Aftermarket steel rims safe?

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Apr 13, 2013
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The alloy wheels on my Accord look terrible due to peeling clear coat and curbrash. Replacement alloys on eBay are pretty expensive, and I won't know if used ones from a salvage yard are bent until the shop actually throws them on the balancer. I'm thinking about just getting steel rims with hubcaps. They're significantly cheaper and will achieve my goal of making the car look more presentable. eBay has new aftermarket steelies in the spec'd measurements and lug pattern. The seller says the rims have passed DOT testing. Are there any hidden dangers when buying aftermarket steelies?
 

Nick1994

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Off topic, have you thought about Plastidip? Black or silver might look good, nothing to lose to try it, I did it on a VW I had and it turned out good.
 
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Originally Posted by mclasser
I won't know if used ones from a salvage yard are bent until the shop actually throws them on the balancer.
Opposed to throwing them on a balancer without "actually" doing it? Stop using the word actually where it has no purpose. yes I'm an arse but bear with me, I'm helpful too ! wink Most wheels are not bent. You save enough going to a junkyard to get them that if one is bent, you can just get another one - this is not a rare vehicle with hard to find rims, or you can negotiate a money back or trade if any are bent. However, how much did you plan to spend for a 17 year old vehicle with 211K miles? At that point most people would be looking to keep it running/reliable as cheaply as possible, not buying new rims and the mounting/balancing too, unless it was time to buy new tires but you didn't mention that at all. As far as the seller claiming they passed DOT testing, you should be more specific about the EXACT text the seller stated because no, the DOT almost certainly did not test those rims. That's almost ludicrous for a seller to state, as if the DOT gets rims sent to them and tests them (lol, no they don't). So you have a questionably dishonest seller, so yes there are dangers whether they are good or bad quality and you can't really determine this only from a seller's false statement about DOT testing. Instead you should look at the reputation of the manufacturer. If you cannot determine the manufacturer and it looks like there is no accountability of they fail and cause an accident, then I would look elsewhere. I don't know your situation with needing use of the vehicle nor if you're getting new tires, but you can recondition old rims. Paint remover, then brush or sand or polish and clearcoat or wax, and sand out the curb rash a bit... it doesn't need to be perfect, it's not like you're transforming a 17 year old vehicle into something that looks 2019.
 
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The damage you have is cosmetic. You money would be mor well spent looking on youtube on how to fix rashed up alloys. You dont need to make them perfect. About $30 in tools from harborfreight (angle grinder with wire brush) and some wheel paint and you can make those old wheels look much better.
 
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Originally Posted by Dave9
…….. As far as the seller claiming they passed DOT testing, you should be more specific about the EXACT text the seller stated because no, the DOT almost certainly did not test those rims. That's almost ludicrous for a seller to state, as if the DOT gets rims sent to them and tests them (lol, no they don't). …….
Allow me to take this a step further and say there are no US government required tests on wheels. So if someone put the DOT symbol on the wheels, it's meaningless. But allow me to say that if I were in the sellers shoes, I would have said the same thing, regardless of the quality of the wheels. So it isn't exactly dishonest, but it isn't all that reassuring either.
 
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Yeah not a bad idea to try and fix em up a bit if ur willing to do the work. Otherwise just buy a set of steelies from a local business? Walmart? Is the ebay price really that good? Id trust aftermarket steelies. I hate the look of hubcaps though. I run steelies year around now..now that one of my aftermarket rims got destroyed beyond repair.
 
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Check with a local tire shop that does repairs. they may have a set of used rims. That shop will have inspected the rims before selling.
 

mclasser

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I forgot to add this to the OP, but I was told some time back that I have a bent rim (or two). They never showed me which ones and it was never mentioned again during future balance & rotations, so I didn't care to look into it. I got new tires put on in Jan by another shop and they didn't say anything either. I've had an intermittent vibration at highway speeds for years but it's faint enough that I just chalk it up to the car being old, having a tired suspension, etc. A local salvage yard has many Accords on the lot, so I may drop by one weekend and see what's up. They list used rims for $30, so like you guys said, it's worth it to roll the dice on whether some will be bent or not.
 
