Keeping your vehicle wheeling along requires more than just tires – you also need rims; and not necessarily some super-slick shiny monster rims, either. The size of the wheels and the rims are important and relate directly to how the vehicle performs overall. The material of the wheels and rims is also correlated to how well the tires hold up on the road.

“Wheel” and “rim” are both terms that mean the metal base that attaches to the vehicle’s axle and is used to support the tire.

Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect type of rims for your vehicle:

  • Alloy wheels: Alloys are used for applications where you need speed and good looks, such as for racing vehicles. They are also relatively resistant to corrosion.

  • Chrome wheels: Chrome wheels need regular cleaning to maintain their luster and have a high polished shine.

  • Steel wheels: Steel wheels provide a lower cast ability than alloys, are not as light as some of the other metals and also generally have a lower center of gravity making them the heaviest and most durable option available. Steel wheels are great for snow or rugged terrains.

  • Spoke wheels: Spoke wheels, or wire wheels, are incredibly light while still providing a fair amount of support to the vehicle. These wheels are characterized by the additional time that they take to clean due to the spokes that you have to clean between.

  • Terrain: The terrain that you’re going to be driving in will make a huge difference – if you want to go off-roading, you’re almost certainly going to need steel wheels. However, if you’re racing, an alloy or spoke is what you want to go with.

  • Size: Measurements of tires are incredibly important, be sure you’re getting the right size rims for your vehicle or you will be making a quick return.

There are a wide variety of different rims – once you decide the different characteristics that you need, you can start narrowing down the hundreds of options.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy Good Quality Rims and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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