Car Buying

Do Aftermarket Wheels Have Any Drawbacks?

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Doug DeMuro July 2015

If you're interested in buying a car, you may have run across a used vehicle with aftermarket wheels or rims. These wheels can often enhance a car's appearance, adding more style and an improved look. But are there any drawbacks to aftermarket rims? We think there could be a few, so we've listed a few things you may want to consider before signing the papers on a used vehicle with aftermarket wheels.

Size Matters

When it comes to wheels or rims, size matters -- and adding larger wheels could affect a vehicle in a number of ways. For example, wheels that are much larger than the car's original set could have a negative effect on the transmission by causing it to work harder than normal in order to turn the axles and move the car. Eventually, this could cause premature transmission failure. Larger and heavier rims will also cause the engine to work harder, which could hamper fuel economy and dull acceleration. Larger, heavier wheels could also have a negative effect on other components of the vehicle, such as wheel bearings.

Ride Quality

Another issue that can be caused by aftermarket rims or wheels is poor ride quality. While original wheels are often designed to optimize ride quality, adding larger wheels usually means opting for thinner tires. The result of this is that a car's ride quality often suffers. If the wheels are the same size as they were originally, this won't be the case, but if you're looking at a car where the driver has increased the wheel size, you'll probably see some negative effects on how the vehicle rides and drives.

Track Use?

If you're interested in buying a performance car and the driver has added "lightweight" wheels to save weight, you might want to ask about track use. A driver who is trying to save weight by getting lighter wheels has often used the vehicle in question on a race track, where all of a car's components are subject to additional stress and wear. If you see lightweight wheels, it may be a red flag that the car has been tracked -- and that means you may want to have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic to make sure there aren't any hidden problems under the skin.

Resale Value

Aftermarket wheels could also affect a car's resale value. Here's how: While you may like the wheels, and the previous owner may like the wheels, others might not feel the same way. If you're selling certain vehicles -- especially high-end luxury models with very particular buyers -- drivers may insist on original wheels when you go to sell the car. As a result, having aftermarket wheels could diminish your car's resale value and increase the time it takes to sell the car.

Our Take

In general, buying a car with aftermarket wheels won't be a problem. There are, however, a few drawbacks to aftermarket wheels that you might want to consider before signing the papers. We hope our list helps you understand some of these factors in order to make sure you know exactly what you're doing before you choose a car with aftermarket rims or wheels.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Do Aftermarket Wheels Have Any Drawbacks? - Autotrader