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Rims, Wheels, and Hubcaps

What's the Difference between Rims and Wheels?

"Rims" is a term that is used more colloquially to refer to what your vehicle has its tires on. However, rims are actually just one part of a wheel. Wheels are made up of many different parts including the rim, hub, and spokes. The rim is simply the part the tire is seated on, the circular area that is connected to the hub by the wheel spokes.

Of course, these are just semantics, and everyone knows what you are referring to whether you call them rims or wheels.

What is a Hubcap? What is a Wheel Cover?

A hubcap is a cap that is clipped or hammered onto the centre of the wheel in order to cover the lugnuts. While a wheel cover is secured to the wheel similarly, it covers the entire wheel and includes imitation spokes to give off the appearance that it is a wheel.

What should you do if your wheel, rim, or hubcap is damaged?

If you damage a hubcap, replacements can be difficult to find and expensive, especially if you are looking for the original manufacturer's version. This is an option, but in some cases we recommend opting for replacement aftermarket wheels.

Aftermarket wheels can improve your performance and fuel economy while also looking good. In addition, putting on aftermarket wheels will likely increase the resale value of your car when you feel it is time to upgrade.

Wheel Size Guide

When looking for a set of wheels for your vehicle, you want to take into account a lot of factors like style and finishes, but the most important factor to take into account is choosing a safe fitment

The main dimensions associated with a wheel are the diameter, width, bolt pattern, and offset

16x7 4-100 40S

For example, we will use a 16x7 4-100 40S to explain what these numbers mean

Wheel Diameter

16x7 4-100 40S

In this example, the wheel diameter would be 16 inches. The wheel diameter is measured along the face of the wheel from bead seat to bead seat. Only wheels and tires of the same diameter can be safely mounted together. The correct diameter wheel for your tire is outlined on the tire sizing.

P215/65R15 89H

In this example tire sizing, the 15 represents the diameter of the compatible wheel in inches!

Wheel Width

16x7 4-100 40S

In this example, the wheel width would be 7 inches. The wheel width is measured along the barrel (or sidewall) of the wheel from bead seat to bead seat. Different wheel widths either enlarge or shrink your tire's contact patch which can change how your vehicle handles.

Wheel Bolt Pattern

16x7 4-100 40S

In this example, the "4" represents the number of lug holes in the wheel. The second number, "100", indicates the distance in millimetres between one lug hole to another. A wheel's bolt pattern must match the vehicle that it is mounted on, otherwise, there will be ride issues and the possibility of the wheel remaining safely on the vehicle is reduced.

Wheel Offset

16x7 4-100 40 S

The "40" represents the wheel offset which is the distance in millimetres from the mounting surface of the wheel and the wheel's centreline. The offset determines where the tire and wheel assembly sit in relation to the suspension and the vehicle fenders.

How to Clean your Wheels

Cleaning your wheels regularly can prevent corrosion and brake dust build up which can stain or damage your wheels. So, it is important to clean your wheels to make sure they are properly maintained.

Note: Don't wash your wheels after a long drive as driving heats the wheels which can make cleaning risky as drastic changes to the wheel's temperature can ruin the finish.

  1. Get a wash bucket and a cleaning agent : Wheels can be safely cleaned with a mild detergent or cleaner designed for automotive use. We recommend that you don't use chemical wheel cleaners as these can have corrosive chemicals that might remove a wheel's clear-coat finish.
  2. Apply the cleaning solution to the wheel : Let it sit for a few moments to break down the dirt and brake dust on the wheel.
  3. Gently scrub the wheel : Scrub with a damp soft brush, sponge, or soft cloth to make sure you are not damaging the wheel finish.
  4. Rinse the wheel.
  5. Dry the wheel with a terry or microfiber cloth : After drying, you may want to wax the wheel for added shine and protection. These can come in many forms, but, generally, the wax comes as a spray or cream that would be applied gently with a towel or foam pad. You should wax the wheel about 3-4 times a year if you live in a harsh climate as this will lengthen the wheel's lifespan.
  6. Done! You have done yourself a great service as your wheel will last longer and look better!

Types of Wheel Finishes


The finish is airbrushed onto the wheel, meaning that it comes it can come in a variety of colour options.


  • Variety of Options : Available in a variety of colour options, and the finishes can be satin, flat, matte, or gloss finishes
  • Ease of Care : Wheels can be refinished if damaged, and it only requires soap and water to clean.


  • Lack of Lustre : Does not have the same lustre as polished or chrome finishes.
  • Possible Irregularities : Variations in spray equipment can cause irregularities in the colour and finish

Powder Coating

This finish has a powder-coat that is electro-statically held to the grounded parts of the wheel.


  • Durable : Powder-coated wheels are very resistant to chemicals, chipping, scratching, and fading. Also, since no holes develop in the finish, powder-coated wheels are very corrosion resistant which makes them great for exposure to the elements.
  • Eco-friendly : The finishing process uses fewer volatile compounds than painted wheels, making them much more environmentally friendly.


  • Thick Finish : It is very difficult to get a thin layer with powder coating, so the finish is often thicker.
  • Colour Application : There can be issues with the hue you receive once the rims come out of the oven. Although the baking process usually achieves consistent results, there is a chance that the hue will come out slightly different.


A polish-finished wheel is colour buffed using a polishing rouge and is buffed to a mirror-like shine.


  • Can be Repaired : These wheels can be repaired if they are bent or scraped.
  • Mirror-like Shine : These wheels have a mirror-like shine and do not have the bluish tint that chrome finished wheels tend to have.


  • Dull over Time : The wheel will become dull over time, and it has to be polished to bring back the mirror-like shine. Waxing a polish-finished wheel will prolong this required maintenance.
  • Easy to Scratch : Polished wheels are prone to being scratched and extra care must be taken while washing the wheel so as to not damage the finish.


Chrome wheels are finished by adding layers of copper, nickel, and chrome to the wheel.


  • Reflective Shine : Extremely reflective finish, making them very desirable luxury wheels
  • Resilient : Chrome wheels are very resistant to dings and scratches
  • Ease of Care : These wheels can be washed and polished without fear of scratching and simply washing with soap and water will makes these wheels look as if they were new.


  • Cannot be Easily Repaired : Although resistant to scratches, if the wheels are scratched, it cannot be spot repaired like a polished wheel. The only way to repair it will be to strip and re-chrome it.
  • Salt Corrosion : A heavy salted environment can lead to corrosion of the finish. Waxing is a good preventative measure for this.