Since the wheels of our cars are the actual points of contact with the ground, it’s essential that you invest in their quality for both safety and performance.
While many people understand the importance of good wheels, you should know that the rims are also critical for your vehicle’s performance and not only cosmetics. So how much do rims cost?
Ideally, the average cost of basic steel rims will range from $50 to $120. However, the price of rims can vary greatly depending on several factors, and in today’s guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know regarding this top. Let’s jump right in!
Types of Wheel Rims
The types of rims are among the most critical factors that impact their price, so let’s start this guide by taking a closer look at the types of rims that you can find out there:
Steel is the oldest of all materials used to make rims. It’s also pretty durable, easy to work with, and above all, it’s the cheapest among all materials used to make rims.
For that reason, steel has been the material of choice among car manufacturers when it comes to making rims for a long time.
However, steel comes with the noticeable side effect of being noticeably heavy, which can affect the fuel economy of vehicles.
Additionally, it’s usually rather dull and lacks the shine that attracts buyers. As a result, it has fallen out of favor as the most common material for stock rims recently.
When it comes to steel rims, they usually come in specific sizes, most commonly 15 to 17 inches.
As the name suggests, these rims are made from alloys, which is the scientific term for combining different kinds of metals together to improve their individual properties.
Technically speaking, the most abundant metal in alloy rims is aluminum. This is because aluminum is pretty easy to work with and significantly lighter in weight than steel.
However, aluminum is not as sturdy as steel, so it’s usually combined with other metals to improve its durability, such as nickel and magnesium
In fact, magnesium aluminum rims are considered the lightest and most fuel efficient rims on the market.
They’re also decently shiny, which adds to their value. However, when it comes to price, they’re up to 80% more expensive than steel rims, although they make up the price by improving the mileage on your vehicle.
Unlike steel or alloy rims, chrome rims are not actually made of chrome, as chrome isn’t solid enough to withstand the weight of a vehicle.
Instead, chrome is used as a coating or finishing material, which is used to give the rims a shiny mirror-like luster finish. In addition to shiny looks, chrome is also ideal for protecting the rims from rust.
Despite that, chrome rims aren’t excellent in resisting heavy weather. They’re also pretty heavy, which makes them heavier than alloy rims, especially when they’re coating steel rims. Chrome can also be easy to scratch, so it requires a lot of care to preserve it in top condition.
Factors That Affect the Price of Wheel Rims
Before walking you through the prices of rims, you should know that there are some factors that may affect that price. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at those aspects and how they influence the price of rims:
1. The Manufacturing Material
As previously mentioned, the materials used in making wheel rims usually have the largest contribution to their prices.
For instance, steel rims are known for being the cheapest and most affordable of all wheel rims while other types are noticeably more expensive.
On the other hand, alloy rims may also vary in price depending on the materials used in making the rims. For example, magnesium aluminum alloy rims are more expensive than nickel aluminum alloy rims. This is because they’re noticeably lightweight but also a little difficult to mold into wheel rims.
When it comes to choosing a rim based on a material, you also have to factor in fuel efficiency, as lighter, more expensive rims will save you a lot of money, which makes them a great long term investment.
You should also keep the weight of the material into consideration if you’re going to use different rim designs, as variations in weight between wheels can affect the handling of the vehicle.
2. The Size of the Rims
Another major factor that can impact the price of any kind of rims, even ones made from the same materials, is the size of the rims.
Ideally, rims are made to fit your wheels according to their size. In other words, if you have large wheels on your cars, the rims you’re going to buy have to be also large.
Since a larger rim means a larger chunk of metal that requires more processing in order to become ready for use, larger rims are always more expensive than their smaller counterparts.
The size of rims is measured according to their diameters, which are usually measured in inches. The most common sizes of rims on the market are between 14 to 18 inches.
Yet, as you scale up to above 20 inches, the costs of the rims increase exponentially because they require a high level of craftsmanship and specific machines that can operate at such a large size.
One of the easiest ways to find out the suitable rim size for your wheels is by checking the tires on your vehicle. On their inner label or the sidewall, you should be able to spot the recommended rim size.
As a rule of thumb, the last two digits after the “R” indicate both the inner diameter of the tire and the recommended size of the rims.
You should also keep in mind that steel rims are usually available in a limited size range of 15 to 17 inches, so you might be left with only alloy rims to install on your vehicle.
3. The Rims’ Finish and Color
The materials and sizes of rims aren’t the only things that affect the price of rims. In fact, there’s one aspect that can have as much impact as bumping the price several times, and that one is the finish and color of the rims. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular rim finishes:
As previously established, chrome is one of the most popular finishing materials when it comes to rims. Chrome is also pretty expensive, especially when the rims are large.
Polished Alloy Finish
The Polished finish is applied on alloy rims to give it an extremely shiny look, although it won’t look as reflective as chrome.
However, this layer of luster fades quickly, so it requires maintenance and recoating. The process can also be done through a machine or by hand, usually with the help of some formulas and polishing materials.
Some rims are also colored using spray paints that are built to handle the tough conditions that rims are put into. Depending on the uniqueness of the color, the price of the rims will vary.
In addition to spray paints, hydrodipping is also used to apply unique patterns and designs on the wheels, which is usually noticeably expensive and requires care and maintenance.
4. The Manufacturer and Brand
If you’re buying replacement rims for your vehicle that are made by a certain manufacturer, you may find it different from the price of another brand, even if they’re made from similar materials or even has similar designs.
Some vehicle manufacturers make a lot of replacement parts, including rims, which makes them available and affordable while other manufacturers charge extra for their rims.
How Much Do Rims Cost?
Now that you know more about rims and the factors that affect their price, here’s a quick look at what you should expect to pay while getting one.
Ideally, a budget friendly steel rim should cost you anywhere between $50 to $100, or even less if it is a used one.
However, an standard alloy rim should set you back as little as $100, but can also cost you up to $300 if it is a large rim that is chrome-plated or painted.
With that said, you now have the complete answer to the popular question “how much do rims cost?”.
As you can see, there’s no specific price for car rims because there are multiple factors that can affect the price of one.
However, you should expect quality steel rims to cost you as low as $50 and up to $100 while alloy rims may cost you anywhere between $100 to $300, depending on the rim’s size, quality, and finish.