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Ask an expert: What you need to know when buying wheels

Learn about the importance of hardware kits, the difference between steel and alloy wheels and more, from our wheel expert, Kevin Chisholm.

Q: What is the difference between steel and alloy wheels?

A: Steel wheels are all about their durability. They are simple and have a basic application, meaning they can fit onto basic model cars. If you find yourself in a conversion with auto experts or enthusiasts, you may hear them referring to them as “steelies”.

Alloy wheels are usually a cosmetic addition, and you may hear people often refer to them as “rims”. Alloys are all about the upgrade and the customization, plus they’re lighter weight and tend to rust less.

Q: Why are alloy wheels more expensive than steel wheels?

A: Well it comes down to materials and design. With steel wheels there isn’t too much customization, so it takes much less time to design and produce. Whereas with the alloys, there are colours, finishes and spoke designs all to be considered.

Q: What should I know before going in to get new wheels or customized wheels?

A: The make and model of your car plus the size of your wheels is pretty much all you need to know. Other than that our local OK Tire experts will help you find the wheel that’s right for your vehicle and your personal style. Our online tool lets you customize your ride online, so you can check out all the possibilities!

If you’re thinking of customizing or upgrading your wheels, there are factors related to calibration that will affect the drivability of your car, and even fuel consumption. Your best bet is to go into a shop and speak with an expert that will help you find the right combination to fit the width and profile that’s best for your car!

Q: Speaking of wheel size, how can you determine your wheel size?

A: Whether you are switching to a new set of wheels or upgrading your wheels and tires to a bigger size, you can find this on your existing tire.

Q: What do I need to ensure my wheels fit properly?

A: When choosing a new set of aftermarket wheels in store, you will likely be offered a hardware kit during your selection process; sometimes referred to as an accessory kit or wheel installation kit. Hardware kits often include: lock nuts, lug nuts and a sometimes a key (eg. spline drive or tuner nuts). It is important to take advantage of this kit when offered, as hardware is not only specific to the vehicle, but also the wheel itself.

At OK Tire, our kits include the right amount of spline drive lug nuts for your application whether it is 5, 6 or 8 bolt. The spline drive also serves the purpose of a lock nut and is accompanied by a key. Our wheel experts will work with you to ensure you get the right hardware kit based on both your vehicle and the wheel manufacturer specifications.

Q: Other than the cosmetic appeal, is there a reason people tend to have large wheels on their vehicles?

A: Most people do it for cosmetic and personal preference, but people who lift their trucks and add on larger wheels are often doing it for mudding purposes. Most car enthusiast just want to bling up their ride, which OK Tire totally understands and loves to assist in being part of your vehicle’s transformation!

Q: What’s one interesting fact about wheels you could share?

A: What some people don’t know or realize is that when you get wheels that are larger than the original wheels that came with your vehicles, the more heavyweight your vehicle becomes and that can actually affect the way your speedometer reads! It can read as much as 8% to 9% less than the actual speed that you’re going. The larger the overall diameter when compared to the original, the less revolutions per km your wheel turns. To simplify, it is better to keep the overall diameter of the wheel and tire package the same as your original or the closes possible within 3% to avoid any drastic changes in your speedometer!

You can now accessorize your ride online at any time! Our tool will show you the different accessories and wheel options! Or drop by your local OK Tire and one of our wheel experts will be happy to help.