How much do car rims cost?

The quick answer is that there is no fixed price, more a range that you can pitch your requirements within.  Of course like all things the more you know about car rims, the less you are likely to make an unnecessarily expensive purchase and the better you can look after your money.

There are a lot of rims on the market and you need to work out some variables – the year of your car, the make and the model will all affect the rim available to be fitted.  The choices you make will affect the price, the type of wheels, the finish and the amount of work you are prepared to do yourself.

Let’s start by breaking it right down.

There are two different types of the wheel out there, steel and alloy.

Steel wheels are made from steel – well the clue isn’t always in the name – and they are cheaper than alloy, and easier to get hold of and to replace if they are damaged.  They are also less likely to take damage.

Alloy wheels are made from?  Yep – alloy!  Aluminum alloy to be a little more precise, and they are more expensive to purchase than steel, and also come in different finishes, and different sizes.

Size matters.  As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the wheel, the bigger the price tag.  If you stick within the 15” – 18” bracket then you will see a gradual uplift in price, get yourself up to 20” – 22” and the price jumps.

Your choices –

Steel wheels come in fairly limited finishes, usually you will find white, black and grey powder as a coating.  This helps keep the price down.  Alloy wheels though come with a much wider choice – you can get paint coated, clear coated, chrome, PVD chrome plated, polished, machined……… the price between different finishes really fluctuates, and you need to decide on the look you are trying to achieve. There are even manufacturers out there on the market who will give you a combination of finishes so you can have a truly unique look on your car.  You can pretty much pick your color as well as your finish, so, if you are happy to pay for it you can get exactly what you have in your mind.

Steel wheels are all made by the same process – not so for the alloy.  The manufacturing method will also be reflected in the price.  Cast alloys are the bottom of the market for alloys (but still more than steel).  These are molded by pouring molten metal into the wheel molds, allowing it to cool and that is about as complicated as it gets.  Steel rims can also come as multi-piece, which is a more complicated process as they are a combination of cast and forged parts.  You pay more for the upgrade.

The most expensive alloys on the market are single-piece forged – the aluminum is milled by a CNC machine to exactly the specification – but you cannot get better durability, precision or strength.

Who makes them?  OEM or aftermarket are the two buzzwords here.  OEM wheels are made by the manufacturer or their contractors.  Aftermarket is made by someone with zero connection to the badge on your hood.  OEM is the most costly, they go through rigorous safety testing, and are the choice of the car brand.  Aftermarket is not regulated to anywhere near the same level and so there are lesser quality products out there on the market to be wary of.

Finally the car you are looking to add them to, and where you get them from will affect the price.  The more highly sought after the wheel rims then the more retailers can charge for their product.  Especially if you have decided to put rims onto an SUV, truck, sports or luxury car

Automotive dealerships will try to upsell new wheels to you – but they have a massive markup, take a look at distributors, wheel shops – and don’t rule out used or reconditioned, they will look that way in a week anyway.

How much do new rims cost for your car?  Well, you can choose.  Choose wisely, look around, consider all aspects of the costs of the rims and decide exactly what look you want.  You will be surprised at how much money you can save on your car rims.



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