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Which Wheels to Buy?

Discussion in 'Wheels & Tires' started by sundevilruss, Nov 11, 2010.

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    sundevilruss

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    My stock wheels have a bit of curb rash. I'm buying new tires anyway, likely from Tire Rack, and am considering a wheel/tire package. My problem is that I know diddly squat about what to look for or avoid when it comes to buying wheels. I presume modern wheels don't have safety problems but there has to be a better metric than cost to gauge quality.

    I am interested in opinions on what brands/types of wheels to avoid. For example, I am considering black or black accent color schemes and don't know if painted rims are OK or not.

    Thanks for your help.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    The Tire Rack is beyond thorough in their standards for any wheels or wheel brands they offer, so as far as quality goes, I'd say you should have complete confidence in that regard.

    I have a few thoughts here: http://bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=8238&p=44405

    Make sure to check all detail tabs on the 'Rack website. Once you do a wheel search by vehicle and narrow down some choices, click the name or pic of each wheel, and check the "included hardware" and "optional hardware" tabs. Unless you really like a particular wheel, I tend to avoid wheels that need hub-centering rings or spacers, that's just one more nuisance to deal with and keep from losing every time a wheel goes on or off. If a certain wheel for your car requires those, it will be listed on the "included hardware" tab.

    A Tire Rack rep can answer any questions about the implications of offset &/or backspacing differences between any wheels you might consider.

    A few people on here have mentioned a finish problem w/ some ASA wheels, so if you find an ASA wheel appealing, I'd say have a discussion w/ a 'Rack rep about that potential issue.
    • Member

    sundevilruss

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    Thanks MGarrison, that's good advice. I wouldn't suspect Tire Rack of selling junk products, but when I see wheels in the $100 range I start to wonder about the quality/durability of the finish. I certainly don't want to be looking at another wheel/tire package in a couple of years.

    Clinesdale guest

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    I was not happy with either set of ASA wheels I bought from Tire Rack. The finish did not hold up for a full year.
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    az3579

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    I personally am wary of anything produced in China, but that's just my personal standard and may be unwarranted.

    Either way, I think some contrast is in order; black on black is just too dark for my eyes.

    Problem with a lot of the wheels on the 'rack is that they just don't 'fit' the car right, not with actual fitment, but just by design. Most of the wheels I saw on there I couldn't imagine on my car in a million years, and the very few that I could, didn't quite look the way I wanted. Oh well.
    • Member

    Deutsch Marques

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    Tire Rack is like the Best Buy of the wheel and tire retailers. They cater to the mass market. But you can trust their customer service reps, and you can be sure what they say will fit your car will. However, they can be a little bit conservative in fitments, where a more aggressive and perfectly safe fitment may not be offered. They also tend to carry only a selection of the large number of choices out there.

    Regarding wheel price and quality... like most things, you get what you pay for. A $100 wheel is likely going to be "gravity cast" or "low pressure cast", which are the heaviest and weakest wheels you can get. While a $3000 wheel is probably going to be multi-piece forged, which is light and strong. It all depends on what your budget is.

    Regarding construction method, generally from worst (cheapest) to best (and I may be missing a couple):
    - Gravity cast
    - Low pressure cast
    - High pressure cast
    - "Flow formed" or "Spun cast"
    - Forged

    I had to replace my wheels on my M3 because the previous owner completely trashed the OEM 18" wheels, and it would have cost more to refinish them than to buy new ones. I went with a newer brand of wheels called Forgestar (www.forgestar.com) which makes forged and flow-formed wheels. I got a set of F14 flow-formed wheels for about $1200. They are light and look great, in my opinion. However, when I ordered them early last year, the only retailer carrying them was Modbargains.com, and I would not recommend them at all!

    Have you thought about refinishing your OEM wheels? Depending on how badly rashed they are, that might be the best solution. To buy wheels of the same quality, you'd probably be spending several thousand.

    Clinesdale guest

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    As far as needing some contrast (black wheels vs. silver or chrome or other), I'm not sure what to say. There could be a generational gap between those who like silver and those who like black. I'm 40 and was always a fan of aluminum spoked-wheels when I was a teenager. That changed to chrome when I was in my 20s / 30s. I stepped out of my comfort zone when I chose black on black.

    The feedback from passersby has been significant and positive. I still like the 5-spoked silver wheel the best, but every once in a while, I see something with black on black that really grabs me; like the Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series.

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