Wheel rims have a huge impact on the performance of your car. They also affect key factors like noise levels, comfort, and even fuel economy.

This all means that you want to get the very best rims possible… but where should you buy them and what should you check for in a used wheel rim?

Let’s begin by taking a look at the options available to you in terms of where to buy the rims. After that, we will dive deeper into what you should check.

Where to buy used rims

When it comes to Craigslist used rims are a mixed bag. While there are undoubtedly some great deals to be found, there is also a lot of potential for sellers to run scams and sell sub-par products to you. Craigslist can also be unsafe. If you are really thinking about shopping there, you should have your wits about you.

If you’re Googling “junkyard rims near me”, you might want to think twice again: junkyards can often offer you poor-quality rims that can affect the performance of your car and even represent a real risk. These junkyards often sell rims with the wheel attached and while this can seem like a positive, it does in fact hinder your ability to assess the quality of the rim.

Salvage yards are your best bet. When browsing here, you can feel safe in the knowledge that the items have been assessed for quality and only the best items are available for sale. Salvage professionals understand what makes a quality rim – but how can you confirm that’s the case?

Correct lug holes

The bolt holes should be perfectly round. If the holes have a slightly oval shape, it’s a good indication that the tires were not balanced correctly in the past and this can have a serious impact on the integrity of the rim.

If the holes are anything other than perfectly circular, you should not buy the rim. Craigslist can be frustrating, given that some sellers might try to trick buyers and not mention these critical flaws.

The way you measure wheel lugs is from the back of 1 hole cross the wheel to the center of the other lug hole.

Avoid bends in the Wheel

A bent rim can be very dangerous and affect the performance of your car. Some rims are still serviceable with a slight bend, but anything more could represent a real risk to you.

It’s very hard to tell if a rim has a dangerous bend by sight alone. To get a better idea, you should find a flat surface and roll the rim a few feet in front of you. This will give you the chance to see if there are any hops or wobbles. If that happens, there’s a good chance that the rim is bent.

This is a good indicator, but a test at a tire shop is the only way you can be truly confident. If you have doubts when purchasing your used rims, don’t feel pressured into making a purchase you’re not sure about.

Check the Wheel for Cracks

A significant crack in a wheel rim can be very dangerous and make the rim more likely to fail. This is why you should be sure to thoroughly investigate the rim both inside and out. Aluminum rims are more susceptible to cracks, but steel rims have a tendency to bend around the lip and exhibit symptoms of rust.

Look for Weld Lines in the Wheel

A crack in a rim can absolutely be fixed through welding, but your seller must be forthcoming about any previous issues with the rim. If you make your purchase on Craigslist, you may find that some sellers disguise these welds under the wheel.

This means that you could potentially purchase a rim that is unsafe – the only way to check if the weld is safe is by conducting a test or buying from a trusted provider. You should still be sure to thoroughly investigate for the evidence of any welds performed on the rim.

Wheel Clear Coat Failure

Sometimes the clear coat protecting the wheels from the elements gets damaged, when this happens it allows salt and other debris to get in and start to oxidation the wheel from the inside out.

Wheel Curb Rash

It’s really common for used wheels to have a bit of curb rash around the edges from brushing up against curbs while parking.

Wheel Aluminum Oxidation

After clear coat failure corrosion starts to spread towards the bead, when this happens the tire will start to lose air. You can easily address the problem by cleaning the bead with sandpaper and use tire sealer.

Make the right choice

We hope this piece has been helpful and demonstrated that you should be very diligent when it comes to checking the used rims you’re thinking of buying. If you are thinking of going to look at some rims from Craigslist, we encourage you to follow these few tips to keep yourself and your vehicle safe:

  • Never go to meet a person from Craigslist alone
  • Let someone else know where you are going
  • Ask the person to confirm their identity before meeting

Stay safe and don’t be afraid to make the sensible choice when it comes to purchasing used rims – visit a trusted seller.