The Different Kinds of Car Rims and Wheels

Different kind of rims and wheels at Audiosport Escondido.

When it comes to the most popular aftermarket car upgrades, new rims and wheels usually top the list. Not only do they add an instant boost in appearance, but some custom wheels can also improve driving performance. All the advancements in automotive technology and the sheer amount of options available make choosing new rims and wheels a complex and sometimes daunting decision. So, we’re here to give you a hand. Below, we’ve gathered up some basic info on the different kinds of car rims and wheels available. Take a look, and then let’s talk!

Materials Matter With Car Rims & Wheels

Vehicle wheels have come a long way since their wooden origins—or stone, if you want to go really far back in time. Aside from high-end carbon fiber wheels, most modern wheels and rims are made from these metals:

Aluminum Car Wheels Are Light & Agile

Much lighter than steel, wheels made with aluminum are usually alloyed with some nickel, but they’re still lightweight enough to offer a more agile performance and better acceleration.

Aluminum or Magnesium Alloy Rims Are More Responsive

Popular, durable, and reasonably priced, these wheels make vehicle handling—including braking—much more responsive. They’re also lighter than aluminum/nickel alloys, although a little more expensive.

Chrome Rims Are Less Prone to Rust

Fashionable aluminum or steel wheels layered with chrome used to be expensive, but not with today’s chroming techniques. And while they’re a bit heavier, chrome wheels are less prone to rust.

A Peek into the Process to Manufacture Wheels

The process used to manufacture wheels can have a surprisingly significant impact on performance and pricing.

Casting Wheels By Pouring Molten Metal into a Wheel-Shaped Mold

Most aluminum wheels are made by pouring molten metal into a wheel-shaped mold, a process that’s inexpensive for most consumers but still results in a strong and lightweight wheel. One downfall of cast wheels, however, is that they’re difficult to repair.

Flow Forming Wheels Uses a High-Heat or High-Pressure Spinning Machine

Starting out with a low-pressure casting process, flow forming uses a high-heat/high-pressure spinning machine to create the outer hoops of the wheel. Flow-formed wheels are lighter and stronger than cast wheels, while still relatively low in price.

Forging Wheels By Forcing a Round Bar of Metal Under Extreme Pressure

Forged wheels are made by forcing a round bar of metal between forging dies under extreme pressure, creating a one-piece wheel that is both dense and lightweight. Although forged wheels are on the more expensive side, there are also two-piece options that are still light and strong but not as pricey.

Sizing and Other Tech Specs for Car Rims and Wheels

A common consumer impulse when upgrading wheels are to buy the biggest rims possible. But depending on your car and your needs, biggest might not mean best.

Wheel Size Versus the Size of Your Tires

The diameter of your wheels must match the diameter of your tire, so unless you’re upgrading your tires as well, your 17” tires, for example, can only be fitted on a new 17” rim.

Clearance Inside the Fender for Choosing New Rims

You’ll need to consider the wheel’s clearance inside the fender when choosing new rims—if you increase the rim size, you’ll also need to decrease the tire’s side profile to maintain the same outer diameter.

Bolt Pattern Must Watch Your Car Rims and Wheels

No matter how attractive your “dream rims” might be, if the bolt pattern doesn’t match your wheel hub (five bolt holes versus six lug nuts, for example), you won’t get far in the installation process.

Personalized Performance Goals for Car Rims and Wheels

Determining why you want to upgrade your wheels is just as important to your buying decision as materials and sizes—in fact, it should probably be the first question you ask yourself.

Appearance of Your Rims or Wheels

If aesthetics are the most important factor in your buying decision, keep the same size wheel and focus on choosing the slickest rims to your taste.

Better Handling with Larger-Diameter Wheels

Larger-diameter wheels add responsiveness, improve stability, and offer better cornering abilities. However, you’ll need to invest in larger tires as well.

Smoother Ride With New Rims and Wheels

Smaller wheels combined with taller sidewall tires will result in a more comfortable ride with less road feedback, mitigating impacts like potholes and speed bumps.

All-Weather Capabilities With Larger Wheels and Rims

Larger wheels for better handling are great for all kinds of extreme weather, but you’ll also need to consider the wheel material and type of finish to protect your rims in certain climates.

Ready to upgrade your car’s appearance and performance in Escondido?

At Audiosport in Escondido, we offer a wide selection of rims and wheels for any kind of car or truck, plus tires to match if you need them. We carry only the best brands and provide stellar customer service to make sure you find everything you need to get your car looking and driving its very best.

And there’s never been a better time to upgrade—at Audiosport, we’re currently offering huge discounts and deals on select tires, rims, and wheels, plus wheel and tire packages for the best combination possible. So stop in and see us in Escondido today.