Looking to get new rims for your car? There are many options depending on what you are looking for.
Rims fall into two main categories original equipment manufactured (OEM) and aftermarket wheels. OEM wheels are the wheels that were specifically made for the car; they meet the quality standards of the manufacturer and therefore are the best option. Both are available new, used, or reconditioned to a like new state.
New OEM wheels can be purchased from the dealer but they are on the expensive side. Cost ranges from $400 up to $1,000 per wheel or more.
Reconditioned OEM wheels are a more economical option. These rims are used but have been brought back to a like new condition. They can be located through a wheel repair shop for a fraction of the cost of a new wheel.
Used OEM wheels are another cheaper option and can be found through the Internet. These may have some cosmetic damages but as long as they don’t have any structural damages such as bends or cracks they should be okay.
The last and often most economical option for OEM rims is not to replace them but to have them repaired, restored, or customized. This can be done at a rim repair center. Bent and cracked rims can be straightened and welded. Cosmetic damages such as curb rash, scuff marks and chipping paint can be repaired and refinished. Wheels can be re-polished or recolored to any color. Even damaged chrome can be powder coated if properly prepped. If the wheel has no damage and you are simply looking for a new look, a specialty shop can create customized effects such as pinstripes etc.
New aftermarket wheels are another option. These come in a much greater variety of styles, finishes, sizes, weight and prices. The quality of these wheels also varies from the cheaper made in China versions that start around $100 per wheel to the high-end, cutting edge technology of the big brand names that can cost up to and over $1,000 per wheel.
There are many reasons why aftermarket wheels are so popular. They come in a larger variety of finishes, including the popular chrome plating. The new trend in aftermarket wheels is upsizing as well as a deep, concave inset look and staggered sizes. Some brands specialize in top of the line, ultra lightweight racing wheels. Other companies pride themselves in trendy styles and superior quality. The price for specialized wheels goes up accordingly.
The biggest draw back to aftermarket wheels may actually be one of the reasons they are so appealing: their uniqueness. Aftermarket wheels are released in editions of limited numbers. Once the supply runs out, if a wheel is damaged beyond repair, a replacement wheel is difficult, if not impossible to locate.
Whether you are looking for OEM or aftermarket rims, you may have more options available than you realized. The most important thing is that the wheels are structurally sound and are the right fit for your car.