Putting custom wheels on your vehicle can spice up your ride to bring back some of that new-car excitement. New wheels can also improve driving performance. custom rims and tires
But choosing tires and wheels for today’s automobiles is a lot more complex than it used to be, given all the smart technology built into modern vehicles and the huge variety of tire types now available.
Before you buy, it’s good to know about the tradeoffs that come with changing your wheel and tire size. Your choices may affect handling. In some vehicles there could be a sacrifice in all-season traction, in others it may enhance it. You’ll likely get more responsiveness, with your ride more sensitive to road conditions than what you felt with OE (original equipment wheel and tire package). Your tire tread life could be improved or shortened.
It’s also good to have a basic understanding of fitment, meaning what wheel-tire sizes can be properly mounted on your vehicle. Without knowing, you risk a setup that could affect vehicle clearance, cause vibration issues and alter your ride quality. The wrong package can cause contact with fenders, inner fenders, struts, shocks, tie rods, brake calipers and other suspension parts.
Here’s what to know about choosing wheel-tire packages that will meet your driving goals and correctly fit your vehicle.
FIRST, SOME TERMINOLOGY: ARE WHEELS AND RIMS THE SAME?
People often refer to wheels and rims as the same thing. The rim is actually part of the full wheel. It’s the outermost part of the wheel. It supports the tire and creates an airtight seal.
The wheel refers to the whole shebang. It’s a metal disc with spokes and a specific bolt pattern (the pattern of holes) where fasteners called lug nuts or lug bolts attach the wheel to the vehicle’s hub.