How Do Rims & Wheels Differ?

by Jessica Reed

What Is a Wheel?

Some of us may be confused when it comes to the different parts that make up the wheel of a car. What is the center, where is the rim and what does the tire have to do with anything? Or, like others, you may think that a wheel is a wheel and that's that. While a wheel is considered a part of your car, it's actually made up of different parts. These mainly focus on the center, the rim and the tire itself.

Difference Between the Wheel and the Rim

The rim and the center of the wheel are often confused. Remember that the center and the rim together make up what is commonly known as the wheel of your car. The wheel itself is not a part of the car, but the result of a combination of parts, namely the rim and center. The center of the wheel is the silver part in the very middle of your car's wheels. The hubcap can be found here. The rim is the circular strip that goes around the center. The center is connected to the rim, and the tire goes around the outside of the rim. Once you get these parts together, you have a car wheel.

About Tires

The tire is easy to recognize; it's the giant black rubber tube part of your wheels. Most of us get our first good look at our tires when we have a flat. Many people include the tire when they're talking about the wheel of their car, but it can be considered as separate. Tires must constantly have the air pressure in them checked since they support the car and allow it to roll forward. With a flat tire, you'd be driving on the rim, and that won't get you very far.

About Hubcaps

Lastly, you have the hubcaps. These go over the center of your wheel and may or may not be necessary for your car. Some wheels are designed so that hubcaps are not necessary, while others require them. Mainly a hubcap is there to protect the lug nuts from rust or falling out, and it also serves to make the car look nicer. If you've ever removed the hubcaps of a car, you may notice the wheel doesn't look very nice. Hubcaps add a cleaner, more sophisticated look to the car. Protection of the lug nuts is important as well. A rusted lug nut can be almost impossible to remove, which is necessary when it comes time to change the tire.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Global b2b Network, http://www.global-b2b-network.com/b2b/78/10/1255/page5/wheel_and_tire_parts.html