What’s on my car, factory original rims or aftermarket?
Factory wheels are the original equipment manufactured wheels, aka OEM wheels, that were placed on your car when it was first put together. To further clarify, when you buy a new car, the wheels are stock original (assuming the dealership has not changed them out). Most cars nowadays have many rim options for each variation of a model in a given year. Stock wheels are different from aftermarket wheels in that they are produced by the carmaker as an original equipment wheel. Aftermarket wheels are produced by various other companies that either create custom rims or sometimes remakes of original wheels, however these “remakes” are not considered OEM, and are actually what the OEM wheel industry commonly calls “replica” wheels.
StockWheels.com does not deal in custom rims, but we find many customers inquiring about them. Here are some ways you can tell the differences between an original wheel and a custom aftermarket:
Factory original wheels can sometimes be identified by the center cap logo; however, even this can be deceiving as some custom wheel manufacturers place a sticker on the center cap that mimics the factory original center cap.
Another way to tell if a wheel is aftermarket is by looking at the bolt pattern. Many custom wheels were designed with multiple lug holes in order to fit different vehicles.
Aside from the center cap logo and bolt patterns, you can check the back of the wheel for OEM markings. Almost all stock rims will have a manufacturer number or logo that tells the story. If all you can find is a number you can search online to find out, but again, be careful because some factory wheels do not have OEM markings. However, it is almost always true that if your cap has no OEM logo AND there are no factory original equipment stampings or markings on the back of your wheel, that it is not a stock wheel. Some other aftermarket tell-tale stampings are “max-load” and “VIA” as factory original wheels do not have these markings.
Some factory wheels may have been chromed at a certain point, meaning that the original has been altered as the owner may have chromed his or her used rim to change the look. That used wheel is now considered aftermarket because it has an aftermarket finish, even though it is a factory original rim.
StockWheels.com deals with stock original steel and alloy wheels. With our OE rim knowledge, we'll be quite happy to seek out your correct replacement wheel whether it's a second-hand rim or a reconditioned wheel. And if you simply have some questions to ask and are not necessarily in the market to buy, call us! We’re here to help!