There are no certainties in life except for death and taxes, or so a quote says. Well, if you own a car, you’ll probably agree with me when I say that life has one more certainty besides those two – that your car and its parts will eventually wear out. So, does that life truth apply to car rims?
Yes, like most other car parts, rims will eventually wear out. Rims can last 4 to 5 years on average, but age, rough use, and damage from hitting curbs or running over potholes can wear them out quicker.
Minor damage to rims can be repaired, but that should serve as fair warning that sooner or later, you’ll need to replace them entirely.
In this guide, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about car rim wear-and-tear, as well as when to replace them.
Let’s get to it.
Car Rims 101
What are car rims?
One way of looking at car rims is as a car's feet, while the tyres are the shoes wrapped around each of those rims. Together, the rim and tyre are the parts of your car directly in contact with the road.
In this article, we won't go into too much detail about what rims are or whether steel ones are better than alloy. You can check out our previous articles to understand the role that rims play alongside other wheel parts.
Now, let’s talk about the lifespan of car rims and when to replace them.
How long do rims last?
When you look at a set of rims and touch them with your hands, they feel like solid pieces of metal that could last a lifetime. Unfortunately, that’s not the case since they take lots of abuse. As such, you can expect your rims to last about four or five years on average before requiring repairs or replacements.
But how do these solid pieces of steel or alloy get worn out and damaged?
Causes of Car Rim Damage
Firstly, let's remember that those four car rims bear the entire weight of your vehicle at all times, whether your car’s parking in your garage or moving at high speeds. That alone is a significant source of wear on your car rims.
Besides that, rims are also exposed to other sources of damage, including:
- Physical damage from hitting the curb
- Damage from running over potholes, small and large
- Corrosion from driving on salted roads during winter
Depending on the type and extent of damage, you might be able to salvage the wheel with the help of a nearby car rims repair specialist. However, extensive wear and damage will require replacement. Also, even when only one or two rims might be damaged, it’s often a good idea to replace all four simultaneously to make sure they match (and get a better deal from the seller).
What are the signs that my car needs new rims?
When the time comes for you to inspect your rims, you’ll need to know what to look out for. Firstly, always remember that the damage you can see with your eyes aren’t the only signs that you need new rims. Instead, you must also pay attention to how your car feels when you’re driving them.
So, here are the visual and non-visual clues telling you that you need to get new rims:
- Visual signs: Look for any bent parts on your rims, dents, and severe scratches (like if you’ve been hitting one too many curbs with those rims lately).
- Steering wheel vibrations: Hold your steering wheel with both hands the next time you drive and try to sense any excess vibrations. Several things could cause this (the suspension system, for instance), but a likely issue is worn-out rims.
- Alignment problems: Your car should drive in a straight line even when your hands aren’t on the steering wheel. If the vehicle pulls to one side or the other, your rims are a possible reason for that.
- Excessive tyre air loss: Tyres lose air, and that’s normal. But if they lose air more often than usual, despite how you keep refilling them with air, first check for leaks. Besides leaks, damaged rims can also cause this problem.
When you notice one or more of these signs, it would be an excellent idea to inspect your rims up close or have your mechanic do it for you.
How Often Do You Need to Replace Your Car's Rims?
As mentioned above, your car rims should last you a good four or five years on average, though some of the top aftermarket wheel brands might last longer. After that period, it would be advisable to get new rims for your car, especially if you plan on keeping that car for a long time to come.
In some cases, you might have the budget to pre-emptively replace them before they become worn out. Of course, no one’s preventing you from replacing your car rims if you feel like updating your vehicle’s overall aesthetics.
Remember: When it comes to parts directly related to the vehicle’s safety, performance, or mobility, you’ll want to get them replaced ASAP, without any delay at all. Unfortunately, your car rims are one of those types of parts.
If you’re in the market for the best car rims Australia has to offer, your first stop should be the Marketplace at Carpart.com.au, where you can browse through all the car rims for sale right now.
Other than that, you can also broaden your search with the Directory or Parts Finder to check out the best car rims Perth sellers have in stock, or those in any other part of Australia for that matter.
By Ray Hasbollah