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Purchasing Aftermarket Wheels: Factors to Consider When Making Your Decision

Customizing your vehicle is a simple way of expressing your style and setting your vehicle apart from the crowd. Upgrading your wheels is typically the first big purchase, so it’s important to consider factors such as backspacing, offset, bolt pattern and the wheel sizes your vehicle will allow.  Each of these factors plays a significant role in not only how the vehicle will look aesthetically, but how it will handle and perform on the road or off the beaten path. In this blog, we provide insight to assist you on the journey of selecting your new set of wheels.

Understanding Fitment and Your Vehicle’s Bolt Pattern

Although it may seem like a simple swap, not all wheels will fit every vehicle. There are multiple variations of wheel fitments available for the consumer. Understanding your fitment and knowing the bolt pattern of your vehicle helps narrow down your options during your search.  Having knowledge of your wheel specs will help you avoid scrolling through pages and pages of wheels that won’t fit your vehicle. Review our Understanding Vehicle Bolt Patterns  blog along with our Calculating Fitment blog from our sister company, Factory Reproductions, for more information. 

A vehicle’s fitment incorporates the bolt pattern (PCD), wheel offset and wheel backspacing. Your bolt pattern consists of the number of wheel studs and the centerline measurement of those wheel’s studs. The wheel offset is the distance from the mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel. Backspacing is the distance from the mounting surface to the wheel’s back lip. For someone new to the wheel game, those terms may be hard to understand, but luckily with the help of configurators and vehicle specific searches on most websites, you’ll be able to see the wheel specs and verify the accuracy with a customer representative before purchasing.

Choosing the Material and Size You Want

Now that you are aware of the proper wheel fitment, you can move on to selecting the size and material of your new wheels. If looking to increase the size of your wheels from the stock size, in most cases you’ll have to run a thinner tire unless you plan on modifying your vehicle’s suspension or body in order to accommodate the width or increased diameter of the new wheels. For those who like to run chunky tires, the same rules apply, even with a smaller wheel choice.

The material used to construct the wheels can make a difference in many ways, depending on how your vehicle is used.  The options available for single piece wheels include forged, cast and flow form, with each having its own attributes suited to your style and preference. REIKA wheels are constructed using Flow Form technology providing light weight and durability. If you’d like to learn more about the construction process of our wheels and see why we chose this method, view this link .

If you’re looking to customize your wheel setup with two or three piece wheels, your options are greater than with cast, forged or flow formed wheels. However, that may eliminate the weight saving concern. Two and three piece wheels weigh more with their additional pieces and parts that are used to hold the wheel together.

Finding A Design That Matches Your Style

The options available for determining the perfect set of wheels are endless, especially when it comes to size, offset, finish and design choices. With help from social media and website visualizers, you can compare which style wheels are common or uncommon for specific vehicles and also which styles are trending upwards. This may aid you in your decision making process by allowing you to choose what’s popular, or you can defy conformity and choose unique fitment options, colors and styles.

Determining Your Budget

With quality, generally comes cost. We’re not saying you have to hand over your next paycheck, but if you’re looking to upgrade your ride with a new set of wheels, you want to trust that you’re not going to have to reinvest in wheels after dipping into a pothole or accidentally running up onto a curb in a hurry.  Finding a reputable company that runs QA tests and provides a warranty that ensures and stands behind the quality of their wheels is important. Thankfully, there are lower cost yet valuable options available in today’s market with the rise of flow form technology. The durability and toughness of the wheels hold true, while the cost stays affordable due to the method in which the wheels are constructed.  Determining your budget may be something you want to do before you start your search so that you may narrow down your options and save yourself some time.

Browse Your Options

If you’re at the beginning stages of your search and are looking for ideas, we recommend browsing social media or popular sites to discover the options for your vehicle. Social media platforms possess an abundance of accounts, both individuals and businesses, that are dedicated to providing vehicle specific content. Many social media users are part of vehicle specific clubs and will likely go out of their way to assist you in your build and search for aftermarket wheels. Reaching your hand out to the community usually yields 10 in return and with that, comes advice, ideas, friendship and guidance.  Additionally, individual wheel websites will allow for a more specific search.  Many offer a configurator where you can see the wheels on your specific vehicle type.  This allows you to compare the different styles of wheels and how they would look before you make your final purchase.  

Knowing that wheels are a major investment, research and due diligence will assist in your decision making process.  Understanding your fitment, knowing your budget and selecting a wheel style that reflects you, can make your purchasing journey feel effortless.

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