Working in the OEM wheel industry makes us the go-to source for wheel information from our friends and family outside of work. It's not uncommon for any one of our employees to be approached by a friend or family member at a party or other social gathering and asked a…
Difference Between New, Reconditioned Wheels and Used OEM Rims
The sheer number of rims out there can make things confusing for someone purchasing one for the first time. The search isn’t as simple as finding a model that’s right for your car; you may also be presented with the choice between a new, reconditioned, and used rim. It’s possible to save a good deal of money through buying a reconditioned or used rim, sure, but it’s also natural to be suspicious of a product that offers like-new performance at a lower price. In this post, we’ll go over the main differences between new, reconditioned, and used OEM rims. We’ll discuss why reconditioned wheels and used rims are safe for your vehicle despite their lower prices and what to look for when purchasing any model that’s not brand new.
What Does OEM Stand for?
First, a quick reminder of what’s meant by OEM. OEM stands for Original Equipment manufacturer, and in automotive terms, that’s simply a designation for the companies that produced the parts your car was originally made up of. When you buy an OEM part, you’re buying one that’s identical to the part you’re replacing. An aftermarket part, on the other hand, is an effort from an entirely different company on reproducing the original capabilities of that part. This is of particular importance when discussing rims, as there are countless aftermarket models out there of wildly varying cost and quality. Check out our article for more on the difference between OEM and aftermarket rims. Also, you may be confused as to whether there’s a difference between a “wheel” and a “rim.” Both terms are often used interchangeably to refer to the entire wheel apparatus. Please visit this post if you have any questions on the distinction between them.
New OEM Wheels
A new rim is just what it sounds like; a part that has never been mounted to a vehicle. Even if a rim was only mounted to a showroom model and never driven on, it still can no longer be classified as a new part. An attractive option if you’re looking for a pristine rim, yes, but one that may not be available to you depending on your vehicle. If you’re driving an older car or an uncommon model, it’s entirely possible that new parts for it are no longer being produced or are otherwise unavailable in your area. That can lead to you having to deal with resellers who are all too aware of the value of rare parts and won’t hesitate to charge exorbitant amounts for them. Even if a new model of the rim you need is easily available, its cost may still be more than what you can afford. The part will be perfect, yes, but does it offer a superior performance to justify that superior price?
OEM Refurbished Wheels
Refurbished rims are those that have undergone minimal damage and then been reconditioned as closely as possible to factory-new condition. You may, understandably, be nervous at the idea of putting a damaged rim on your vehicle. Automakers and body shop owners alike are known to rail against the supposed dangers of driving on reconditioned rims, though it’s important to keep in mind that their concern is at least partly based in their desire to sell you a new – and much more expensive – part. Still, that’s not to say that there aren’t disreputable reconditioners out there; that’s why it’s important to shop with a retailer who makes 100% sure that all the refurbished rims they sell have been restored to virtually new condition. When you buy refurbished rims through Blackburn’s, you’re buying a quality part whose cost could be less than half of that of a new one.
Used OEM Rims
First, it’s important to take note of the two conditions of used wheels commonly sold; Grade A and Grade B. For more information, check out What is an “A” Condition used OEM Wheel and What is a “B” Condition used OEM Wheel. Grade A rims possess one or two cosmetic blemishes whereas a Grade B rim possesses three to five. Any flaws these rims may have are only of a cosmetic nature; Blackburn’s does not sell any rims, used or otherwise, with defects that may lessen their performance or reliability. We thoroughly test every used rim we buy and sell in order to make sure that it meets or exceeds the specifications for it as set down by the original manufacturer of the part. What the decision comes down to in this area is whether aesthetics are a concern for your vehicle. If they are, you may be better served looking for a new part or one that has been refurbished to appear new. If not, you can save a great deal of money by going with a rim that has a few superficial flaws but performs nearly or just as well as its new counterpart.
Blackburn’s is proud to buy and sell OEM rims in new, refurbished, and used condition. If you have any more questions about the distinction between the conditions – or if you’d like to know anything else about Blackburn’s including our wheel buying programs, please contact us today.