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What are the Different Types of Factory Rims?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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There are many different types of factory rims available for automobiles, from plain steel to steel wheels with hub caps to styled steel wheels and aluminum wheels. Typically, the option level or package that a vehicle is ordered with will determine which style of factory rims will come equipped on the vehicle. Factors such a braking, tire and performance packages will often mandate specific factory rims be included with a vehicle purchase. Regardless of the package and trim options, it is usually common not to have matching factory rims included with a spare tire.

The entry level option package with most vehicles will include plain steel factory rims. These wheels are typically painted and are most commonly black in color. This level of vehicle will also come equipped with the least expensive tires offered on the particular model line as well. This package is fine for most company vehicle purchases as well as rental car usage. Many times, an individual that is intent on adding custom wheels in the near future will order a new vehicle with the plain factory rims.

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Moving up in the option package offering is the steel wheel with hubcap. These upgraded factory rims provide more styling and typically come equipped with a better tire. This option can be enhanced by electing to purchase a styled steel wheel with hubcap. These type of factory rims are commonly a five-spoke type wheel with a small center cap and outside chrome-plated beauty ring. This wheel is often painted a body color instead of the gloss black finish given to the plain steel wheel.

The upper option levels commonly include aluminum wheels in the appearance package. There are typically two or more designs of aluminum wheel used for each model line with a wider and usually larger circumference wheel being used on the performance option level. This larger circumference wheel allows the manufacturer to not only install lower-profile and high-speed rated tires on the vehicle, but it also allows for the inclusion of larger diameter brake rotors along with larger brake calipers.

By using the larger factory rims, the brakes are capable of receiving more air through the wheel openings, enabling the brakes to operate at a reduced heat level under hard braking periods. The use of the low-profile tires also allows for less tire roll when driving hard through tight turns. This makes the vehicle much easier to handle.

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