Nov 6th, 2007 by RJ Menezes
Customizing cars has been a part of car culture almost as long as the automobile. With the never ending need to stand out, it seems everyone these days has to do something to make their car unique, to make it their own. It’s not too long ago that California Hot-Rod shops were turning lowly little sedans into fire breathing street customs with potent looks and even more potent engines. Well, of all the popular modifications you can do to your car one reigns supreme. Wheels. Yes, custom wheels, or after-market wheels, are the easiest and most affective way to customize your ride.
Not many other modifications give such a stunning change to the look of a vehicle than rims. They are easy to install, relatively cheap, and transferable to your next ride(so long as it shares the same bolt pattern). But with all the glam and cache that comes with your new wheels most people don’t realize they are buying an inferior product to the original wheels on their car.
Here then lies the problem. There can be a multitude of problems caused by aftermarket wheels and tires. It seems that some wheels are “unilug” made to fit many models but not really correct for any. Any imperfect wheel lug mounting problem will cause an eccentric condition (the wheel´s axis is not spinning on its center). Further I have found many wheels with too much run out (the wheel is bent side to side causing it to wobble). Also, an improper wheel offset and width selection can cause handling problems. Almost any wheel problem will cause an abnormal vehicle vibration that may be constant and annoying, not to mention dangerous!
When selecting an aftermarket wheel I recommend replacement wheels that are of equal or better quality than the Original Equipment Manufacturer wheels. I also recommend that you stay within the vehicle manufacturer´s parameters for offset and width. Sacrificing vehicle driveability for physical looks is just plain stupid. There are many competent wheel sales stores and many wheels that will meet or exceed Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)specifications. So remember, before choosing the next shoes for your ride, make sure it’s a definite upgrade to your OEM wheels. If not than don’t even bother.