Rims, the outermost part of the wheel, serve the functional purpose of holding the tire, enhancing car performance, and giving it a smoother ride. It’s used as an aesthetic that can also make a dull-looking ride look like a million bucks.
If you’re new to the auto world or never gave much thought to what type of rims your car needs, here you’ll find a quick cheat sheet on what to look for when it comes to your wheels.
Find the Right Size Rims
The first mistake that many car geeks make is prioritizing aesthetics over how it’ll affect your car and its performance. Before you go shopping for RTX rims, let’s look at functionality, what size you should look for in wheels and rims, and how it impacts your riding experience.
The rim size, as well as the tires, is important for the braking components, suspension parts, and the body of the vehicle. It indicates the number of lug holes and the spacing between them. Increasing the diameter gives you a more street-worthy look, but decreasing it allows for more tire sidewall and better off-road performance.
Offset and Backspace
The offset is defined as the distance between the hub-bearing surface and the centerline of the rim. If the face of the mounting hub is behind the centerline, somewhat inside of the barrel, it’s considered a negative offset. The opposite applies to it sitting towards the edge of the car – making it a positive offset.
It’s not just for appearance; while the offset can drastically change the look, it can also affect the way the suspension reacts to movements of the wheel.
Bolt patterns from the rims and your wheels must match to fit your vehicle properly. For instance, your car may have five lugs, but it doesn’t mean it’ll be a perfect fit. Use a template or chart indicated for your vehicle’s make, year, and class for ultimate accuracy.
Another important factor to consider is how well it can be mounted to a vehicle. You’ll mostly find rims that are hub-centric (when they fit precisely around the hub). Settle for anything else that doesn’t fit your wheel, and you’ll experience imbalance or vibration in your seat or steering wheel while driving.
Material and Maintenance
Rims come in common materials such as steel, aluminum, and chrome. Other types include magnesium alloy wheels. Here’s a little about each material and the advantages it brings.
Steel is considered old school since most standard wheels used to be made from it. Most commonly found as a 17-inch wheel, it’s one of the cheapest options compared to its competitors.
Aluminium is much lighter than steel, making it more fuel-efficient. It’s usually alloyed with some nickel.
These rims are incredibly durable, affordable, and highly used today. They’re also the lightest rims on the market.
Chrome trims were popular in the 1960s up until recently. It’s not exactly a material, but a finish applied to rims to resist rust and look brand new. However, it’s not scratch proof, is easily damaged from weather, and in some cases, it contains hazardous chemicals. Chrome has since been banned in some US states.
Ask an Expert
If you still don’t feel comfortable choosing your own rims, it would be best to ask a professional. They know exactly what they’re doing and will ask you the right questions to narrow down what you’re looking for.
When it comes to rims and wheels, there are so many makes and models to choose from it’ll make your head spin. On the bright side, it gives you a wide range of prices, materials, and appearances to choose from when it’s time to optimize your ride.
If all else fails, one foolproof way to get the desired size, material, and look you want is meeting up with an expert. Any reputable car shop will be able to guide you through the ins and outs of car wheels, help you find the right size, and how to make them work the best for you.