Choosing the Right Aftermarket Wheels for Your Vehicle at Carr Subaru in Beaverton, OR

Choosing the Right Aftermarket Wheels for your Car: 5 Things You Need to Know | Carr Subaru in Portland

There are plenty of good reasons to swap out the wheels on your ride. Whether you're looking for sportier style, superior performance or a smoother ride, changing the wheels can totally change the character of your ride for the better. But you'll need to know a few things to select quality wheels that'll work properly on your vehicle.

Below, we've compiled five tips to keep in mind when shopping for aftermarket wheels. If you need help with installation, we'd be happy to put your new rims on and recommend high-quality tires to fit them at Carr Subaru.

Wheel Shopping Tip #5: Keep a Low Profile (But Not Too Low)

Most people want to go up in wheel size when upgrading to aftermarket wheels. In order to make the wheel fit comfortably in the same space in the wheel well, bigger wheels mean shorter tires. Tires with short sidewalls are called, "Low-profile tires." Low-profile tires look great on sporty cars with large alloy wheels! And on performance cars, low-profile sport tires can provide enhanced traction. The drawback to low-profile tires? Ride quality. Since the tires are thinner, they won't do as good of a job isolating your car from bumps in the road.

Most of the time, you'll be limited to increasing the size of your wheel by no more than three inches in diameter. Combined with a very low-profile tire, you can enjoy a sporty look with bigger wheels! But if you go too big, and the tire gets too thin, you might find yourself with an unpleasant ride on rough pavement - so don't overdo it.

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Wheel Shopping Tip #4: The Wide World of Sports Cars

So, because the wheel well limits the diameter of the tires you can use on your car, how do you get a bigger contact patch (and therefore increased traction and grip)? By installing wider wheels, rather than bigger ones. Wide wheels provide a bigger contact patch for your tires and can enhance the sporty look of performance-tuned cars.

However, you'll want to check with an expert before you go out and purchase wide new wheels for your car. Go too wide and the tire might not have enough clearance when turning. Or, the wheel may stick out from the fender which can put excess strain on the vehicle's steering. Just how wide you can safely go will depend on your specific car.

Wheel Shopping Tip #3: Don't Get Faked Out

A high-end set of boutique rims from popular brands can cost a pretty penny. As a result, some companies are selling knockoffs and even counterfeit rims designed to look exactly like popular high-end wheels. They can look impressive to the naked eye, and go for tempting prices - but don't be fooled. Poor quality materials and manufacturing processes result in a sub-par product. Such aftermarket rims are known to shatter while driving, or have spokes and hubs snap when torquing the lug nuts. Not great news!

Be sure to purchase your rims from a reputable seller you can trust, or go through a Subaru dealership service department to avoid getting stuck with a fake.

Wheel Shopping Tip #2: Know Before You Go

Seen a wheel on the street or in a display window that you simply must have? Make sure it's compatible with your vehicle's bolt pattern first! Bolt patterns vary from automaker to automaker. They'll use different numbers of bolts spaced differently apart. A wheel is only compatible with a single, specific bolt pattern. Consult your owner's manual (or, let's be real, just Google it) to find the bolt pattern your car uses. Then, shop only for wheels designed to fit that pattern. Otherwise, the wheels just won't fit.

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Wheel Shopping Tip #1: The Possible Negatives

Changing the wheel and tire size from stock on a modern car can have some adverse effects that many drivers are unaware of. This is particularly true on Subaru cars, most of which are equipped with the sophisticated Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

For one, your speedometer will need to be professionally re-calibrated. Modern, computer-controlled speedometers use the speed of wheel rotation to determine forward speed. If the diameter of the wheel changes, so will your speed reading - and you might not be traveling at the speed you think you are. A local traffic cop will be happy to inform you of your actual speed.

Additionally, the all-wheel drive system on almost all modern Subaru vehicles means you have less clearance and less flexibility when it comes to changing wheel sizes. If you must change out your factory wheels, have a Subaru technician configure your speedometer for the new wheels before hitting the open road.

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Carr Subaru

11635 SW Canyon Rd
Directions Beaverton, OR 97005

  • Sales: (503) 672-3370
  • Service: (866) 460-0188
  • Parts: (888) 627-4707
  1. Carr Subaru

    11635 SW Canyon Rd
    Beaverton, OR 97005

    • Sales: (877) 271-4560

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