Thinking of accessorising your car? Chances are you are looking at those humble rims your car came fitted with from the factory, and are already checking your bank balance to see if you can swap it out with something better looking. Well before you step into your neighbourhood tyre shop to swap them out, here are some important tips to take about picking the right rim for your car.
#1: Choose Original Rims
Just like tyres, there are plenty of rim manufacturers out there in the marketplace to choose from. From brands such as Advanti Racing Wheels, to BBS, or O.Z., the choices are immensely varied and you are certain to find one that would suit the look that you are looking for. That being said, such rims from original manufacturers are costly, and the temptation is there to opt for cheap replicas, which looks nearly similar and costs a fraction of the original rim’s price.
Though replicas look similar, they might not have the build quality or strength to withstand impacts from potholes or debris on the road. Getting a tyre puncture is a minor inconvenience that is easy to fix, as compared to having your wheels dented or worse, shattered. Such incidents can leave you stranded and your car immobile for a time if you don’t have a replacement rim on hand.
Most reputable rim manufacturers have quality standards that ensure the wheels are tough enough to survive the poorly built roads. So if you are going to pick out a rim and tyre, don’t skimp on the budget and pick a rim and tyre from a reputable manufacturer.
#2: Pick the Right Size
In picking a new rim, the first thing you would be tempted to do is to upsize it to a larger one. Big wheels do look good, but keep in mind that picking a bigger rim for your car does bring about compromises in terms of comfort and safety.
Should your wheel size go up, the thickness or profile of your tyre would have to be reduced. Reducing the thickness however would in effect reduce the tyre’s effectiveness in absorbing bumps on the road, as there is less rubber between the tyre surface and wheel to serve as a cushion when the tyre runs over something rough.
This lack of a cushioning effect also puts the wheel at risk of damage from pot holes and debris on the road. Should the wheel drive over a pot hole deep or a debris big enough, the thinner profile wouldn’t do much in absorbing the brunt of the force, or allowing enough elevation to clear big debris.
#3: Maintain the Circumference
Finding tyres to suit bigger rims are the least of your concerns, Hankook for instance have plenty of tyres to suit larger rims, especially with their popular range of premium tyres such as the Ventus V12 evo2 which are available in sizes to suit 18-inch rims and larger. What you should be wary about is ensuring that the tyre you fit to the big rim has a lower profile to maintain the wheel’s circumference.
If you maintain your tyre’s profile while fitting on a larger rim, your wheel’s circumference would be larger, which in turn would affect your car’s speedometer and odometer readings. The larger the circumference would be from the original size, the car’s speedometer would be displaying a speed that is lower than you are actually traveling, thus putting you in danger of breaking speed limits and getting traffic summons. The odometer would in turn be reading less mileage than you are actually covering, and as a result you will overshoot your car’s actual service intervals.
So if you are going for a rim that is bigger than your car’s original rim size, it is best to opt for a thinner tyre with a lower profile tyre to maintain as much of the original wheel’s circumference as possible.
#4: Be Wary of the Offset
One of the most popular trends amongst owners is fitting on rims with negative offset to give their car’s the impression that its wheels are bulging out from the wheel arches, much like a muscle car.
Offset is the distance of the wheel hub – mounting point – from the rim’s centre line. A positive offset would mean that the hub is close to the rim’s outside, which most cars adopt as its original setup. A negative offset on the other hand means that its hub is closer to its inside and sits behind the wheel’s centreline.
Most owners would be tempted to go for a negative offset to get that ‘deep dish’ rim look. We do not recommend adopting rims with a negative offset as it could potentially cause increased steering kick back, making it tricky and dangerous to steer on rough roads. Having the wheels fitted in this manner would also put additional strain on the suspension components.
#5: Don’t Stretch the Tyre
Another hot trend amongst car circles today are ‘stretched’ tyres. To achieve this look, owners would fit a tyre onto rims that are much wider than the tyres were originally designed to fit onto. To get it to fit, the tyre sidewalls would have to be stretched to fit the wider rim. This gives the whole wheel a muscular appearance, which goes well with the ‘deep dish’ negative offset rims look.
This trend is dangerous and highly not recommended as the tyre sidewalls, which are a load bearing structure of the tyre, is designed to suit a 90-degree tangent to the rim.
While all Hankook tyres are made to be as safe as possible on the road, stretching its sidewalls to suit the rims would compromise the tyre’s structural strength and ability to absorb impacts. Doing this would put stresses that goes beyond the tyre’s original design, and doing so would put you and your occupants in danger of experiencing a tyre blowout.