Xtreme Tire Garage | Are Rims & Wheels The Same Thing?

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Are Rims & Wheels the Same Thing? Find Out What Makes Them Different

August 15, 2022

Although they’re often used interchangeably, “rims” and “wheels” are really two different things. A lot of people refer to the wheel when they really mean the rim, but the rim is just a part of the wheel. The wheel itself is what actually turns, but to do that it relies on a sturdy rim to hold the tire in place.

Here is a rundown of what rims are, what wheels are, and how they differ.

What Are Rims?

A rim is simply the outer edge of a wheel. The main function of a rim is to hold the rubber tire in place by supporting the bead of the tire. The rim is typically U-shaped, to hold the bead. It also provides some protection from impact (think potholes!) due to its rigidity. Rims are typically made of the same metal – or alloy as the rest of the wheel but may also be clear-coated for added protection.

The rim is what you see when you look at your tire from the outside. It serves as a ‘protective shield’ for your tire and is also an important safety feature, meaning its condition directly affects the handling of your vehicle. The rim is also what keeps your tire sealed in place, preventing air from leaking out, and keeping moisture out of your tire and away from its inner components. If you experience vibration when steering, a sudden change in the car’s handling or a tire that keeps deflating, it may be an indication of a damaged rim. If you don’t remedy damage to a rim, it can cause rubbing against the tire, which can lead to a blow-out or a constant need to add air to your tire.  In summary, rims serve as a band of protection for your tires, and help you achieve a certain style and look for your car’s exterior.

What Are Wheels?

In the simplest terms, a wheel is the entire metal hub that holds your tire. The wheel is the entire component containing the hub, what used to be ‘spokes’, rubber tire, and other structural parts. The hub attaches the wheel to the axle of the vehicle and is attached by lug nuts.

So, what is the difference between wheels and tires? Wheels include rims and tires together in one assembly. Wheels come in different sizes based on their rim size, which affects how large they are physically as well as how much air pressure or weight they can support.

Are Rims & Wheels the Same Thing?

Rims and wheels are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually two different things. The rim itself is where a tire’s sidewall is mounted. Wheels, on the other hand, refer to the whole assembly and contain both the rim and the tire. For your car to move, it needs three components: an axle, a wheel (or rim), and a tire.

When someone says, “You need new rims” or “I want new wheels,” they’re referring to what most people commonly refer to as “rims” being replaced with a newer, more durable – sometimes more esthetically-pleasing set.

Looking for Rims or Wheels? Visit Xtreme Tire Garage

Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand the difference between rims and wheels. It is important to know how your vehicle’s wheels work, so you don’t make any mistakes when buying them. If you’re looking for a new set of wheels or rims online, then check out our website. You can search for wheels online or contact us to book an appointment and our experienced, friendly team can help you find exactly what you need.


Our Xtreme team will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and assist you with anything you need.