What Are Rims?

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Rims are the devices that allow tires to be mounted to a car, and they come in various bolt patterns and diameters according to the manufacturer's standard. Understand the role the rims play on a car with automotive advice from an ASE-certified master mechanic in this free video on car maintenance.

Part of the Video Series: Car Maintenance & Troubleshooting
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Mark and in this segment we're going to cover what are automobile rims or wheels? Well the rim is a device that holds a tire and allows it to be mounted to the car. This is an older style steel rim. One of the draw backs of steel as you can see is the rust on it. They're real inexpensive to make. They're usually a two piece design, the outer ring being stamped from one. The inner ring being stamped from another piece and is spot riveted into or welded to connect the two pieces together. That's typically how a rim was made for many years. As you can see the difference between the the two rims here, rims come in different sizes and they also have different bolt patterns for the cars. Which is specific for manufactures to cars. So not all tires and rims are interchangeable. They have to have the same bolt pattern and diameter and spacing on the bolt pattern. And they have to have the same size tire and rim in order for them to work on a specific vehicle. This rim or this tire, the rim itself on this one it's got two different bolt patterns. As you can see it's bolted on by four bolts and it also has two additional holes there to accommodate two different four bolt patterns. So this is a universal type rim. It can be used on a couple different type of cars. Also today a lot of the rims are manufactured out of aluminum; other composites that are very light even carbon fiber to save weight now days. The two basic type of aluminums would be a cast aluminum, something that's poured into a mold and the other type would be a billet type aluminum, something that's cut out of a solid block. And these can be much lighter and also a little bit more expensive than the steel rims but they don't corrode and rust and deteriorate like the steel rims do. So that's basically what a rim is for an automobile, it's just a device as I said that holds the tire and allows it to be mounted to the car.

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