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What are Chrome Rims?

By Michael Giuffre
Updated May 23, 2024
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While all cars have tires, only some have rims. The tire of a car is made up of three basic parts: the actual rubber tire; the wheel, which is the part that the tire attaches to; and the rim, which includes the edge of the wheel and the spokes. The type of wheel covering, if any, depends mostly on personal taste and budget. Cars that do not have rims have hubcaps, which are basically fitted over the wheel, or are simply left with only the wheel such as aluminum wheels. Chrome rims are most commonly put on car wheels to make them look more appealing, although they are also made for other vehicles such as motorcycles.

Reasons to Buy

Originally, chrome was used for rims to prevent them from rusting or corroding, but with other options now available to solve those problems, the most common purpose for the rims today is to add to the look of a vehicle. For people wishing to be noticed or to customize their car, truck, or SUV, chrome rims will often do the job. These highly polished rims are plated with a chrome mirror finish that shines in sunlight or streetlight, making them highly appealing to many people. Many car aficionados who enter their vehicles in contests and shows, elect to install chrome rims on their vehicles because it makes the cars look sharp, fast, and expensive.

Things to Consider

All that good-looking class comes at a cost, however, and chrome rims aren't usually the cheapest option; they commonly cost several times more than standard hubcaps. Of course, the price will be multiplied by four to calculate the price of a full set of wheels. When considering purchasing chrome rims, it is important to note the lug pattern of the particular wheel, the size of the rims, and the width of the wheel. Each of these measurements varies from car to car, so it's helpful to know the car's specifications before shopping for new chrome rims.

Other Types of Wheel Covers

While rims, especially those made of chrome, may appeal to many car owners, some people choose to purchase hubcaps or aluminum wheels instead. These other options are generally less expensive and offer a large variety of style options.

  • Hubcaps: Cheaper cars tend to include hubcaps, which are plastic coverings made to resemble chrome, that hide the car's true, crude wheels. Hubcaps are the cheapest way to make plain wheels look nice; however, due to the nature of the plastic, they tend to have a relatively short lifespan, as they can fall off easily, compared to true aluminum wheels or chrome rims.

  • Aluminum Wheels: Made out of finished metal, aluminum wheels do not have any type of cover because most people prefer them the way they are. There are countless attractive designs to choose from, and aluminum wheels add a touch of class to one's car. Aluminum wheels are commonly sold in a dull silver finish and sometimes, although less common, shiny black. They are much more expensive than hubcaps, yet tend to be less expensive than chrome rims. Aluminum wheels are probably the most common type of wheel sold with new cars.
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