Have you just bought the car of your dreams? Are you having fun customizing it, but the wheels are giving you a tough time? Well, no need to worry — I’m here to help.
I’ll show you what the best rims look like, what they’re made of, and how you can get your hands on them. I’ll also tell you how much rims cost and where to find some at bargain prices. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Types of Rims
The most important thing that’ll determine the price of your wheels and rims are the materials used for them. There are three basic types you can choose from.
Steel wheels and rims have been around for years, and they’re pretty widespread. Back in the day, you could see steel rims on pretty much any car, from minivans to supercars. However, in recent years, alloy rims have pushed them out of the market. Now, they’re mostly fitted on compact and subcompact cars.
The biggest upside to steel rims is that they’re the cheapest and most budget-friendly option out of all three types. In fact, depending on the size of your wheels, you can buy steel rims starting from $30.They’re simple, durable, and you can even fit them on road vehicles.
But steel rims are extremely heavy, and the weight can take a toll on your car’s handling and fuel economy. What’s more, since they don’t dissipate heat like chrome or alloy, they could potentially damage your brakes.
Most cars nowadays use alloy or aluminum alloy rims because they’re pretty lightweight as well as durable. They’re usually made from a mix of different metals to increase their performance and longevity.
Compared to steel ones, alloy rims conduct heat much better, and they can handle a heavy braking load. Manufacturers also often paint them in silver or gold colors to mimic chrome rims but at a fraction of the price.
When buying alloy rims, you should also take into consideration what kind of finish you want. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Diamond cut
- Split rims
Even though alloy rims are more expensive than steel, they still won’t break the bank. Depending on the materials used and their size, alloy rims usually start from $50 per wheel.
However, the one area where alloy rims fall short is with wear and tear. Since they’re not as durable as steel, they’re more prone to scratching and breaking.
You’re most likely to see chrome rims on more expensive, luxurious cars because of their hefty price tag.
Now, the most important thing you have to know about chrome rims is that they’re not actually made of chrome. Since the material is pretty expensive on its own, making an entire wheel out of it would cost a fortune.
So most manufacturers use a chrome coating to get that shine for a fraction of the cost. But just because they’re plated with chrome doesn’t mean they come cheap. In fact, chrome rims can go for anywhere between $100 per wheel up to tens of thousands of dollars.
One thing to remember about chrome rims is that they won’t add much to the overall performance of your car. The biggest difference between these and the alloy ones is that chrome coating prevents oxidation. So if you’re often driving on wet roads, they might be a worthy investment.
If you want to learn more about the history of wheels and rims, you can check out the article below. There, you’ll get more in-depth information about the different types and what you can expect from each one.
Depending on your personal preference and what you want from your car, you can go for different rim sizes. For example, if you want to buy them just for aesthetic reasons, I recommend going for the exact same size as your tires.
However, if you want to improve your car’s cornering and acceleration, you should go a few inches bigger. Just know that bigger rims might wear out your tires faster than smaller ones would.
Also, you could get smaller rims to ensure a smoother and more comfortable ride. But by doing so, your car’s handling performance might decrease a bit.
Nowadays, you can buy rims that range from 10 to 22 inches. Some luxurious cars like Porches and AMGs can even have different-sized rims on the front and back.
How to Measure the Size of Your Rims
Before you buy a new set of rims, you need to consider a couple of factors like:
- Bolt pattern
When you measure the width, make sure you’re doing so from the barrel section, not just the overall width of the rims.
For the diameter, you’ll want to find the actual and overall measurements. To find the overall size, measure from lip to lip of the wheel.
If you want to find the actual diameter, you need to measure from one edge of the inside of the barrel to the other. For example, if your overall diameter is 19.5 inches, the actual size will probably be 18 inches.
You’ll also want to be extremely careful when measuring the offset because otherwise, your rims won’t fit your tires. To start, you have to look for the distance between the hub mounting surface and the centerline of the wheel.
Also, make sure to measure or convert the offset size into millimeters since there are three different types:
- Zero: The centerline of the rim and the hub mounting surface are even.
- Positive: The hub mounting surface is near the face of the rim.
- Negative: Same as with positive, only the surface is near the back of the rim.
To measure the backspacing, you’ll have to take down the distance between the back lip of the rim and the hub surface of the car. The backspacing will determine how much the rims stick out past the fender.
Your bolt pattern will consist of two numbers. The first one tells you how many bolt holes your car has, and the other is the diameter of the circles that those holes make. These measurements can be both in millimeters and inches, so keep an eye out for that.
If you’re more of a visual person, you can check out YouTube tutorial to see how to measure your wheels and rims properly.
Top Wheel and Rim Manufacturers
Now, over the years, I’ve had a lot of cars and rims, and I can tell you there are some companies that stand out from the crowd.
To start, my top brand has to be O.Z. because of the way they combine design with durability. They focus on making alloy rims and have a huge selection on their website.
However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, I’d go for either Konig or Enkei. Enkei’s rims were built to last, and they even have a series that’s perfect for racing cars.
On the other hand, Konig has an enormous selection of products. Also, you can often get them at promotional prices.
And if you’re working with a tight budget, you can try website like Amazon. There, you can find great rims for a bargain — you just have to be on the lookout.
If you’ve thought about buying new rims just because your old ones have a few dents in them, you might want to reconsider. Repairing steel rims is pretty simple, and you only need a few tools for the job. You can run to the home improvement store and get a hammer and a few pieces of construction wood.
If you have alloy rims, you’ll also need a blowtorch to make them more flexible. However, I would only recommend repairing rims on your own if they have a few cracks on the edges.
On the other hand, if you see large deformations and huge dents, you’re better off getting new ones. Bigger dents can cause microscopic tears, and, in theory, your rims could fall off at high speeds.
I’ve done a complete article on repairing rims at home, so if you’re interested in the topic, you can click this link for more information.
Refurbishing Old Rims
Once you’ve taken the rims off, sand them down and clean thoroughly for the best results. After that, you can start applying the primer and paint and sealing it all in with a clear coat.
If you want to see how you can fix strached rims at home, check out link below.
As you can see, depending on the type and the dimensions of your rims, the prices can vary. For example, the cheapest ones I’ve had were only $20 each. However, lots of supercars have rims that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Before you commit to buying from any brand or store, first consider why you’re replacing them and what your end goal is.
If you want to boost your car’s performance and handling, I suggest you invest in your rims. But if the main reason you’re getting new ones is that the old ones look dull, I think refurbishing is the better choice.