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While drivers will spend hours researching tires and how they impact performance and safety, most don’t give a second thought to their car rims. And, if they do, it’s probably for aesthetic reasons.

But your vehicle rims can impact your car’s alignment, ride quality, handling, acceleration, and braking. They can even improve safety.

There are many reasons to think about the quality of your tire rims and why you might want to upgrade them. Here are five to consider.

  1. Handling

Your car’s rims are what holds the rubber tires in place so that they can roll. The size and type of material your rims are made of will impact how your car moves.

Standard car rim sizes range from 14 to 19 inches. Larger wheels mean better traction and stability when driving. However, a bigger tire surface also means your car will absorb more bumps in the road. So, ride quality could diminish.

The rim material also will impact handling. There are three types: steel, alloy, and carbon fiber.

Steel is the heaviest but strongest component. Steel rims are also the most economical.

Carbon is increasing in popularity, due to durability and lightness, but they are by far the most expensive.

Alloy rims are made from metals like aluminum, nickel, magnesium, or some combination. They can be a happy medium between cost and performance. Due to their lighter weight, alloy rims will improve acceleration and braking in your car.

They also will improve suspension. Your car will have less “unsprung weight,” or weight that moves up and down with the wheels as they travel over the road’s surface. This makes for a more stable, comfortable ride.

  1. Gas mileage

Steel is the most common component used in cars. That is because it is cheap and can be easily molded into different shapes. Most cars come with steel rims.

Lighter alloy rims will reduce the amount of friction your tires absorb on the road and help your vehicle roll more smoothly. This will reduce how hard your vehicle has to work and thereby improve gas mileage.

Rim structure can have a lot do with this as well since the spokes determine how weight is dispersed across the wheel. But sheer weight is the biggest factor. Alloy and carbon rims can be several pounds lighter than steel ones. This can dramatically improve how efficiently your vehicle drives and help save money at the gas pump.

  1. Durability

Quality rims can lengthen the life of your car. Ease of movement can mean less strain on the suspension components of your vehicle, as well as the motor that has to turn them.

Consider the type of driving that you do and where you live. With heavier vehicles, lighter rims may be more susceptible to denting or cracks.

While fine for everyday use, carbon fiber rims are brittle if damaged from a side impact. They are also difficult to repair. A single crack can render them useless.

Steel is a good metal for stable winter driving. But, while durable, they are susceptible to rust and corrosion. A coat of paint can help prevent this though.

Alloy rims are durable as well. They are not brittle like carbon ones but can be dented or bent more easily than steel ones.

  1. Safety

Did you know that there are more than 35,000 traffic fatalities in the United States each year? Many of these are due to poor driver choices, such as distracted or impaired driving. But about four percent of all accidents on the road are caused by automotive defects.

Having the right rims on your car can improve the life of your tires, increase traction, and help diminish the risk of blowouts. Also, alloy rims are better able to disperse heat away from brake components than steel ones. For extended driving, alloy rims can go a long way to lengthening the life of your brake system.

  1. Style

A great reason to consider upgrading your tire rims is that it can give your car a personalized, stylish appearance.

One of the biggest advantages of alloy rims is that they just look better. They have a brighter finish and the outboard face can come in a variety of designs. Most steel rims are black and the outer face is covered by a hubcap.

Another style advantage of alloy wheels is the variety of finishes and spoke patters to choose from. With alloy rims, you will have a wider selection to match up with your own personal style.

Upgrade Your Tire Rims Today

Now that you know that not all tire rims are created equal, you are ready to upgrade your vehicle. But before selecting a new rim size, be sure to explore what tires are available for it. You will also want to make sure the rims fit your car axle.

There are two measurements to consider here. One is the center bore or the hole in the middle of the rim. The second is the pattern of holes required for the bolts in the axle. Most cars have four or five bolts. Getting the wrong size can lead to vibration, damage the rim, or even cause an accident.

A reputable rim dealer will be able to advise you on these choices. They can help you improve the comfort, efficiency, durability, and safety of your vehicle while making it look better too.