What are OEM wheels and rims?
OEM is a term used quite often, but many may not be sure of what it means. The acronym stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This term is used to refer to the original equipment that came with the product, or more specifically, the manufacturer of the stock product. In regards to your vehicle's wheels, the manufacturers produce certain stock rims for each vehicle. Year by year and model by model, cars each have their own stock equipment. The OEM part is referenced for the production of replacement equipment for the original model as the ame on the factory stock equipment does not always specify the original manufacturer.
For example, a 2015 Ford F-150 has quite a few OEM wheels ranging from 17 inch silver steel styled rims to 20 inch machined aluminum or bright aluminum and even 22 inch chrome and chrome clad wheels. The options are all original equipment for the F-150 and serve to give the car its different designs requested by Ford and these options are the oiginal wheels you see on the vehicles. The original equipment is often the easiest to find replacements for but not always the cheapest. Some stock original options came on OEM vehicles for many years, however some factory original equipment may have only been produced on the car for a year or two. The longer a car was equipped with the factory stock parts, the easier it is to find those pieces.
What is TPMS?
If you've ever been told to check your TPMS and were unsure of what was being asked of you, you're in the right place. TPMS stands for Tire Pressure Monitoring System. It is an electronic system that is used to measure the amount of pressure inside of your vehicle's stock tire. The majority of new vehicles come equipped with this system. When one or more of the tire's pressures are low, a warning light will appear to warn you to check them.
This is one of the most important warning lights to pay attention to on your vehicle's dashboard because it could prevent you from getting into an accident. If your tire pressure is very low, the factory original wheels will be put under a lot of stress and could have long-term effect that may lead to a necessary replacement of used rims. This system is extremely helpful and recognizes the lack of pressure early enough so that you are able to get it fixed before something catastrophic occurs.
How do I keep my OEM wheels looking new?
Everyone wants to keep their OEM wheels clean, but how do you maintain their factory orignal condition. This is not a difficult task but will require some dedication. You should wash your stock wheels about once a week to keep your wheels in the best shape.
Begin with a bucket, soap (we recommend Dawn detergent), and a hose. Put a bit of soap into the bucket and fill it with water so you have it nice and sudsy. Lightly spray your used wheels in order to remove some of the dirt, tar and brake dust build up. Get your non-abrasive cleaning utensil. Lightly scrub your used rim. Applying too much pressure may scratch the wheel, damaging the finish especially on machined finished and polished wheels. Rinse off throughly and examine it for any missed spots.
Once the wheel has been sufficiently cleaned, you can dry the wheel off with a soft cloth or allow it to air dry. However, if you decide to allow the wheels to air dry, you will most likely want to leave your car in the shade to decrease the chance of water spots. After the wheel has dried completely, you can add a light coat of polish or wax to bring out the shine and protect your wheel. Be sure not to add too heavy of a layer so that discoloration, corrosion, or any other type of damage occurs to your wheels. If you plan on polishing and waxing, follow the process for polishing first, then apply the wax containing sealant to ensure the protection of your wheels.
By keeping your stock rim clean and giving it it added protection of sealant containing wax and following these guidelines, you can ensure your used wheels' longevity and its' fresh off the production line finish.
Chrome vs. chrome clad
You may be wondering why your factory original wheels are coming "chrome clad" on your new original equipment vehicle instead of the traditional "chrome", but this growing trend has been performed on steel and aluminum wheels for quite a while now.
"Chrome clad" refers tp a plastic chromed hubcap, or full wheel skin, that is manufactured onto your OEM rims. The difference about this stock hubcap however is that it is permanently attached to the face of the wheel by a coat of bonding agents and sealants. The up side is that this process is quite a bit cheaper in addition to the material of the hubcap being corrosion resistant and long lasting. The down side is that because this original wheel skin is glued down, major damage to the cap cannot be simply fixed. In fact, the whole wheel often needs to be replaced is damage is done. Damage to traditionally chromed wheels can often be fixed without having to replace the entire used wheel through a process of buffing and re-chroming of the rim.
Factory original chromed wheels however are of course susceptible to corrosion and the process to repair them is not necessarily the cheapest. Personal preference and the original manufactured equipment on the car are the deciding factors on whether you chrome or chrome clad but either way it's a shinny ride!
