There are a ton of reasons you might want to swap your factory rims for something with a little more personality, functionality, or both. Along with all the various needs people have for custom wheels comes more choice than any sane person would know what to do with. Luckily, we're not exactly what you would call "sane" people, and we made it our purpose to figure out just what the heck is going on in this crazy industry and how to best get you what you need. There is a ton to consider here, especially when moving to a different size rims from what you currently have, as the wrong size for your setup can lead to some major headaches.
So first let's go through the different kinds of rims for sale out there, what they're made for, and some different factors you should consider before pulling the trigger on a new set of custom wheels.
Just want custom wheels that are cool/unique?
You ever come out to your car and find an essentially identical one has parked right next to yours? That's a hell of a lot of money you spent on that thing just to have the guy across the street give you a "howdy neighbor" as he climbs into a copy and paste version of your car, isn't it? We hear you on that one. We want our vehicles to have a little bit of personality to them here, and we're sure you do too, hence the literal hundreds of different rims for sale on our site.
Need the performance?
"Simplify, then add lightness." -Colin Chapman
For outright track performance, the two most important factors for your rims are lightness and strength, however it's a tricky balance. Too much of one means you might not have enough of the other. Wheels are unsprung, rotational weight, along with your tires, brakes, axles, etc. This means that the more weight you add here, that's more power that both your engine and brakes need to put out to overcome that weight. Reducing this rotational mass where you can make a huge impact on acceleration, steering weight/feel, and braking. These just happen to be the place where weight can most easily be saved, as there is more room for different materials and designs to make the difference. The other main alternative would be carbon ceramic brake rotors, which can be quite a bit more expensive than most rims for sale.
In order to stay as light as possible while maintaining strength, custom wheels manufacturers make good use of strong aluminum alloys and sometimes even titanium for hardware on examples with multi-piece construction. This allows them to trim away as much material as possible while increasing strength and rigidity over your stock equipment. These aren't the kinds of things you generally need to worry about on your daily commute, but in autocross and track use the benefits become huge.
Alloy? Steel? Cast? Forged? One piece? Two Piece? What rims do I need???
A lot more cars these days are coming with alloy wheels, though lower end models still tend to come with steel. Alloy options are lighter, but tend to be more expensive both in material cost and to manufacture. Most aftermarket wheels tend to be alloy, especially if you're going for a high end look, though steel wheels (steelies) are still fairly common with off road vehicles where weight is less of an issue. Either way, chances are that you're looking for an alloy wheel, but then we get into a few other factors that further effect what you might find in your price range.
Most alloy custom wheels in lower price brackets are generally cast in construction, meaning they are made by pouring the molten metal alloy into a precut form, and then machined further into shape afterwards. This method is generally quicker and less expensive, though the tradeoff is that during this process the aluminum will solidify into a more porous state, and as a result the wheel can be more susceptible to cracking, pitting, and possibly lower overall structural integrity. This is why you won't find as many say, serious race car drivers running cast instead of forged, however they make up the bulk of custom wheels and rims for sale.
On the higher end of the price spectrum you will start to see forged construction, meaning the metal starts out as a solid billet and is pressured into shape before finally being machined into the final cut. This has the benefit of avoiding the porous structure that cast forms often end up with, and in the process of being formed, the metal is actually strengthened, allowing manufacturers to strip away more material and experiment with more interesting and extreme shapes while maintaining strength needed for the desired application. For every day street driving, or even some light-medium track or autocross usage, good cast rims can last just fine. However, if you're looking for the extra peace of mind, love the look, or need the added strength and lightness, then a forged wheel just might be worth ponying up the extra dough for.
Multi-piece? Is this a thing? Why?
Yes they are! Most times this is done with forged wheels or even a combination of forged and cast. There are a few reasons for having multi-piece construction, and the first is cost. With custom wheels that are forged in two separate parts, it is simpler to extrude the barrel of the wheel and the inner spokes separate than to do them together at the same time, as the machinery, time, and care needed is generally less to do it this way. Also, this allows manufacturers to use the same barrels for multiple different spoke and lug patterns, thus allowing manufacturers to make each section in bulk and pair them together after the fact.
Beyond this, honestly custom wheels can be just plain difficult to shop for. It’s worth it to take some time, do some research, and of course it’s worth getting things right the first time and hopping on a call or chat with one of our experts to make sure you get what you need. With so many different rims for sale, the choice can be overwhelming for anyone.