Tips, Tricks & Trends

You Should Keep Your Car’s Factory Wheels

The wheels on your car can make a big difference in appearance, and it makes sense why people want to switch them around. Whether you want to add a custom touch or just make your car look a little bit sportier, swapping your car’s factory wheels for something aftermarket always seems like a good option. On the other hand, there are always reasons not to, and they are reasons to keep in mind if you are looking to buy some new wheels for your car.

Ditching hubcaps

Once upon a time, lower model cars could be easily upgraded with a new set of hubcaps. Besides size and style, there wasn’t much concern when it came to picking out hubcaps, but even the best ones didn’t look very great. Covering up a ‘steely’ wheel, hubcaps have since become rather uncommon, and we are happy to see actual wheels on most modern-day cars. Ditching the need for hubcaps makes a lot of drivers less likely to want to upgrade.

The broken BMW hubcap is seen at a scrap yard in Fuerstenfeldbruck, southern Germany | CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP, Getty Images

Ride quality

Not all wheels are created the same, and the latest trend of low-profile tires and wheels might just make you hate your car. While having a car with low-profile tires can look really sporty and stylish, it can ruin your car’s ride quality. With less cushioning to help your car absorb the impact of bumps and potholes in the road, swapping to lower side-wall tires can make your driving experience rough and miserable, and in severe cases, cause faster wear on your vehicle’s suspension.

2020 Nissan Altima All Wheel Drive is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The 2020 Nissan Altima | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

RELATED: Changing Your Tire and Wheel Size Isn’t as Easy as It Looks

There could be easier options

Sometimes changing out your factory wheels isn’t as easy as it looks either. There are a lot more measurements that go into place when picking a wheel, besides size. For instance, you could put a larger wheel in to reduce your gap, but you risk the tire rubbing against the fender liner and wearing it down. An easier option is to find out if the higher trim level of your car comes with the option for wheels you like. Always double-check the measurements as sometimes differences in trim levels mean differences in bolt patterns and other measurements, too.

2021 MINI Countryman powered by X-Raid
2021 MINI Countryman powered by X-Raid | BMW Motor Group

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So, if you’re careful and pay attention to which wheels you pick, it is hard to argue against swapping out your factory wheels. However, if you just pick something based on looks, you might end up damaging your car, or ruining its drive quality. That means research and time are key to finding a new set of wheels for your car, even with some shortcuts.