How to Choose the Correct Rims for Your Vehicle

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Rims

Rims are among the most noticeable parts of a vehicle, but they also have a larger influence on how a vehicle performs than many drivers realize. It is for this reason that changing your vehicle's rims can be a great way both to achieve particular performance benefits and to give your vehicle a more striking appearance.

In order to choose the correct rims for your vehicle, you should understand what exactly a rim is, how it fits into single-piece and multi-piece wheels, and how to match rims to tires. Choosing the correct rims for your vehicle also depends on your awareness of how rims can affect a vehicle's performance and the different rim styles available. Once you have a solid knowledge of rims, you can find the ones that you want from a source such as a brick and mortar auto supply store or an online marketplace like eBay.
 

Understanding Vehicle Rims

Some confusion exists regarding what a rim actually is. Many consumers use this term interchangeably with "wheel," but this creates confusion that can lead to mistakes when trying to choose the correct rims for your vehicle. Understanding what a rim is, how it fits into single-piece and multi-piece wheels, and how to match rims to your tires are important first steps toward successfully purchasing the right rims.

What Is a Rim?

A rim is the outer edge of a wheel, and it holds the tire firmly in place so that the tire can rotate in conjunction with the rest of the wheel. The rim connects to the wheel hub via spokes. Many consumers use the term "rim" to describe the entire wheel, including the part technically considered the rim, and consumers may also use the "rims" term as a catchall to describe eye-catching aftermarket wheels. For the purposes of the below information, "rims" are replacement wheels purchased as an upgrade over the wheels fitted to a vehicle during factory assembly.

Rims in Single-Piece Wheels and Multi-Piece Wheels

Consumers can purchase rims as part of single-piece wheels or as separate pieces to fit with multi-piece wheels. Many wheel manufacturers cast the rim, the hub, and the spokes together in single-piece wheels, while other manufacturers cast these parts separately and attach them to one another. Single-piece wheels tend to cost less than multi-piece ones do, but they also require replacement of the entire wheel if damage occurs to just one part of it. Consumers can replace just the rims on multi-piece wheels if necessary.

Matching Rims to Tires

If you would like to keep the tires that you currently use for your vehicle and purchase just new rims, it is important to match the new rims to your tires. In most cases, the overall diameter of the rim and tire together remains the same even as the diameter of the rim increases, which you accomplish by fitting a tire with a shorter sidewall to a rim with a longer diameter. If you want to match rims to your tires, your new rims should have the same diameter as your old ones do. You should also pay attention to the width of a set of rims, since this should also be the same as the width of your tires.

In addition to maintaining rim diameter, you should ensure that your new rims have the same bolt pattern as the old ones do. Your vehicle has a set number of bolts for affixing the wheels, so your new rims should have the same bolt pattern in order to ensure compatibility between your new rims and your vehicle.
 

Choose the Correct Rims for Your Vehicle According to Performance and Style

Your vehicle's rims have a large impact on how your vehicle performs and looks. Learning how rims can affect a vehicle's drivability and style helps you to select the correct rims for your vehicle.

Enhancing Performance with New Rims and Tires

You can also choose to enhance your vehicle's performance by purchasing new rims and tires together. Altering the size of your rims can change how your vehicle rides, and the rims' material can also affect performance.

Size

Increasing rim diameter generally shortens the tire's sidewall, thereby improving the tire's grip on the road and the vehicle's handling and steering response. Widening the rim therefore improves the tire stability on corners, some of which would be lost if the rim were only taller and not wider.

Plus Sizing is the concept of increasing the rim's diameter and width and adding a tire with a shorter sidewall. The table below illustrates some examples of Plus Sizing that achieve more noticeable rims and enhance performance as mentioned above.
 

Plus Size

Rim Diameter

Rim Width

Original

16"

7"

Plus One

17"

7.5"

Plus Two

18"

8"

Plus Three

19"

9"

 

You can also add larger rims and tires with a higher sidewall to your vehicle, but you must make sure that there is enough space for the tire to rotate without hitting the fender. Increasing the overall radius of the tire and rim together can also slow down your vehicle and decrease the effectiveness of anti-lock braking.

Material

Rims are usually made of aluminum or steel. The former weighs less, which helps your vehicle to conserve gas, while the latter material is heavier, making it more durable. You are also more likely to feel bumps in the road when you have heavier rims, as the vibrations from impact transfer up through your vehicle's suspension. Many aluminum rims are an alloy comprised of mostly aluminum mixed with a few stronger metals. Aluminum rims also tend to dissipate brake heat more effectively than steel rims do.


Style Considerations

The options are limitless when it comes to choosing the style of rims you want for your vehicle. Aftermarket rim manufacturers create all kinds of designs with different spoke patterns and colors. Chrome adds a noticeable shine to your vehicle, but black rims can also give your vehicle curbside appeal. Red rims or accents, on the other hand, provide an original and customized look.

Increasing rim size is an important aspect of styling a vehicle. Larger rims tend to make a vehicle more eye-catching, even if the overall tire-plus-rim diameter remains the same. Bigger rims especially give trucks and SUVs a more commanding presence on the road.
 

How to Buy the Correct Rims for Your Vehicle on eBay

eBay is a particularly effective source for buying the correct rims for your vehicle because there is a wide selection of them on the site, and you can easily find rims that are compatible with your vehicle.

Searching for Rims on eBay

“To find rims for your vehicle visit the car and truck wheels category and enter information specific to your vehicle in the parts finder at the top of the page.  You can then use the left navigation refinements or the search box to narrow the list of results.”
 

Conclusion

If you would like to choose the correct rims for your vehicle, you must first understand that the rim is technically only one part of a wheel, but that the term can also mean the entire wheel when used to refer to aftermarket rims. You can purchase rims separately from wheels if your vehicle has multi-part wheels, and you may also choose to match rims to your current tires. If you want to change both your rims and your tires, you can alter the rim-to-tire aspect ratio. This affects both how your vehicle performs and looks.

When you understand how to choose the correct rims for your vehicle, you can visit eBay in order to purchase them. On the site, you can find a broad selection of rims and easily sort the listings to find the ones that are compatible with your vehicle.

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