Rims are a visible feature of your car tires, so it’s natural to make selections based on appearance. Yet, there are other considerations to keep in mind that relate to performance and vehicle wear. Here’s what to know to make an informed decision.

What Should You Consider When Purchasing Rims?

1. Diameter

The total diameter of the rims and tires should not impede brake performance. Those that make contact with brakes decrease safety and increase tire wear.

Measure tire diameter and write down the numbers. Calculate the total diameter of each wheel model you’re considering in light of appearance and performance.

Larger wheels offer improved responsiveness and the ability to carry heavy loads but tend to wear out quickly. Smaller, more lightweight wheels function as flywheels that keep tires moving in the same direction at the same speed, contributing to a smoother, more comfortable ride.

2. Construction Method

rimsRim construction is key in terms of durability and longevity. Ask whether the wheels are cast or forged. Cast wheels are made from a mold using molten aluminum, which is porous and more susceptible to damage.

Cast models are more affordable than forged wheels. However, forged versions offer greater durability. The metal is made from either mold-form or machine forging processes, and the grain flows in conjunction with the wheel’s shape to create denser results. The longevity allows you to recoup upfront costs.

3. Offset & Backspace

Offset concerns the inches from the wheel’s center to the mounting surface, or the part of the wheel connected to the brake rotor. Backspace refers to the distance from the wheel’s interior edge to the mounting section.

High offsets equal inward wheel installations that result in less clearance between the tire’s interior edge and the suspension system, and a narrow vehicle stance. Low offsets, or wheels that jut outward, widen the vehicle stance and provide more space between the tire’s inner edge and the suspension system.

Rims with little backspace offer interior wheel clearance to virtually eliminate tire rubbing risks. Those with more backspace have the opposite effect. Inquire about offset and backspace measurements to avoid size-related wear issues and turning radius problems. 


If you need new car rims, check out M & C Tire. The family-owned and -operated auto center has served drivers throughout Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Somers, Big Fork, and Lakeside, MT, since 1979. They’re certified by the Tire Industry Association and will help you choose the right parts for your vehicle. Call (406) 752-9662 to discuss your needs, or view their inventory online.