When you buy a new set of tires, you may be noticing the rims and hubcaps that are also pictured on the tires you’re preparing to purchase.
Since you’re spending a substantial amount of money on your tires, you may assume the rims and hubcaps are also included.
But are they? Here’s a simple explanation.
Most sets of tires do not come with the rims and hubcaps included. Unless otherwise specified, you are only actually buying the tire itself, sometimes referred to as the ring-shaped piece of rubber that is attached to the rim.
If you want new rims, hubcaps, or both, you will need to purchase these separately from your tires.
At most tire stores, you can choose to have rims and also hubcaps included as part of an overall wheel package when making your purchase.
If you opt for this, you’ll of course be spending more money, so make sure everything you want fits into your budget.
Should Rims be Replaced When Buying New Tires?
Though it is recommended you change the tires on your vehicle at least every 10 years regardless of the amount of tread wear your tires may have, the same does not hold true for rims.
However, when replacing your tires, it is always recommended you be on the lookout for any signs of damage to your rims, hubcaps, or other parts of your vehicle’s wheels.
If you’re unsure about exactly what the rim is on your vehicle, it is part of your vehicle’s wheel that actually holds onto the tire itself.
When looking at your vehicle when it has tires, the rim is the outer edge of the wheel surrounding the spokes and hub.
The center part of a car’s wheel, where the bearing is, is known as the hub. Covering the hub is the hubcap, hence its name.
No matter the type of vehicle you drive, hubcaps are almost always optional rather than mandatory. Essentially, hubcaps serve primarily a decorative purpose for your tires.
When Should Rims be Replaced? (Or Should They?)
For most vehicles, the rims most likely will never need to be replaced. Unless you are constantly on the road with your vehicle and drive it hundreds of thousands of miles over its lifetime, chances are you won’t have to worry about replacing rims.
However, this all changes if you notice you’re starting to have problems with one or more of your tires experiencing problems with maintaining tire pressure.
While it could be a faulty valve stem or puncture in the tire itself, this can also be indicative of a rim issue.
When a rim is worn down on a vehicle, this makes it harder for a tire to hold air pressure.
If you notice your steering wheel starting to vibrate when you’re on the road or feel like your vehicle always wants to drift to a particular side, this can also point to rim problems.
What’s Included in a Rim and Tire Package?
If you want to save money and get multiple things done at once to your car, you should consider buying a rim and tire package.
Should you suspect damage to any of your rims or a technician points out damage to a rim, you should not hesitate to go for a rim and tire package.
At most tire retailers, rim and tire packages are bundled together to help customers save money.
Along with this benefit, these packages also allow you to customize your vehicle with specific types of rims and tires, which when installed can turn your vehicle into one that has a look all its own while on the highway.
Last but not least, since you’ll be getting everything installed at the same time, you will be able to avoid multiple service and installation fees, and also avoid having to bring your car in for service multiple times.
How Much Does a Tire and Rim Cost?
When you buy a tire and rim, the overall cost may be far less than you expected.
If you have a compact car or smaller sedan, expect the average cost for an all-season tire and its rim to be $100-$150 per wheel.
For small trucks, vans, crossovers, and smaller SUVs, the cost increases to $100-$250 per wheel.
Finally, larger trucks, SUVs, and other larger vehicles can expect costs for new rims and tires to average between $175-$200 per wheel.
Though these costs don’t include installation and service fees, you can usually save substantially if you purchase a rim and tire package, and if you are having all four of your vehicle’s tires replaced at the same time.
Why are Rims Needed for Tires?
While hubcaps are optional for your vehicle, rims are not. In fact, to ensure your tire stays properly inflated while you’re driving down the road, your tire and rim need to have an exact fit.
For any tire, the tire manufacturer lists the types and sizes of rims needed for all its tires.
Also, each type of vehicle will also have specifications for proper rim sizes.
Should you try to use rims that are not specified for your vehicle and its tires, you’ll put your safety at risk on the road in terms of handling, and may also damage your vehicle’s wheels and suspension.
Can I Replace Just One Rim?
While you can replace just one rim on your vehicle, most car experts agree that it’s best if you replace two at a time, just as is recommended when replacing tires.
If you only replace one rim, is then becomes possible for your vehicle’s rims and tires to wear out at different times.
Should this occur, this is when tires may start to lose pressure on a regular basis, and you may start to notice the steering wheel vibration and vehicle drifting mentioned earlier.
Even if you think it is a waste of money to replace two rims when only one may be damaged, the repairs that could follow should you not heed this advice will be much more expensive than if you make these installations prior to the development of additional problems.
Are Rims Just for Looks?
Absolutely not. As you know by now, rims serve multiple important purposes in keeping your tires in good shape and your vehicle handling properly.
However, rims do also play a role in how your vehicle will look. In fact, changing the size of your vehicle’s rims can greatly alter its appearance.
For example, if you add smaller rims to your vehicle, it will have a much lower profile, making it appear fast and sleek. Should you install larger rims, your vehicle will look much bigger.
Yet regardless of the types of rims you install on your vehicle, ones that fit well will give your vehicle a smooth ride and increased performance, which are two things you and any other driver on the road always want and need.
If rims are something you’ve paid little if any attention to up until now, it’s time to change your way of thinking.
Along with being able to change the looks of your vehicle, rims can also give your vehicle far better handling and performance on the road.
Whether you stick with the standard rims for your vehicle or instead choose to have either larger or smaller ones installed, there’s no doubt you’ll soon notice positive changes in how your vehicle looks and feels.