Guide to Buying Replacement Wheels and Tires

In the last several years, the automobile industry has undergone such significant changes. A decade ago, today’s popular models, like the Smart, were unheard of, and probably wouldn’t have made it past the prototype stage. As our values have not simply shifted, but have diversified, the automotive world must take pains to cater to the many faces of today’s consumer. In spite of these efforts, manufacturers are simply not capable of anticipating all consumers’ needs, hence the popularity of custom after-market accessories. At the top of this list are wheels.

Replacing the original manufacturer’s wheels with custom wheels to a vehicle individualizes the appearance, enhances the performance, and in most cases, increases the re-sell value.

The word rim is used interchangeably with the word wheel, and while “wheel” is generally meant to refer to the wheel and the tire together, the rim is only the metal part onto which the tire is mounted. Semantics aside, replacement wheels are an easy and affordable way to improve and customize your car. There are a variety of places where you can find new wheels, including tire retailers, custom auto shops, and car dealerships. You can also find a massive selection of wheel sizes and types online, in addition to a dazzling array of rim finishes, colors, and styles. While you can rely on wheels that are made specifically to match your car, custom wheels are made to accommodate several makes and models, so you may have to do a little reading to figure it out.

Buying your wheels online is convenient, in that you can do it any time of day, from anywhere you have access to Internet, and have your wheels shipped directly to you or your service station. Shopping online can also afford you big savings, as many websites offer wheel and tire packages, along with cleaning and maintenance products, at a lower price. But don’t bypass brick and mortar stores completely; they can be valuable sources of information, and, as most tire retailers have huge year-end sales, you might just clean up when you by last year’s model. Another advantage of buying your new wheels in person is that you are far less likely to buy the wrong thing.

A salesperson will work with you to help you find the best product to suit your vehicle, whereas if you are driving blind through the online stores, your new wheels may not properly fit your car. The wrong sized wheels can make for a noisy, bumpy ride, and can even do damage to your car. What’s more, if the wheels on your car are incorrectly fitted, your car could be unsafe to drive. Make sure before you buy that you are aware of the diameter of your wheels, as well as the width. Also, have your tires balanced and rotated after the new wheels are mounted.

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