What Are OEM Wheels?

by Michael G. Sanchez

OEM is an acronym for "Original Equipment Manufacturer." OEM wheels are simply wheels that were originally offered by the manufacturer with a given car, truck or SUV. OEM wheels may be either standard or optional equipment. Hence, they range from basic, low-end "steelies" with plastic hub caps up to attention-grabbing, premium alloy rims, depending on the model and manufacturer. One common feature of OEM wheels is that they display the manufacturer's name or logo. Typically, this is found on the center cap of the wheel.

OEM vs. Aftermarket

Aftermarket wheels or "rims" are the alternative to OEM wheels. These are wheels made by a company other than the manufacturer of the vehicle. They are often fairly expensive and dramatically styled. Some owners replace their OEM wheels with aftermarket rims for either performance or appearance reasons, or a combination of the two. Car enthusiasts view aftermarket wheels as a way of personalizing their vehicles.

About the Author

Michael G. Sanchez has been a professional writer for over 10 years. A lifelong car enthusiast and former senior mechanic, he has written on a wide range of automotive topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Castleton State College. Sanchez started writing about cars as a part-time copywriter for a local dealership while still in high school.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Nneirda/iStock/Getty Images