Besides a home, automobiles are most people's most valuable assets. The last thing car owners want is damage to their vehicles, and that includes damage to wheel rims, which become worn and aged over time. New wheel rims can make an old car look brand new while improving the overall driving performance. The right wheel rims can even give a car some personality with custom designs and sleek styles. However, not all wheel rims are created equally. Different vehicles require different wheel rims in different sizes in order to fit correctly. Some vehicles may use the same wheel rims as another car, but a cross-reference guide or car manual should be consulted for proper wheel rim sizing.
Both custom and standard rims can be ordered through some brick and mortar automotive shops or online at websites like eBay. The beginning to a new look for your car starts with learning more about how to buy wheel rims that fit your specific vehicle.
Terms for Measuring Wheel Rims
When reading the owner's manual for your specific vehicle to find out about wheel rims, there may be a few terms that seem like another language, but these elements are essential to buying the correct type and size wheel rims for your car. Understanding what a bolt pattern or a hub centre bore is guarantees a more successful shopping experience when looking for wheel rims.
Also called lug pattern or bolt circle
Refers to the diameter of the circle formed by the wheel lugs seen on the exterior of the wheel rims
Comprised of two numbers: the first refers to how many bolt holes are on the wheel, while the second describes the diameter (5x108 indicates a 5 lug bolt pattern in a 108 millimetre diameter)
Dual bolt patterns are becoming more popular with car manufacturers
Dual patterns allow more wheel rim fitments to apply to the vehicle
Hub Centre Bore
Central hole that keeps the wheel centred on the hub of the car
Wheels are installed with a torque wrench
Freshly installed wheels should be retorqued after the first 100 kilometres to keep everything tight
Refers to the distance from the hub mounting surface of the wheel to its centreline
Three types: zero, positive, and negative
Zero offset: everything is even
Positive offset: mounting surface is leaning towards the front or wheel-side of the wheel
Positive common on front wheel drive cars
Negative offset: mounting surface leans toward the back or brake side of the wheel's centreline
Negative causes tyres to look like they are jutting out from under the car
By understanding what terms like bolt pattern and zero offset mean, car owners can be more successful in finding the right wheel rims for their specific vehicles. These terms are typically featured in the descriptions and, in some cases, the names of the products.
What to Look for When Buying Wheel Rims
When shopping around for the right rims to fit your vehicle, several factors come into play. The first element that the buyer may want to consider is the desired look for the wheel rims. Many car owners just want to find standard wheel rims to replace old, dented rims, while others may want a sportier look to reflect the excellent performance of the vehicle. Some car owners shop for wheel rims that look unique and downright flashy. Owners who drive vehicles with very large tyres need special wheel rims that can accommodate huge tyre sizes. This overarching question of style guides the entire buying process.
Wheel Rim Materials
Wheel rims are available in two main types of metal: aluminium and steel. The famously reflective chrome wheels are aluminium-based, and other aluminium wheel rims come in black and silver colours. While aluminium has a lustrous shine, it dirties very easily and also dents, scratches, and peels easily. Aluminium wheel rims need to be cleaned often and properly cared for to prevent any dents. Alloy wheels made from aluminium are good for those who do a lot of driving through the mountains or in stop-and-go traffic, as the design allows for more airflow to cool the brakes and prevent overheating. Some alloy wheels are made with magnesium instead of aluminium.
On the other hand, steel wheel rims are strong, durable, and not as difficult to keep clean. However, they do not feature the shine that aluminium offers and are often downright dull in colour. For those who desire a sleek look with steel wheel rims, a matte black coloured finish can give a sharp and subtle look to a car. The matte black colour also hides dirt from driving around, and they benefit from the strength and durability of the metal.
Wheel Rim Size
Proper sizing of the wheel rims for one's vehicle is essential to proper performance. Choose a size that is too small, and the tyres do not fit or support a car well, but wheel rims that are too big take away stability and proper suspension from the car's design and create poor steering control, not to mention they may not fit the car's tyres or body. There are two ways to customise a wheel rim's size: plus sizing and inching up.
Plus sizing a wheel rim increases the size of the inner line's diameter, not the outer line. This offset gives more stability and control to the steering of the tyres, while giving the overall car a much sportier look. The tyres need to fit, or else new tyres have to be purchased. The bolt pattern should also still align with the car body, or the new wheel rims are useless.
Inching up refers to making the wheel rim larger in diameter while matching the tyre so that the height remains the same. At the same time, the sidewall of the tyre becomes thinner and creates a larger contact patch for the wheel. This, in turn, gives a car better overall performance, better traction, better manoeuvrability, and a very sharp look.
Wheel Rim Design
There are all sorts of designs for wheel rims, and they vary in concept, including the spoke layout, the shine and type of metal, the amount of moving parts, colours if the metal is painted, and size. Large-size rims are more aesthetically pleasing. Rims can be simply designed, or they can have spokes that spin. Whatever the desired look, the design should match the overall intended style of the car.
Wheel Rim Bolt Pattern
The most important factor when shopping for wheel rims is ensuring that the bolt pattern of the wheel rims matches the pattern on the car's body. If they do not match, the wheel rims are completely useless. This can be avoided by looking at the bolt pattern for the make and model and comparing it with available wheel rims when shopping. Custom wheel rims must adhere to this same rule, as well.
New vs. Used Wheel Rims
Both new and used wheel rims can be purchased through various sources. The main benefit of buying previously owned wheel rims is that they are significantly cheaper, and this saves the owner money in the long run. Quality, stylish wheel rims do not have to be expensive or brand new. Used rims, if in good condition, can look just as good as new ones. When shopping for used wheel rims, however, it is recommended that the buyer check for dents, scratches, or other signs of wear and tear before agreeing on a price.
Shopping for Wheel Rims for Your Specific Vehicle on eBay
When looking for the right wheel rims for your car, finding a specific listing that meets your needs is only a couple of mouse clicks away. Wheel rims can be found on eBay through eBay Motors or by using the search box from the main homepage. First, eBay Motors gives you the ability to hone your search results to make them compatible with only the make and model of your car. You can also search for wheel rims for your car on the main eBay page by entering keywords like 'black steel wheel rims' into eBay's search box.
Researching the reputation of sellers on eBay before committing to a purchase is important when shopping on the site. The risk of dissatisfaction is greatly reduced when you trust the seller and the quality of his or her items. Reading the feedback left by previous customers should help you determine if you feel confident doing business with a particular seller.
When wheel rims get scratched or damaged, replacing them can seem like an impossible errand. Finding wheel rims for your car should not be a hassle or a perilous quest. Replacing worn, dented, or boring wheel rims simply takes a little initiative. Customers can find all sorts of wheel rims, from steel to alloy, from large to small, and from new to used. The most important factor to look for when shopping for wheel rims, however, is the specific bolt pattern. The pattern on the wheel rims has to perfectly match your vehicle's pattern for the rims to fit. Some cars feature double bolt patterning, which enables more wheel rim types to fit the vehicles.
Wheel rims that are stylish, clean, reliable, and the right size for your specific vehicle can be purchased online through websites like eBay or locally at traditional automotive stores. Consumers can be driving around with a new set of wheels in no time.