When it comes to automobiles, it seems as if there are several terms for each part of a car, and rims and wheels are good examples of that. For many people, wheels can be called rims and rims can be called wheels, but the truth is, they are different. While they have the same basic function, work in the same location, and are usually made of similar materials, rims and wheels are in fact two different parts. Simply put, a rim is the outside edge of a wheel, and the two are usually connected by spokes.
Specifically, a rim is part of a wheel; it is the most outer edge of a wheel, and is the location where a tire is attached. The term rims has also been coined as a slang term for fancy or customized wheels on a car, but a rim does not have to look a certain way to be effective. It is used by car lovers everywhere to describe a specific type of wheel: these wheels are almost always bought as an aftermarket purchase, and they can be custom-made for a specific automobile. When used in the slang sense, rims are usually chrome, alloy, or another shiny and durable material. Not everyone refers to these specific styles as rims; some people choose to call them wheels instead, and sometimes, although technically incorrect, the term rims can be used to describe standard factory wheels on a car, sport utility vehicle, or truck.
Another difference between rims and wheels is how they operate; a wheel is a round device that rotates to allow a vehicle or other heavy equipment to move. In the case of a car wheel, the wheel should include a rim, and a tire. To be able to rotate, wheels are connected in parallel pairs, through their center, by an axle. The rotating motion moves the vehicle forward or backward, depending on which direction the wheel rotates. In general, wheels come standard on most new cars; usually the only exception is a luxury or high priced automobile, which will usually have chrome rims or alloy wheels.
Rim and Wheel Size
Besides coming in a variety of colors and materials, rims and wheels are also available in a large assortment of sizes. Larger-sized rims are popular on sports cars or sport utility vehicles that have a lot of aftermarket parts, because they make the vehicle appear more expensive and customized; these vehicles are popular for areas with warm climates and nice weather conditions as they tend to stay cleaner and develop less rust in warmer areas. Smaller wheels are usually accompanied by larger tires on vehicles that are used for off-road and winter weather driving conditions because the larger wheels make these vehicles safer to drive and easier to handle in harsh conditions.