Yes! If you have a damaged wheel, used wheels are an easy way to keep your car rolling without dishing out a ton of money. Or, you can swap a set of wheels to give your car a quick upgrade that is sure to make your car stand out.
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM wheels are the original wheels that are installed when the car comes out of the factory or replacement wheels made by the same company. Sometimes they are referred to as genuine or factory wheels. For example, OEM wheels for a Nissan Altima are made by Nissan.
Car experts prefer using factory original OEM parts because they are specifically designed for the vehicle, and therefore provide a better fit and a safer, smoother drive. OEM parts are usually more expensive than aftermarket parts manufactured by parts companies, but most mechanics will tell you it is worth it to pay the difference for the original. Plus, you can get a much better price if you buy OEM wheels that are used, but still in good condition.
Technically a rim is the edge of a wheel, while the wheel is the entire metal piece that spins around the axle. However, people use both rim and wheel interchangeably to refer to the entire wheel.
For example, when someone says they are buying a new set of rims, they are buying four brand new wheels for their car.
When assessing the quality of a used wheel, the most important thing is that the wheel is structurally sound, with no cracks, bends, dents, or pieces missing. Cosmetic damages or scratches are okay, as long as they are only on the surface. Rims or wheels that have significant cracks may have lost their structural integrity and could cause a blowout if it fails while driving at high speeds.
If you go to a salvage yard or junkyard, you should always inspect a wheel before you buy it. Some, but not all auto parts stores put their parts through stringent quality checks, but at a pick-and-pull junkyard, what you see is what you get.
The easiest way to make sure you’re getting a high-quality used wheel is to only buy from an auto parts store that guarantees their products, like My Auto Store. It’s easy to find your part, and you don’t have to wonder if the wheel you purchased is in good shape.
The best way to test wheels for defects is to visually inspect them and test drive them on your car, but when buying a used wheel, it’s not always realistic to try them before you buy. If you can’t test drive, try the following methods to determine if the wheel is worth your money:
Used OEM rims that are salvaged from an end-of-life vehicle range anywhere from $100 to $175 each, depending on the size, mileage and the material that it is made out of. The factors that determine the price of a used wheel are:
Brand new wheels that you can buy at a tire shop or a dealership are the most expensive. Aftermarket rims are usually cheaper (starting at around $200 each), though specialty aftermarket rims can cost as much as $1000 each.
Steel is the least expensive and the most durable, but they are heavy and are not ideal for quick acceleration. Alloy rims are a combination of lighter metals that have a sportier look, save gas and provide a better driving experience.
The best place to find good deals on used OEM wheels is an auto parts store that specializes in selling used car parts. Look for a seller that offers a warranty and quality checks their product before they put it in their inventory.