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Depends what size the wheels are, scrapyards can't give 16" and below away. Small wheels are so worthless, I saw a set of 15" OZ in EUC for like $115 last time I was at the yard, and the yard itself sucked. Alloys have scrap value so they are a little more, but I think my local yard was selling steelies for $25 a piece 2 years ago before they closed the upic yard. I got 4 rusty steelies with mint snow tires on them for like $140, Toyo Garit KX.
 
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Originally Posted by Dave9
Originally Posted by mclasser
I won't know if used ones from a salvage yard are bent until the shop actually throws them on the balancer.
Opposed to throwing them on a balancer without "actually" doing it? Stop using the word actually where it has no purpose. yes I'm an arse but bear with me, I'm helpful too ! wink Most wheels are not bent. You save enough going to a junkyard to get them that if one is bent, you can just get another one - this is not a rare vehicle with hard to find rims, or you can negotiate a money back or trade if any are bent. However, how much did you plan to spend for a 17 year old vehicle with 211K miles? At that point most people would be looking to keep it running/reliable as cheaply as possible, not buying new rims and the mounting/balancing too, unless it was time to buy new tires but you didn't mention that at all. As far as the seller claiming they passed DOT testing, you should be more specific about the EXACT text the seller stated because no, the DOT almost certainly did not test those rims. That's almost ludicrous for a seller to state, as if the DOT gets rims sent to them and tests them (lol, no they don't). So you have a questionably dishonest seller, so yes there are dangers whether they are good or bad quality and you can't really determine this only from a seller's false statement about DOT testing. Instead you should look at the reputation of the manufacturer. If you cannot determine the manufacturer and it looks like there is no accountability of they fail and cause an accident, then I would look elsewhere. I don't know your situation with needing use of the vehicle nor if you're getting new tires, but you can recondition old rims. Paint remover, then brush or sand or polish and clearcoat or wax, and sand out the curb rash a bit... it doesn't need to be perfect, it's not like you're transforming a 17 year old vehicle into something that looks 2019.
Actually, they are called wheels not rims.. just so you can add that to your bitog spelling/grammar police list. Back on topic.. depending on how long you are keeping the car.. sanding them down and spray painting might look pretty good. you can get some plastic and tape it off.. dont even need to dismount the tires.
 
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I got 4 steel rims for a Saturn from a salvage yard in the winter. Snow on ground. I needed to use 4 separate jacks to pull the rims with tires mounted. This yard removed the tires from rims for free. Rims were $5.99 each and looked bad. Bent on edges, etc. They balanced great and did not leak. Ran them for years. They looked fine once I put on a nice set of hubcaps.
 
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Im using steelie wheels on my work truck. Got from discount tire. Many Jeep/truck guys using steel wheels. Cheap but its heavier.
 
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My 2006 Sentra has about 195K miles on it. I run it with no hubcaps. Who cares about an old car. I would rather spent the hubcap money on synthetic oil to keep the beast running. This doesn't answer your question,but it's food for thought.
 
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Do you need new tires yet? If you do, you can get a tire and wheel package from Tire Rack. They do offer steelies at a good enough price, and they mount and balance the wheel/tire package at no extra charge. In fact, they even give you road force balancing in the package. If your tires are still good, you can simply wait until it's time for new tires. That said, aftermarket steelies should be safe since steel wheels are easier to bang back into shape than aluminum.
 
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Originally Posted by Wolf359
Also did you try Craigslist? Sometimes people dump a set on there.
That was my thought. Hit them with some paint if need be. But if you get OEM then no worries about fit.
 
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Originally Posted by supton
Originally Posted by Wolf359
Also did you try Craigslist? Sometimes people dump a set on there.
That was my thought. Hit them with some paint if need be. But if you get OEM then no worries about fit.
Or get them from the junkyard. Those would be easy to inspect, they usually offer a 30 day warranty anyway so one doesn't hold air, bring it right back. The problem with eBay and all those other companies is that shipping for a rim is expensive, whatever you pay for a set of 4, probably close to $100 of that is going to be for shipping. That's why it's cheaper locally.
 
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YES aftermarket steel wheels are safe. Figure all trailer wheels are steel and made in China, by the millions and you never see them fail.
 
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