Types of Wheel Rims

by Reese Armstrong

Before 2010, standard wheel rims where made of steel. Car wheels today come in a variety of materials and sizes from alloy, gold plated and chrome in sizes from 15 to 28 inches in diameter. Consider the vehicle you drive when purchasing rims, as the rims can alter the car's performance and handling.


Steel wheel rims are the cheapest option and one of the most durable options. However, steel rims are heavier than their alloy counterparts, weighing three times the amount of aluminum, the primary metal in alloy wheels, according to Smart Cycles. The weight has caused these rims to be replaced by alloy wheels on modern cars.


The alloy wheel is a combination of various metal types, with the primary metal being aluminum. Aluminum used in alloy rims allows them to be lightweight and thus best for performance. On some vehicles for show, gold and silver plating can be applied for an opulent finish.


Chrome wheels are not solid chrome but an applied finish over your choice of wheel. The chrome wheel rim is used for show cars and sports cars for a fancy finish. Chrome adds nothing to increase performance, but gives the wheel a shinier finish. Chrome wheels can scratch easily, so use chrome wheels in sunny and dry weather, and have a back-up set of rims for snow and rain.

Colors and Spinners

To make rims more eye catching, a colored finish can be added or the rims can be made to spin. Colors such as white, black and red are commonly used to match the wheel to the car's color. Spinning wheels will spin while the car is moving and for a short period once the vehicle has stopped.

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