What Are Rims?

Save

Rims are a standard structural element of a car's design, but these metal cylinders can also be a custom accessory that improves the car's appearance, traction and steering. Car enthusiasts of all kinds browse the huge aftermarket selection for rims that suit their vehicle and make a statement that's often as distinctive as the owners themselves.

Function

  • Technically the rim is the outer perimeter of the wheel, a circular band of metal that holds the tire. Over time, however, wheels without hubcaps, particularly the custom wheels sold to enhance hot rods and low-riders, have come to be referred to as rims.

    The size and style of rims affect not only the looks of the car, but also the ride and handling. Shiny chrome rims are flashy and get the car noticed. Larger diameter rims are used with low profile tires for improved handling. Choose lightweight alloy rims for easy maneuverability in city traffic.

Size

  • Rims are measured by diameter, starting at 13 inches for small cars and going up to 30 inches for SUVs and trucks. Car owners often change standard size rims to larger diameter rims for a different look, or to provide better traction and handling. Drastically changing the rim size requires adaptations to the suspension to ensure the car handles correctly and operates safely. Rims are also available in varying widths, and must match the tire section width for proper, safe car function.

Types

  • Standard wheel rims are made of steel, while custom rims are usually cast aluminum alloy or magnesium alloy. Magnesium tires ("mag wheels" or mags") are super lightweight rims used for racing. They are impractical for street driving and can be flammable after a blowout.

    Rims come in a variety of sizes to fit every car, matching the standard size or altering it to change the appearance or handling. Rim finishes typically run in varying shades and sheens of gray, chrome and silver, but can also be white, black, blue, gold and other custom colors. Rims can have solid or spoked styles, with infinite design details that range from subtle grooves to interlaced spokes to carved figure silhouettes. Spinner rims attract a lot of attention as they rotate freely even after the car has stopped moving.

    Choose the offset on the rims you buy. Front-wheel-drive offset means the center spider is flush or nearly flush with the exterior edge of the rim, while the spider is set further back for rear-wheel-drive offset. Be aware that offset is labeled rear or front wheel drive, but is not necessarily tied to the car's drive mechanism.

Considerations

  • Not all rims will work with your car's design. Use print and online resources like the "Wheel Visualizer" from Custom Wheels and Car Rims' website to view different styles with your vehicle. Too large rims can cause your tires to rub against the fender or parts of the undercarriage, causing damage. Remember to check that you can turn the wheels fully without scraping along any part of the car. Some rims may not allow space for your brake system, so be sure you have a compatible style before you buy.

    Remember that going larger or smaller than factory size rims will cause your odometer to register mileage incorrectly. Take your car to a reliable transmission shop or custom car experts to have the speedometer gear in the transmission altered to match your new rims.

Warning

  • Heat will cause tires to expand. If your new rims and tires have just enough clearance when it's cool out, replace with smaller rims to avoid inevitable rubbing and damage at warmer temperatures.

    Rear-wheel-drive offset is necessary when selecting spinning rims. Spinners should ride inside the rim, not extend past the edge where it can get damaged or hit the body of the car on bumps and turns.

  • Photo Credit Chrome Rims With Low Profile Tires, c2004 Bram Angelgear, stock xchng
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • Difference Between Hot Wheels Cars and Matchbox Cars

    Both owned by Mattel as of publication, Hot Wheels and Matchbox are iconic brands of miniature toy car. The products offered by...

  • Parts of a Car & Their Functions

    A car is a complex machine with several systems functioning simultaneously. While most modern cars contain computerized systems that are beyond the...

  • Types of Car Rims

    Wheels have come a long way in design since their invention. The wheels of today come in an unlimited variety of styles...

  • What Are OEM Wheels?

    OEM is an acronym for "Original Equipment Manufacturer." OEM wheels are simply wheels that were originally offered by the manufacturer with a...

  • What Is the Function of Car Struts?

    Car struts are a common alternative to basic shocks. Although very similar in design and function, struts add a little more stability...

  • What Are Aluminum Alloy Wheels?

    Aluminum alloy wheels are used on many cars and trucks as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) equipment as well as after-market upgrades. Alloy...

  • What Are Car Rims Made Of?

    Car rims can be made from several materials. Each material used in a car rim can affect its weight, strength, durability and...

  • How to Replace the Wheels on Luggage

    When the wheels on your luggage break, it is not necessary to buy new luggage. You can replace the wheels in many...

  • How to Measure Tire Rim Size

    Automotive tires have four measurements to consider, while the wheels or rims they sit on have two. Rims are measured in diameter...

  • How to Design Car Rims

    Designing your own custom car rims can seem like something only automobile manufacturers can do. However, with today's digital technology, designing your...

  • What Are Floater Rims?

    Have you ever seen a car that seems to float over the ground? In reality, the car is not floating. The car...

  • What Are Rims?

    Rims are the devices that allow tires to be mounted to a car, and they come in various bolt patterns and diameters...

  • What Are the Differences Between Rims & Wheels?

    The differences between rims and wheels is basically terminology, as many people refer to rims as wheels. Find out what materials are...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How To Travel For Free With Reward Points

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!