When it comes to buying wheels, you need to start with a couple of questions. Are looks super important to you or are you looking for the smoothest ride? Are you adverse to high prices? Hoping to swap out your busted up old wheels with an identical set? The answer to these questions will help you answer the biggest one: OEM or aftermarket?
What’s the difference? OEM wheels are made by the original equipment manufacturer are exact replicas of the wheels that came with your car. They’re often manufactured to fit one specific model and are difficult to retrofit for other vehicles. Any wheel that is not a replica of the original or manufactured by an independent supplier is referred to as aftermarket.
What’s right for you depends on what you’re looking to get out of your wheels. While plenty of big-name car sites sit firmly in the OEM camp, we’re here to do a little myth-busting. Below are how OEM and aftermarket wheels compare across five different categories.
Vehicle Ride: Aftermarket VS OEM Tires
Even a small difference in bearing alignment or wheel size can negatively impact your ride quality. This is doubly true when you opt for a larger wheel than your car was designed for. While it makes for a cooler silhouette, high riders often have thinner tires that are easier to crack. Since they’re tailor-made to fit your vehicle, OEM or OEM replica wheels typically provide a better ride than aftermarket ones. Since they slip over existing parts, they’re easier to install too.
While OEM wheels take this category home in most instances, custom car professionals can minimize the drawbacks and keep you riding high AND smooth.
Winner: OEM Wheels
Is It Easier to Find a Matching Set for OEM or Aftermarket Wheels?
If you bent one of your wheels, how hard would it be to find a perfect match? The answer to that question often depends on whether you bought aftermarket or OEM tires.
To keep up demand for the new and exciting, aftermarket manufacturers are constantly refreshing their catalog. While having a ton of options is great, this often leads to parts being discontinued before their time. This often means you have to start over with a brand-new set of wheels. Because they have fewer SKUs to manage, OEMs tend to keep old wheels in stock long after a particular model of the car rolls off the production line. This makes replacing an OEM wheel a much easier affair.
But, rest assured, if you want us to find a certain tire and wheelset, our car experts will comb the web to find you the aftermarket wheel you’re looking for.
Do Aftermarket or OEM Wheels Give You More Bang For Your Buck?
In most cases, aftermarket wheels are cheaper than OEM ones. Their versatility allows them to be sold to a larger number of consumers at lower prices. Unless you’re willing to spend big, however, this lower price comes at a cost: Aftermarket wheels are typically made with cheaper materials. This results in a wheel that looks nice but is structurally inferior. This lack of quality is particularly apparent in areas with heavy snow and precipitation.
If you’re willing to cough up the dough, however, you can find aftermarket wheels that put OEM ones to shame. These premium wheels are often made from stronger alloys and offer improved traction and durability. So, while you might have to worry about low-quality aftermarket wheels in the bargain bin, true custom car lovers know that aftermarket isn’t always inferior.
How the Two Compare on Safety
Auto companies design wheels based on vehicle-specific factors like how the car handles and how heavy it is. Lowe-tier aftermarket manufacturers, meanwhile, are fixated on looks instead of durability, safety, or performance. The fact that these third-party wheels are often made in countries where oversight is lax only exacerbates the problem. The poor fit of many of these tires leads to premature suspension wear and, in some cases, major safety hazards.
OEM wheels, on the other hand, are subject to regular inspections by both regulatory agencies and auto companies. This—coupled with their careful tailoring—gives them the edge when it comes to safety. While OEM wheels are preferable to cheap aftermarket ones, they’re sometimes outclassed by premium aftermarket products.
If safety is your main concern, give us a call for expert product recommendations.
If You’re Looking for Choice With Your Wheels, There’s an Obvious Winner
When you drove your car off the lot, you probably had one or two wheel packages to choose from. These were designed to both fit the car well and meet the specs laid out by the manufacturer. But these default options are rarely attractive and are often duller than white bread. If you opt for OEM or OEM replica parts, you’ll end up with more boring choices. Aftermarket wheel manufacturers, meanwhile, offer an almost limitless array of options. Want something in a glossy black finish? Maybe a low-riding wheel in an electric blue? Looking for something with rivets? Then aftermarket is your only choice.
OEM Wheel or Aftermarket Wheel Replacement? We Choose Option C.
If you’re comparing OEM wheels to low-quality replicas from overseas, we suggest you go with the former. Your car will not only drive better but also be safer and last longer. The premium you’ll pay for OEM parts is offset by the benefits you receive. But the A or B dichotomy doesn’t acknowledge the richness of the aftermarket tire industry. There’s a third option.
At Endless Kustoms, we don’t stock or supply subpar parts. Every aftermarket wheel we sell—which come from premium suppliers–will be more than equal to the humdrum tires the dealership stuck you with. They’ll also be installed the right way and balanced to ensure a Cloud Nine ride without sacrificing safety or security. That’s why we go with Option C—the sickest, best performing aftermarket wheels.
To learn more about the custom car services we provide, browse the rest of our website.