What is my rim or wheel size?
Ever wonder what size the OEM wheels are on your vehicle? Well, there is a simple way to discover the size of your rims if you can't remember what origial wheel came with your car.
To figure out your actual stock wheel diameter, you can simply look on the tire. For example, you see 275/55R20 on your tire, the diameter of the wheel is referenced by R20 which is a 20" diameter wheel.
To find out the width of your wheel, you must look at the back side of the rim itself. Imprinted on a spoke of the OEM wheel is a number, such as 20x9. The 20" refers tp the diameter, another way to discover this element, and the "9" refers to the rim's width. Some factory original wheels however, more often steel, display this number on the front side or face of the rim. Another way, however less accurate, is to take the reference number on your tire 275/55/R20. Instead of using the end, take 275. This number is the width of the tire in millimeters. To convert it to inches, divide by 25.4. This new number, in our case, 10.8 is a rough estimate of your wheel's diameter. The actual wheel diameter is likely to be 10 inches in this case.
How do I keep my chrome in factory condition?
Having OEM chrome wheels or even aftermarket wheels can definitely add to the esthetic value of your car. Some effort is required in order to keep a bright and shinny finish on your vehicle's wheels. Factory chrome vehicle wheels are susceptible to corrosion caused by water among other factors. To prevent this you have to keep them clean. You should wash your stock vehicle wheels at least once a week. This is especially important if you live in an area that corrosion may be more likely to occur such as climates with high humidity, high salt content in the air or areas with lots of snow or rain.
To start the cleaning process, get some cool water, add a bit of soap, and have your car in a shaded area. Cool areas allow the vehicle wheel to dry without leaving spots. Lightly spray the chrome rims to air the removal of dirt build-up. Avoid using ammonia or acid based cleaning products will likely damage the wheel. Take a sponge or other non-abrasive cleaning tool and clean with light pressure. Rubbing with too much pressure can cause damage to your chrome rims. Any abrasive material will likely damage the finish on the wheel as well.
After the initial run through, take a detailed look at the original wheel to ensure removal of all the debris. If not all of the dirt was removed, take another run through to ensure the cleanliness of your chrome rim. In addition, make sure that you have done your best to reach all of the parts of the chrome wheel.
Once the wheel is cleaned, allow it to air dry in the shade. After it has fully dried, wax and polish the chrome wheel. It is best to use a chrome specific wax or polish to achieve the best results. Apply a thin layer of the product to the wheel and allow it to settle. Then gently buff the product off using a soft cloth. Polishing will brighten up your chrome rims. Using a wax with a sealant will help to protect the chrome. This should be done about once a month. Remember that once the chrome starts to corrode polishing or "fixing" it will not work.
Polished vs. chrome. They're both shiny right?
Absolutely, both rim finishes are shinny, but a different process for each wheel finish is what the difference is.
Chrome OEM or aftermarket wheels, usually steel wheels to begin,go through a process of plating, often with various metals, with the final layer being chrome. This gives the wheel a very bright and almost mirror like finish. Due to the plating process if damage is done to the chromed wheel the process to fix it must include re-chroming the used rim, which can be costly. This process also leads to heavier wheels which can have an effect on the performance of your vehicle.
Polished wheels are actually just the aluminum of the rim sanded down and then polished to create the shiny, more colorful finish of the rim. Because there is no protective coat over the aluminum, aside from a clear coat, the wheel can be repaired with less cost to you. Also since there is no addition of materials to the wheel, it stays lighter and performance is maintained. The choice between the two breaks down to your preference.
Maintenance is required for both finishes to maintain the wheel's durability as well as the luster of the finish. Polished wheels may need to be cared for more frequently considered there is often not a protective coat over the wheel's finish. Chrome may being to fall apart if not cared for and can lead to corrosion of your rim even though its original function was to protect the metal beneath.
What are "reconditioned" wheels?
A reconditioned wheel is actually a previously used rim that had no major prior damage and has been, refinished to look brand new. Factory original used wheels are primarely the initial product. They are first carefully inspected for damage. If curb rash or face gauges are too deep it may not be deemed repairable to insurance quality. Additionally, the used wheels are checked to ensure they run straight and true. Significantly bent wheels are not able to undergo the reconditioning process and will instead be scrapped. Curb rash, light scrapes, and even other damage including minor bends or wobbles may be repairable.
