Does My Car Have OEM or Aftermarket Wheels?
Every new car comes with OEM wheels from the factory. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. The car brand chose the wheel manufacturer to produce wheels for the brand and that is an indicator of the quality and durability of the wheels. They are guaranteed to perform and last for the life of the vehicle.
If you are purchasing a new car with aftermarket wheels, the dealership installed them on the car. This will subsequently increase the cost of the vehicle because you will be charged the MSRP plus the price of the wheels. At a dealership, you can ask for cars without aftermarket wheels. If you are buying a car with aftermarket wheels from a private seller, there is a chance the seller installed them. On the other hand, when buying from a private seller, the person may not know if they wheels are OEM or aftermarket. You should be cautious when purchasing vehicles because not all wheels are made the same.
When buying a used car, it is incredibly important to know whether the vehicle has OEM or aftermarket wheels and what condition they are in. When compared to OEMs, aftermarket wheels are generally of less quality and durability. In the long run, this means lower performance and handling. This is due to aftermarket wheels being made cheaply and quickly to reduce production costs and maximize profits. The lower product cost and less safety tests are the reason why aftermarket wheels tends to be cheaper than OEM wheels. There are, however, few high-end and high-quality aftermarket wheels.
Follow the guide below to find out if your car has OEM or aftermarket wheels:
Search for your vehicle online based on the year, make and model. Find pictures of your car online and compare the wheels. If you see pictures of cars with similar wheels like yours, they are most likely OEM. Keep in mind that your vehicle may have been available with a variety of common and rare OEM wheel options; therefore, you may have to do some deeper research.
Take the wheel off the car. Look on the inside of the wheel and search for the serial numbers and other identifying marks. Compare these serial numbers with auto parts stores' databases. If they don't match, they may not be OEM; however, some are specialty wheels so be sure to ask around on online car parts forums or OEM wheel shops.
Things To Consider:
Many high-quality OEM wheels are manufactured in China; therefore, if you see a "Made In China" stamp, do not automatically assume your wheels are low quality. Your wheels being manufactured in China is not an indicator that they are not OEM. Likewise, being an OEM wheel is not an indicator that it was not produced in China.
If you are buying a used car, look at the condition of the wheels. Compare the age of the vehicle to the appearance of the wheels. If you are buying an older car, but the wheels look new, you should ask if and when the wheels were replaced. On the other hand, if the vehicle is a few years old, but the wheels look like they have been to end of the universe and back, you should have the seller explain why the wheels are in that condition.