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What to Know Before Buying Used Car Wheels or Rims

A good set of wheels goes a long way towards having a safe and comfortable ride. A nice set of rims can make any vehicle look that much better. You can buy these things used and still receive all the benefits, but only pay a fraction of the cost. Here’s how to buy used wheels or rims with confidence.

Find Wheels That Match Your Vehicle’s Make and Model

Buying used car wheels makes a lot of sense in a variety of circumstances. They’re ideal if you only need to replace a single wheel, or if you need a spare. And you can easily replace all four wheels with used versions if you find some that appeal to you.

The easiest way to pick up new wheels is to find those that match your car’s make and model. A reputable auto parts dealer or salvage yard will usually have a database that allows you to find the right wheels quickly and easily.

However, not everyone wants to replace their wheels with the same exact ones. Or, you may need to find tires using other criteria instead of the make and model of your vehicle.

Find Reconditioned Wheels That Fit Your Vehicle

You can find reconditioned wheels not specifically designed for your car in much the same way you would look for factory or OEM wheels. Reconditioned wheels are refinished to match factory wheels. After being refinished, they’re in perfect condition. Even if you go up or down a size, reconditioned wheels suitable for your specific make and model should still show up as compatible with your vehicle.

Similarly, you can search for wheels from your car’s manufacturer that were designed for a different model but will still fit your car.

Find Unique Wheels by Knowing Your Wheel Measurements

If you can’t find the exact type of wheel you want, you can use measurements to find an appropriate wheel for your car. You can likely find the measurements of your stock wheels in your owner’s manual or online. Here are the most important things to take note of.

Bolt Pattern

Matching the bolt pattern of the wheel allows you to choose one that will actually fit your vehicle. You need to match the number of bolts required and the spacing between those bolts.

Center Ore

This is the hole in the center of the wheel that matches up with the hub. You must get a very precise measurement of the center bore as it must fit the hub snugly to prevent vibrations and allow the bolts to fit in properly.


The diameter and width of your wheel matters. You can go a little larger in most cases, but you’ll want the new wheel to fit your car’s wheel well.


The measurement from the wheel mount surface to the edge of the wheel. A smaller backspacing will allow the wheel to stick out from under the car a little more.


This is the measurement from the center of the wheel to the mounting surface. A negative offset will allow the shape of the wheel to peek out beyond the wheel well.

Going with measurements is an advanced way to choose tires. You need to know what you’re doing, and you must do the proper math. This is especially true if you want wheels with a unique look or a different size.

In most cases, you can check your current wheels and use those measurements to start with. Otherwise, you’ll have to break out the measuring tape and calculator to figure out some of these measurements.

A good place to start with your search for good wheels or rims is with City Auto Wreckers. Check our searchable database of wheels, rims, and other auto parts to help you find exactly what you need.

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