Once these rims pass the rigorous inspection, they are put through a process to return the wheel back ti its "fresh off the manufacturer's line" look as much as possible. The process of reconditioning does not weaken of damage the wheel.
During the reconditioning process, the wheel witll be straightened, repaired, and metal may be added if need be. Painted/ powder coated rims will get painted as close if not the exact factory color as the original. Polished wheels will get re-polished.
The final product is a beautiful reconditioned wheel that looks just as good as new. We stand behind our reconditioned wheels and if for any reason you did not get what you ordered, contact us right away before the wheel is mounted or used and we will do what we can to ensure your satisfaction.
How can I tell if my wheel is steel or aluminum alloy?
Steel and aluminum refer to the material or metal the factory original wheel is made with. There are also chrome stock wheels but they are in another category. To understand the difference between the rims, you can examine a few different factors. Weight is one of the main differences between alloy rims, another name for aluminum, and steel wheels. Steel wheels are much heavier than their aluminum counterparts. This characteristic allows for cars with stock alloy wheels to maneuver better since the vehicle is lighter. Steel wheels on the other hand weigh the car down. This weight difference also leads to strength differences.
Although this detail may not be recognizable in distinguishing whether you have steel or alloy rims, steel wheels are less likely to be damaged by an impact of some sort. Because of this difference in material strength, original steel rims often have very plain and simple designs. On the other hand, aluminum stock wheels are much more malleable. This allows for the intricate designs on many aluminum wheels. So another way to tell the difference between your OEM wheels is to determine whether the design is as simple as five flat spokes or a bunch of holes around the rim or as intricate as 12 Y shaped spokes or 10 double spokes. However, original equipment steel rims may also come equipped with hub caps or wheel covers. These plastic covers that give the look of aluminum wheels but don't be fooled. Underneath this alloy rim designed like cap is still the paini and simple steel wheel.
OEM aluminum rims also come in various finishes ranging from painted to chrome to polished to machined finished. Factory original steel are most likely a painted finish, unless a hub cap is placed onto the rim.
What's better, a reconditioned wheel or a touched up wheel?
A reconditioned wheel is 100x's better in every aspect compared to a touched up wheel.
We offer a TOTAL all over, specialist refurbishment that mobile alloy wheel repair services cannot offer for a similar price to what they will charge for a temporary, cosmetic, touch up job. The finishes at Rimedie's give an all over coating and are tougher, longer lasting and will last you for years to come. Mobile services cannot prepare the wheel as throughly or strip off old coatings prior to refurbishment so it is impossible for a mobile company to achieve the same finish as a rim remanufacturing facility. In most cases they don't even remove the tire, they just mask it off!
Sparkle silver or hyper silver, how can I tell the finish?
Stock original wheels come in various finishes. Most people have heard of sparkle, standard or just plain silver finishes on their factory original rims but there are also wheel finishes under the name hyper silver. These were originally produced as OEM parts for companies such as BMW and Audi but now are on a much wider array of vehicles. What is the difference, one might ask. The various finishes each have unique qualities that may be hard to discern.
Standard silver rim finishes of course should be the easiest to recognize. Imagine plain silver, no sparkle, not darker or lighter, but standard grey silver wheels. This stock option is just a basic dull silver color. This finish is often on steel wheels but also makes its place as an original finish on aluminum rims. Sparkle silver is basically the same, but with a slight sparkle as the name implies. There are metallic flakes in the paint and give the wheel a shinier, sparkly look and whether those flecks are large or small abundant or minimal, give the OEM wheels their originality.
Hyper silver can look similar, however has slight differences. There are darker hyper silver rim finishes that often consist of a duller, darker version of silver. This finish gives the wheel a shady or smoky look caused by the dark undercoat and a light overcoat. There are also lighter hyoer silver wheel finishes, and as one could imagine, a lighter silver. These consist of a light base coat in addition to having a slight color difference, hyper silver rims do not contain any metallic flakes. However, because of the special process that is used to create these hyper silver rims, it is often hard to recondition them and create the exact same finish of the factory original wheel.