Most drivers put some time into thinking about their tyres, but far fewer give their car’s rims a second thought – unless they’re looking to customise them, that is.
When it comes to taking a vehicle to the next level, rims are often one of the first places people start. They’re easy to customise, and can greatly improve the look of any vehicle. But certain things do need to be taken into consideration, such as the best type for each vehicle and how to ensure they perform properly.
They obviously have a lot of unique benefits, but, like anything else, they also come with some cons – especially in regard to their higher cost.
If you’re thinking about an upgrade, here’s a closer look at what you need to know about custom rims.
What are the options?
It’s important to note that while technically the rim is part of the wheel, most in the auto community use the terms ‘rims’ and ‘wheels’ interchangeably.
If you do want just want a set of rims (AKA ‘lids’) for aesthetic reasons, it’s often possible to get a set placed on your existing wheels. Ultimately, with 271,885 people working in the Australian auto industry, there’s always going to be a wide variety of options on offer to anybody looking to make a change with their car’s rims.
When it comes to rims, you can either be happy with the look of the standard set that comes with your car, or you can go buy a set of different rims at a shop. But if you want something really unique and special, you’ll need to order a custom set.
To some car fans, going through the steps to customise a set can be time-consuming and frustrating (not to mention expensive).
On the other hand, the Aussie car gurus who happily spend hours in the garage tuning and tweaking their cars will find the process of getting custom rims to be great fun. You can work with a manufacturer to get a set of rims created that you really love in every sense. There’s also the advantage of adding a truly unique touch, like your own initials or logo on the rims.
What’s the difference in performance?
Custom rims can provide a car with numerous performance benefits. They can be made of a lighter alloy, which will make the car lighter as well. They can be designed to specific measurements that can increase or decrease the height of a car – but they do still need to comply with relevant road laws. They can also last longer, given the custom construction process and materials used.
These are great advantages, but custom rims can also open up Pandora’s box. Altering a car’s design by lowering or raising its height can change its performance, and sometimes in unexpected ways. If you get custom rims that perform differently from the car’s original rims, you may find it necessary to make other modifications to compensate, and that can be expensive. And when you decide to resell, you may find that not every buyer is going to love a car with neon rims, even if you do.
What’s the difference in style?
The stylistic differences between custom and regular rims is clear-cut. Standard rims will come in a variety of styles, but ultimately give you no input over their design. Custom rims allow you to be involved in the design process, and work with a manufacturer to get a unique rim you love.
Custom rims also fill a design void. Car manufacturers are required to pass a number of rigorous safety tests before their vehicles are allowed onto market. This means every vehicle sold in Australia will have a good safety standard. While car manufacturers must always meet these high standards with safety, when it comes to style, they stuff it up now and then. An otherwise great car can look lacklustre with bad rims.
Some Aussies may not care or notice the difference, but any big car fan will. Roadsters look their best with sleek rims, muscle cars with strong ones, and small cars with minimalist ones. Sometimes rims just don’t match the car’s style and overall look. It’s here that the option of customisation can be a really great thing.
Keep in mind things have changed
It’s important to also keep in mind that we live in a great era of car customisation already.
Once upon a time, the difference between a regular set of rims and a custom set could be considerable. This was largely centred around regular rims being made of steel, and custom rims being made out of alloy. As a versatile metal, alloy made it easier to create unique designs.
Today, many manufacturers make their regular rims out of alloy. They recognise in a very competitive market, every unique design element can be a real advantage in selling cars. So for anyone just seeking something a little different, it’s possible to find a ready-made design that meets that need. But some Aussie car fans may have their hearts set on custom rims no matter what.
While driving is serious when it comes to safety and road laws, it also, obviously, can and should be fun. Often, practicality and style will come together very well, and many 4WDs and SUVs are an example of this. If driving was just about being practical, the cool sports cars and quirky autos we love wouldn’t exist.
That’s why a defence of custom rims aligns nicely with all other modifications in the auto world. Sure, they can be expensive, but they’re worth it to many, many car owners. We customise our vehicles because we want to express our personality and make the car our own. Just like custom licence plates and other add-ons, custom rims can really enhance a driver’s enjoyment of their vehicle. So if you want custom rims, even if for no other reason than to bring a smile to your face, go for it. Just remember, if cost is an issue, a regular set of stylish rims could do the job at a lower price, too.