While rims will often last the lifetime of the vehicle, you may eventually need new ones.
Whether that’s for practical or aesthetic purposes, buying new rims can be costly. That’s especially true if you’re looking for a performance upgrade, rather than a basic aftermarket rim.
In most cases, the cost of new rims averages $100 per rim. However, you can get rims as low as $50 each and as high as $500 each. If you want basic aftermarket rims, $90-$110 per rim is a reasonable rate. However, that doesn’t include installation, which will normally cost around $25-$50 per wheel, including balancing. So, you can expect a full set of new rims to cost around $500+ on average.
How Much Do New Rims Cost?*
The prices of new rims can vary quite a bit. In most cases, this depends on the type of rim you want, the quality, the condition, and the purpose. For example, aftermarket rims range from budget to performance.
You can also get rims that serve no purpose but aesthetics. This means the cost can vary a great deal depending on what kind of rim you want.
The following table shows price averages for different types of rims:
*These costs are based on standard safety rims. If you want split rims or beadlock rims, which are not always road legal, you’ll have to change the estimate. In addition, these price estimates are based on market rates in October, 2022. You should use it as a base for your own research.
9 New Rims Price Factors
There are a lot of factors that impact the potential cost of your new rims.
The most important ones are the material and brand. However, labor can also be important.
Most “basic” rims are made of steel. Here, steel rims are simple, pressed metal – which offers durability. Most importantly, steel rims are cheap.
Secondhand steel rims can cost as little as $20-$50. New steel rims will normally start at around $50 but average about $100-$150.
Aluminum alloy rims are lighter, better at resisting heat, and therefore better for higher-performance cars. However, they also cost significantly more.
In most cases, you can expect to pay from about $200 for an alloy rim.
Most rims are available with three types of finish.
This includes a clear coat rim, where you get visible metal. You can also get a powder-coat rim, which is heat-resistant paint.
Finally, you can get chrome-plated rims. These are the most expensive.
In most cases, there are few differences in cost between powder-coat and clear-coat rims. However, chrome rims normally cost about twice what a painted rim does.
3. Rim Size
Rims are sold by diameter and width, with differences in offset and center bore. The larger the rim, the more it costs except when you have a specialty or rare rim.
For example, rim diameters are available in 10-24 inches. You can also get rims up to 10 inches wide.
In most cases, larger rims go on trucks and SUVs. This means you’ll almost always pay more to put rims on those vehicles than on something like a 4-door sedan.
Original equipment manufacturer and performance brand rims will always cost more than aftermarket generic rims. Here, an OEM rim will probably start at around $200 and go up to well over $900 for something like Hummer rims.
Here, there are pros and cons to choosing aftermarket rims. For example, it may make your vehicle harder to sell.
In addition, the quality may not be the same. And, you’ll almost always want to have rims changed in pairs to ensure the balancing is the same across each axle.
Rims are manufactured for heat resistance, road resistance, and corrosion resistance. Most standard safety rims are ideal for normal road use. That means driving on streets and going the speed limit. ‘
If you get performance rims, they’re probably designed to withstand more heat and friction. However, they normally cost much more than a standard pressed steel wheel.
6. Replacing Wheels
Replacing wheels will normally involve quite a bit of labor. Here, the mechanic has to press the tire out of the old rim if you’re using that tire, then press it onto the new rim.
Then, you’ll have to actually install the rim by bolting it onto the car.
In most cases, replacing wheels will cost around $25-$50 per wheel including balancing the wheels. That can considerably add to the total cost of the job, as the labor costs may be as much as the rims themselves.
If you don’t want to use your old tires, you’ll probably spend slightly less on the cost of replacing the wheel. However, you’ll have to add the cost of your tires as well.
7. Front-End Alignment
In most cases, if you replace the rims, you’ll have to do a front-end alignment. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you’ll probably spend more.
Here, you should spend between $50 and $200. In most cases, if you get it as part of replacing the wheels, the rate should be closer to $50.
However, rates can vary significantly depending on where you’re at.
Any kind of customization, whether paint, chrome dipping, custom bolts, etc., will considerably add to the cost of your rims.
Professional rim paint jobs can cost $100-$200 per rim or more. Chrome dipping can cost even more.
So, if you do want custom rims, you should expect prices to double or even triple.
New vs. Used Rims: Pros and Cons
At any point where you go to replace the rims on your car, you’ll have the option to buy new or used rims. Here, most people will prefer to buy the new rims. On the other hand, secondhand rims can save you a lot of money.
In fact, if you’re buying standard steel rims secondhand, costs can be as low as $20 per rim before labor.
However, it is important to note that secondhand rims may have issues. For example, if the rim is bent, has hairline cracks, or has been heat-stressed, it may fail very quickly.
Often, you can detect issues by having the wheel balanced and inspected. And, if you buy secondhand rims from a mechanic, they should have a full safety inspection.
However, if you want performance rims, you probably want new rims. Otherwise, secondhand rims can be a great way to save money.
Why Are Car Rims So Expensive?
Car rims can range from relatively cheap to very expensive. Often, these costs depend on the material, brand, and finish.
For example, a rim is a large block of aluminum, magnesium, or steel. Purchasing those materials by the pound is not cheap.
In addition, rims require significant designs to ensure they are structurally fit to withstand the heat and shock from the road.
For performance rims, that engineering can go further as designers attempt to minimize the weight of the rim as much as possible.
Finally, a lot of the cost of rims is about aesthetics. Paint, chrome dips, and even custom bolts can all be extremely expensive.
In some cases, that’s because it’s actually difficult to paint a rim. In others, it’s because the work is a specialty and in low demand.
DIY: Measuring Your Own Car Rims
If you’re looking into replacing the rims on your car, you’ll want to start out by measuring the rims.
Start off by taking the wheel off the car and the tire off of the rim.
Measure the wheel from the inside of the lip on one side to the inside of the lip on the other side. However, your tire should tell you this measurement.
If you check the tire, it should have 7 sets of digits. The 5th is the diameter of the wheel.
It should be a flat number such as “15”, which is the diameter in inches. It may also be on the inside door on the driver’s side.
Measure The Width
Here, you’ll want to measure the rim at the top, from the inside of the lip or ridge to the inside of the lip or ridge on the other side.
Measure The Bolt Offset
Here, you’ll need a different technique based on the bolt pattern.
- 4 bolts: Measure from the center of one bolt hole to the center of the next diagonal bolt hole
- 5 bolts: Measure from the outside of the top lug hole to the center of the opposite lug hole – drawing a straight line.
- 6+ Bolts: Measure from the center of the lug hole to the center of the lug hole opposite it
It’s also important that you check if your manufacturer uses inches or millimeters.
If you’re changing the rims on your car, you can probably expect to pay around $500 for basic rims at a shop. If you want performance or custom rims, that cost can rise to well over $1,000. Here, it’s almost always a good idea to replace your rims at least in pairs to ensure the load and pull on the axle stay balanced.
On the other hand, if you want to buy secondhand rims, you can replace them yourself for as little as $20 per wheel. You’ll still spend a lot of time replacing the rims yourself. And, chances are, you’ll still want to have them balanced and the front-end aligned at a shop.