But aside from boosting the aesthetics, getting the right set of rims can help in ensuring the safety of your car as you drive on the road.
Whether a first-time car owner or long-time vehicle owner, the first mods they can do is to replace the wheels. Wheel preferences vary. We cannot judge other people’s choices on what they want to install in their vehicle. However, putting on new wheels can affect how your car drives. It is extremely important to get the correct wheel fitment to ensure that your new set of wheels will be compatible with your car.
OEM vs aftermarket car rims
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) wheels are the exact replicas of the wheel that came with your car. OEM wheels exactly match the same specifications as the rims that came on your car the day it rolled off the assembly line.
If one of the stock rims has been damaged and you want the same type to replace it, OEM replica wheels will fit the tires and car’s hub bearings perfectly. The replica wheels are manufactured using the same standards and specifications as that of the OEM wheels. You can be certain that the replica car rims will fit seamlessly and perform the same as you would expect from an original equipment wheel.
The aftermarket wheels are produced and designed by independent manufacturers and made to fit multiple vehicles. Car rims that aren’t genuinely made by the original manufacturer are considered to be aftermarket wheels.
Understanding how rims work
From a technical perspective, this auto part helps in making the vehicle move and stop. As the engine creates power, it then moves the drivetrain where the wheels are attached. The wheels are affixed with the tires for the engine to put its power to the ground.
When friction is applied, it turns the wheels and propels the car forward. To provide the leverage needed to move the car, the rims transfer power from the axle to the tires. Concerning the power that the engine generates, the amount of leverage depends on the size of the rims.
The wheels are one of the essential factors of all vehicles and you wouldn’t get far without them. Changing the car rims is a crucial process because it can have a significant impact on the handling, braking, alignment, acceleration, and most importantly—ride quality.
Materials and construction of car rims
Not all wheels are the same. You may notice some wheel brands have designs that look very much alike. But if you look closely at the information of those aftermarket car rims, there’s a big difference in the materials used and its finish.
The material for the wheel’s construction not only improves the look of the car rims but also affects its performance through durability, weight, and strength.
When you visit and take a look around at any car dealership, you’ll see that aluminum wheels are installed in the majority of vehicles—from sedans to trucks, and even luxury cars.
Compared to other types of wheels, the aluminum alloy-made rims dominate the aftermarket wheel market due to their wide variety of designs, it is the most popular choice due to its affordability, durability, and stylish features.
You can call it the “Superman” of rims because this metal material is extremely durable. Compared to alloys, steel-made rims are inexpensive. It has a few simple designs to a point that some people think it’s dull-looking.
This type of rims is fitted to low-cost cars and covered using a hubcap to add some style. In terms of weight, steel car rims are often heavier than other wheel types. It is low-maintenance and not as hard to care for compared to its wheel contenders.
- Carbon fiber
Wheels made of carbon fiber are lightweight yet strong. It is ideal to use for track-oriented sports cars. The carbon fiber composite material can reduce the rotational inertia and the combined mass of the vehicle. It dampens the high-frequency noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) from the road through the suspension and into the structure of the car.
However, the downside of this is its price. It is extremely expensive but not as durable as steel and alloy. Carbon fiber rims should be meticulously cared for because they can become brittle even with just a single impact.
You must also understand the wheel finishes such as:
- Chrome – Chrome car rims are the shiniest among other types of wheels. It is created through the process of electroplating by covering the wheel with natural chromium. The chrome plating makes the wheel stronger. The chrome also provides a mirror-like shine.
- Powder-coated – The technique used for this type of finish gives bolder and brighter wheel colors. Bleach should not be used to clean powder-coated rims but only a non-acidic wheel cleaner.
- Clear coated – This wheel finish gives a sophisticated look to any vehicle. The clear coat provides a shiny appearance to the rim without the worry of corrosion.
Wheel sizing and offset
The Fast and the Furious movie franchise showed us their fast cars sporting bigger wheels. If you’re a big fan, you may be tempted to put those kinds of muscle car rims too. However, you need to keep a few things in mind before you can upsize or change the wheels on your car. You must understand the correct wheel size and offset meant for your vehicle.
Have you ever wondered, if tires are shoes, are wheels socks? Even if you own a nice pair of kicks, you tend to look for more stylish ones that fit you perfectly, right? Let’s face it, even if automakers spent their precious time designing a wheel for the vehicles they offer, customers will think of bigger, shinier, and more impressive rims to slap on to their rides.
It’s not just you but a lot of new car owners ask, “how do I know what rims fit my car?” Trial-and-error may happen if it’s your first time purchasing new car rims. But if you want to avoid making mistakes, you can use wheel fitment guides or look for tire and wheel packages that suit the specs of your vehicle.