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How Much Do Rims Cost?

How Much Do Rims Cost?

Rims are an extremely unique and customizable part of your car that allows you to show off your personality. You’ll be able to find tons of rims ranging from simple and subdued to flashy and ferocious. As long as you know the year, make, model, and description of your car, you’ll be able to browse through a ton of options.  

There seems to be a common misconception that rims are purely cosmetic and serve no real purpose. While it’s true that rims have been getting “tricked out” since the days of pioneers and wagons, rims are more than just eye-catching accessories. Rims are responsible for supporting the weight of your car and reducing the amount of friction as it moves.  

The overall cost of replacing your rims can vary depending on a few factors. If you are looking to replace your rims, there are a few things that you should know first. 


picture of a wheel demonstrating the difference between the rim and the rest of the wheel

Are Rims and Wheels the Same Thing?

It’s unclear when it happened, but at some point, the word “rims” became slang for the wheels of a car. You’ve probably heard these two words used interchangeably before and may have even done so yourself. The truth is that although they are connected to one another, they’re not the same thing

Technically, the rim is just one of several parts that make up a wheel. It’s the outside edge of the wheel where the tire is attached. Rims are typically U-shaped and are deeper in the center than around the edges so they can support the bead of the tire. 

Inside of the rim is the barrel that allows for the tire to be securely mounted. The drop center is located inside the barrel and right beside the front-facing part of the wheel. The edges of the barrel are shaped specifically to create inboard flanges to hold the tire in place and outboard flanges to create aesthetic value. 

Inside these flanges are flat surfaces called beads that help support the edges of the tire. The last part of the rim is the mounting humps that are located alongside the barrel. The purpose of these ridges is to prevent the tire from slipping off the wheel. 

The wheel itself is the entire metal circular part that holds the tire and attaches to the axle of your car. There are six essential parts that make up a wheel:  

  • The spokes are metal rods that connect the center disc to the outer ring. 

  • The disc connects the rim and the axle hub.

  • The hub connects the tire and the axle. 

  • The rim is the outer edge of the wheel and connects to the tire.

  • The center bore is a hole in the wheel that allows the wheel to be connected to the axle.

  • The lug holes allow the axle bolts to poke through the wheel and hold it in place against the axle.


What Factors Determine the Cost of Rims?

Now that we know that “rims” refer to the wheel of your car, we can get into how much new rims cost. The truth is that the price can vary significantly based on a few different factors. Depending on where you’re buying your rims, a set of four can cost as little as $385 or as much as $4,440

These are the four most important factors that will determine how much rims will cost.



The material used to build the rim is easily the most important price factor. Rims can be made out of several different materials, but these are the most common ones: 

a steel rim

  • Steel. For many years, steel was the standard rim type and could be found everywhere. Steel rims are no longer the most popular option as they’ve slowly been pushed out of the market. The good thing about steel is that it’s the cheapest and most durable option of the three types. The problem is that they are also the heaviest. The extra weight can have a severe impact on your handling and gas mileage. Steel is also not an effective material for heat dissipation and can cause damage to your brakes.

an alloy rim

  • Alloy. The vast majority of rims made nowadays are aluminum alloy composite. The mixture of various metals allows for the perfect blend of lightweight and durability. Alloy can handle heat much better than steel and usually doesn’t cause any problems with brakes. The price of alloy rims is a little more than steel, but that will largely depend on the finish. The only potential downside of alloy is that it’s much more prone to scratches and breaking.

a chrome rim

  • Chrome. Easily the most expensive rim type, chrome rims are basically a luxury item. It’s important to note that these rims aren’t made entirely out of chrome. Instead, a chrome coating is applied to either steel or alloy rims. The coating helps to reduce the cost somewhat, but chrome rims are still very pricey. The largest benefit of chrome is that it prevents oxidation. That could be really helpful if you are often driving on wet roads. 



The finish of a wheel can cause a big difference in price. Steel rims usually don’t come with many finish options other than white, black, or gray powder coats. On the other hand, alloy rims come with several different finishes. 

  • A polished finish can provide an extremely shiny appearance that resembles chrome. The rim is buffed by hand or by machine and is usually sealed with a clear coat to help maintain the shine.

  • A powder-coated finish can help to resist heat, rust, and scratches. Ground particles of color and resin are electrically charged and sprayed onto the surface of the rim. 

  • A painted finish can allow for black or silver-colored rims. The paint is available as semi-gloss, satin, flat, or matte and in a wide-ranging shade of tone. 



The size will always be a major determining factor for the price. No matter where you go, an extra-large soda will cost you more money than a small one. The same principle holds true for rims. Most rims have a diameter between 10 and 24 inches. A 24-inch rim with the same type and finish as a 10-inch rim will be much more expensive.

It’s typically recommended that you should use rims that are the same size as your tires. Since bigger vehicles need bigger tires, you’ll also have to buy bigger rims. That means that the rims of an SUV or truck will typically be more expensive than the rims of a coupe or sedan. However, you do have the option of going up or down in size.

  • Using rims that are a few inches bigger can help to improve your car’s acceleration and cornering abilities. The problem is that bigger rims will start to wear out the rubber in your tires faster than normal-sized ones. 

  • Using rims that are a few inches smaller can help provide a smoother ride and improve your gas mileage. The biggest problem is that you’ll lose a little bit of your handling in the process.



The more unique a vehicle that you own, the more difficult it’ll be to find replacement rims and the more expensive they’ll be. 

The most popular vehicle in the United States is the Ford F-150 as more than 40 million units have been sold. Since each of these units will need rims to operate, there’s a lot of money in manufacturing replacement rims.  

On the other hand, there isn’t as much value in building rims for something like a Chevrolet Corvette. There have only been about 1.5 million Corvettes built in the last 70 years so it’s much less likely to find new rims. 

The age of your vehicle is another factor that can influence the cost of rims. Having a vehicle that’s 10 or 20 years old shouldn’t be a problem, but a classic from the 50s or 60s can be very expensive. In some cases, the rims might end up being more valuable than the vehicle itself. 


Are Used Rims Safe? 

Rims can quickly get expensive depending on the factors listed above. A lot of people try to cut down on costs by buying used rims instead. Buying a used car part is an easy way to save money, but it will come with some risks. The odds of a rim being cracked or bent are much higher when you buy them used. Even if the bend is hammered out, there can still be structural damage that weakens the integrity.


Shop For Your Rims Smartly

Depending on the factors listed above, buying a new set of rims can cost you quite a bit of money. You might be tempted to look for some used rims to save some money. Instead of doing something risky like that, you should visit Rent A Wheel first.  

You’ll have the ability to shop for rims based on your vehicle, diameter, brand, finish, and other filter options. Best of all, Rent A Wheel offers a flexible payment plan and free shipping so it’ll be easier for you to afford your dream rims.



What Are the Pros and Cons of Different Wheel Materials? | The Drive

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Rims vs Wheels: Differences Explained | The Vehicle Lab 

Oral History: The Evolution of Car Rims | Complex