What Are the Differences Between Rims & Wheels?

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The differences between rims and wheels is basically terminology, as many people refer to rims as wheels. Find out what materials are used to make rims or wheels, such as stamped steel or aluminum, with help from a certified master mechanic in this free video on car terminology.

Part of the Video Series: Car Maintenance
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Video Transcript

Good afternoon. My name is Tom Brintzenhofe, certified master mechanic, out of Redding, Pennsylvania, and today, I'm going to answer a question, is what is the difference between rims and wheels? We'll sum it up pretty quick. All basic wheels are basically the same, it's just the terminology might be a little bit off. When you're looking for rims per se, you either have them, either they make them stamp steel, or they make them in aluminum. Now, a lot of the aluminum wheels, they actually call rims. If you stop at your local parts store, and you say you want an aluminum wheel, and they're going to say, What type do you want? They call them rims, wheels. There's really not a difference out there, it's just basically what you're looking for. There can be stamp steel, or aluminum based, or sometimes you can find some cast out there. There's not too many of them left anymore, that's old type cars, but basically, there isn't much difference. They all come basically in different sizes, but say this one here is a sixteen inch, this is a sixteen inch. You can see the difference. This one here is all aluminum. This one here is all steel, I don't know if you can really see that too much through the camera, but that's basically the only difference between aluminum wheels and rims. It's just basically what they're made out of. They're all basically called the same thing, but hopefully, that sums it up for you, as to what the difference is between rims and wheels.


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