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Tires and Rims: Types of Rims

Rims: Functional Automotive Components

In order for a set of tires to function optimally, they must be mounted on a quality set of rims. Rims are often referred to as wheels, however, there is a slight difference.

A wheel is a complete wheel set-up, including rims and tires, while rims are the objects that the tire is mounted to. Rims, which are made of a variety of materials, were once manufactured onto sets of spokes, making them two different wheel components. However, most contemporary rims are forged from a single piece of metal, creating wheel sets which bolt onto the chassis, allowing the vehicle to roll. Rims play a key factor in vehicle safety, performance, customization, and aesthetics.

The Development of Rims

Tire rims have a long history. There is evidence that they were even incorporated into wheel design some 3,000 years ago. Rims were once the manufactured by hammering the outer piece of wood that makes up the rim's circumference onto a set of spokes. As the construction of rims has advanced, they've been able to make  wheels more stable and better able to endure a variety of surface conditions, from dirt to brick and even cobblestone streets. Since the advent of the automotive age, the technology used in rims has progressed rapidly and is still progressing today.

The Performance Capability of Rims

Rims allow for various performance capabilities on different vehicles, based on the way particular tires fit on them. For this reason, rims are one of the first upgrades a consumer may make to an automobile to enhance the vehicle's performance, to provide better handling, and to even improve a vehicle's look. While customization is a popular reason to purchase rims, they also serve a very practical purpose. They have a major impact on a vehicle's performance.

The science of rims is something that auto manufacturers seriously consider when developing a new vehicle. Everything from height to width to weight all can play into a vehicle's ability to handle in certain circumstances and roll smoothly along freeways. They even play a role in other aspects of driving such as gas mileage.

As you would suspect, rims also play an important part in vehicle safety. A damaged rim can cause warping of a wheel, as well as cause problems with a braking system, or even ruin a quality pair of tires. This is one more reason why it's important to routinely visually inspect rims, get tires rotated regularly, and have them properly inspected by a professional auto technician.

Different Types of Rims

Rims are made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some are manufactured for demanding vehicle performance, while others are manufactured for a specific look on vehicles such as show cars or cruisers. Sizes and widths of rims vary as greatly as the aesthetic designs available. Rims may be a single piece, multi-armed with brushed aluminum spokes, or highly polished chrome show pieces. The possibilities are virtually endless when it comes to automotive rims.

 

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