3 Ways Aftermarket Wheels are Ruining Your Car

Having aftermarket wheels has become increasingly popular in the automotive world, even for standard drivers who wouldn’t call themselves car enthusiasts. In a world where hubcaps are quickly dying out — thankfully — having different styles and sizes of the wheel is becoming one of the most obvious factors that separate trim levels of the same models. Likewise, putting aftermarket wheels on your vehicle is a great way to customize your ride, but if you’re not careful, it could actually ruin your car.

Sticking to the style

There are so many different types and styles of wheels out there to keep track of, but not all wheels are created equally. In fact, it isn’t the most unusual thing to see a set of wheels on a car that looks a little…off. Sometimes adding a new set of wheels to your car can enhance its overall appearance, but if you aren’t careful, you can end up making your car look quite tacky and detract from the car’s aesthetic.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang’s carbon-fiber wheel | Ford

Ride quality

Luxury car owners know that having a car with a luxury suspension makes a huge difference. We usually assume this is everything to do with the suspension, but wheels and tires also place a pretty big part of your car’s ride quality. If you buy wheels that are too big for your car, they could scrape the interior liner of the wheel well, causing damage. If you are buying wheels used, or buying cheap, lower-quality wheels, they could come damaged or become easily damaged, causing your car to vibrate or create other unpleasant feelings.

28 January 2019, Brandenburg, Briesen: The car tyre of a Volkswagen can be seen on a defective asphalt road surface and is reflected in a puddle. Photo: Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB (Photo by Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images)
The car tyre of a Volkswagen can be seen on a defective asphalt road surface | Patrick Pleul/picture alliance, Getty Images

Keeping your car valuable

In some cases, upgrading your car’s wheels can enhance the value, especially if you are getting rid of wheels that are covered by plastic hubcaps. Depending on the style, however, it can make your car less desirable and harder to sell. In fact, if the wheels don’t fit the style of the car at all, buyers could use it to haggle the price lower.

2021 Toyota Highlander XSE wheels
2021 Toyota Highlander XSE wheels | Toyota

You Should Keep Your Car’s Factory Wheels

While it isn’t always a bad idea to upgrade your car’s factory wheels, there are some important things to keep in mind when doing so. Whether you are upgrading to something aftermarket or buying the wheels that go with the model’s higher trim levels, there are plenty of options to chose from.