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What to look for when buying used rims

     When you own a car, upkeep is always a priority. Even if you purchase your car new there are things that must be regularly replaced. While this is very important, it can also be very expensive, so many people will generally try to save a little money by buying used items. In most cases this doesn’t present a real problem but when it comes to purchasing used rims there are definitely some precautions that need to be taken.

    Replacing rims is relatively easy to do and when you have a good pair it can not only make for a safer ride and smoother performance but it can also enhance the aesthetics of the vehicle. Some rims are so decorative they are a way for the vehicle owner to express his personality and sense of style.

There are many different types of wheels and rims that can be purchased for various purposes so when it’s time to shop around there are a few things that you must take into consideration.


    Not all used rims are the same. Even with the same make and model of a vehicle there could be variations. This is mainly due to performance factors. How a vehicle performs on the road will depend largely on driving conditions, the way the driver operates the vehicle, or the environment where the vehicle is driven in. One person may be driving the car in the city while another one may spend most of his driving time in the countryside. One may be using the vehicle to transport family members but others may use it to haul materials. How you use your vehicle will determine the size of the rims that will work best for you. Some may even purchase used rims that are considerably smaller than is recommended by the manufacturer while others may want them to be larger.

    When you’re purchasing used rims always make sure they’re the right size for the make, model, and purpose of your vehicle. Using rims with the wrong measurements can cause a negative impact on performance of the vehicle in a number of ways that can range from minor vibrations when driving to creating a major safety hazard. Always make sure to take proper measurements before you decide on a purchase. Here are just a few measurements you need to be familiar with before you buy used rims.

    Bolt Pattern: The bolt pattern is the arrangement of lug holes on the wheel. The pattern is not the same on all vehicles so some rims will require more bolts to fix the tire to the rim but it may also differ in the spacing between bolts. Bolt patterns are usually consistent with the same vehicle manufacturer but not always so make sure you know your bolt pattern before you make a decision.

    Centerbore: You must know the size of the centerbore or the hole in the middle of the rim. This hole is the key part of the rim that will secure the wheel to the vehicle. Not matching the size of the centerbore can lead to major problems in performance and safety.

    Offset: The offset determines how the wheel is positioned in relation to the vehicle. A negative offset will cause the wheel to stick out further from the vehicle than it should be while a positive offset will give it a more flat appearance.

    Backspace: Similar to the offset, the backspace can influence how the wheel is affixed to the vehicle. It is measured from the back of the wheel’s mounting surface to the edge of the rim. A smaller backspace will cause the wheel to stick out more while a large backspace will keep it sitting closer to the vehicle.

    Diameter and Width: While it is possible to upgrade to a larger rim size you must be careful to make sure that the upgrade is going to be safe, especially if you plan to use a size that is beyond the manufacturer’s recommendations. Choosing a wheel that is too wide may cause it to rub against the body of the car and cause serious damage in the process.

Impact on Performance:

    Once you have all the proper measurements you are almost ready to shop for used rims for your vehicle. Just getting the right size is only half of the challenge. Whether you choose to buy the same size as the original rims, go a size larger or smaller, you need to know how those changes will affect the performance of your drive.

    When you purchase used rims with a larger diameter, it can improve the speed of your steering response. Because of the smaller sidewall there will be more wheel in contact with the road. This can be a benefit if you’re looking for better maneuverability.

    The weight of the rims can also have an impact on performance. Some rims are made from special alloys that are much lighter in weight than standard rims. When using these rims, the vehicle’s steering accuracy can be greatly enhanced, especially when making tight turns. The lighter weight also allows for the tire to have a better grip on the road.

What to Look for When Buying Used Rims:

    Whenever you are considering a set of used rims it is always important to ask a lot of questions. You want to be absolutely sure that you are getting exactly what you want. Start with matching the rims to the measurements you already have. You can size up or down as long as you stay within the boundaries of the manufacturer’s recommendations and you understand how the new size will affect performance.


    It is always important to do a thorough inspection of the used rims before you purchase them. If they have tires already mounted, insist on removing the tires so you can examine them carefully. Some used rims have been damaged and welded back together again. It is up to you if you want to take that kind of risk when you’re making a purchase. If you plan on driving under normal road conditions and the welding job has been professionally done that may not present a problem. However, a careful examination of the welding job is still essential to make sure that you’re getting something that is going to be both safe and reliable.

    Buying new wheels and rims for your car can do much more than change the way your car looks. If done correctly, it can enhance performance, improve the aesthetics, and even save you money in the end. However, it is not something you should do without first doing careful research and knowing exactly what is needed to get the most out of your purchase.

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