Picking the right wheels for a car is the key to achieving the perfect look, especially for Lowrider builds. A nice car without the right set of wheels is like wearing an Armani Suit with combat boots on; it just doesn't look right. That being said, picking out the perfect wheel and tire combination can be a nerve racking experience, even for the most keen of builders. Wheels are primarily designed to be functional, however, our culture is one of an aesthetic nature, thus making it hard for us to find a wheel and tire combination that is as nice to look at as it is smooth to ride on. As far as looks go, you can't go wrong by slipping into a set of wire wheels with 5.20s, or plus-size chromes. Riding on polished or colored rims with matching low-profile tires is the definitive fashion statement for our culture, thus a wheel and tire upgrade is usually one of the first aspects tackled on a rebuild.

How do you go about picking the perfect wheels for your ride? Well, the number of wheel and tire choices available these days can be a bit overwhelming. For the past few years, some manufacturers have been trying to "re-invent the wheel," as they have begun to offer wheels with custom paint jobs designed to match your vehicle. Others have designed their wheels with bolt-on cosmetics that completely change the appearance of the rims, without having to swap out the wheel. Thanks to the re-introduction of the Camaro and the Charger, consumers have maximized the widening of the rear end of these vehicles by using bigger rims that show off the deeper wheel lips. These are just a few of the tricks and trends that we have seen for 2010, now let us give you some pointers on shopping for wheels.

The more you know about the wheels you're looking at, the better prepared you'll be when it's time make a purchase. For starters, don't be afraid to ask too many questions. Any reputable shop or online retailer should be able to address any concerns you have about making your purchase. They should easily be able to provide basic information about any size or make of wheel, and they should ask you for your vehicle's year, make and model, to help you find a set of wheels that will fit your ride. Once you give them this information, it will narrow down your wheel options to a more manageable decision.

Tight
Blaque Diamond
Sizes> 20, 22, 24
Finishes> Matte black with machined finish and color match paint to any custom color
Offsets> 15-55
Applications> SUV, Car, luxury car, and sports car
www.blaquediamond.com
866.604.8700

Morpheus
Diablo
Sizes> 22x8.5, 22x9.5, 24x10
Finishes> Chrome with black accents, custom colors available
Applications> Car, truck, and SUV
www.diablousa.com / 626.813.2500

LX704
Lexani
Sizes> 18x8, 20x8.5, 22x9, 24x10, 26x10, 28x10
Finishes> Chrome, bright silver, gunmetal, polished, machined, powdercoat paint, color match paint, liquid carbon finish, liquid wood finish, wheel lip engraving, painted lip, lip accent ring if applicable
Applications> Call for fitments
www.lexani.com

The next aspect you should focus on comes from a purely technical standpoint. Wheels are designed differently for front-wheel-drive (FWD) vehicles than they are for rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicles, so make sure you know which of these design categories your vehicle falls under. Rear-wheel-drive rims tend to have a deep dish or, in technical terms, a zero or negative offset. Front-wheel-drive rims tend to have a very shallow dish or a positive offset, in order to clear the brake calipers and various suspension components. The term "offset" refers to the distance from the center of a wheel to its mounting surface, where it bolts to your vehicle's axle hub. The lower the offset, the closer the mounting surface is to the inner edge of the wheel. The higher the offset, the more space there is inside the wheel, behind the mounting surface. You will also need to know your vehicle's bolt pattern, so you can buy wheels that will bolt right on.

Backspacing is also very important to figuring out if a wheel can fit a certain vehicle. Backspacing is the distance between the innermost edge of a wheel and the mounting surface. Both backspacing and offset affect whether or not the wheel will fit within your vehicle's wheel well. This is very important as you definitely don't want the wheels sticking out past the fender. Backspacing and offset also affect the "bearing load" path. In general, you want your wheels to be as far out to the sides as possible, as long as they aren't rubbing against the wheel wells. This is ideal for equal weight distribution when your suspension compresses, and is especially important for vehicles with hydraulics or air-ride. Placing the wheels out to the sides will give you a wider stance for improved stability and handling. In the case that the new wheels and tires extend beyond the wheel wells, some states mandate the addition of fender flares or fender extensions to cover the tires, while some other states even require the use of mud flaps.

Wheels are available in a variety of finishes, so you should pick something that best reflects your needs. They can be plated, polished, painted, anodized or powdercoated, just remember that some finishes need more maintenance than others. If you like shiny rims, you have a choice between polished and chromed aluminum, or steel wheel finishes with silver or gold plating. Some companies also offer their rims in a variety of colors. These wheels are typically powdercoated or painted, but some colors, including matte black and bronze, are available as an anodized finish. Of all the options, polished bare aluminum wheels require the most maintenance, since they can become oxidized and require re-polishing. That's why many polished aluminum wheels are currently finished with clearcoat paint. As a rule, plated, painted, and powdercoated wheels need only regular washing, with occasional help from a good wheel cleaner to remove built-up brake dust.

Tension 8
Modular Society
Sizes> 19, 20, 22, 24
Finishes> Chrome, bright silver, gunmetal, polished, machined, powdecoat paint, color match paint, liquid carbon finish, liquid wood finish, wheel lip engraving, painted lip, lip accent ring if applicable
Applications> Call for fitments
www.modularsociety.com

94R
Rolling Big Power
Sizes> 17x9, 18x9, 18x10, 20x9, 20x10
Finishes> Chrome with black inserts, black with chrome inserts, machine or black with black inserts
Applications> Truck and SUV fitments only
www.rollingbigpower.com

Blitz
Gianna
Sizes> 18x7.5, 20x8.5, 20x9.5, 22x8.5, 22x9.5, 24x10, 26x10
Finishes> Chrome with black center and custom color accents
Applications> Car, truck, and SUV
www.giannawheels.com
626.813.2500

M101
MKW
Sizes> 16, 17, 18, 20
Finishes> Chrome, gloss black machined
Offsets> Mid to high
Applications> 4-lug, 5-lug
www.mkwalloy.com / 866.MKW.WHEEL

After making your purchase, it's important to read the manufacturer's recommended cleaning instructions. Some of the wheels can react negatively to some of the chemical cleaners that are out in the market, ruining the wheels permanently. Don't ever cut corners by trying to save yourself a buck, as this can end up costing you hundreds in repairs. Always read the cleaner's instructions before spraying them on your wheels. Custom wheels and tires are among some of the most expensive accessories that you will buy for your ride, so take care of them. Be an informed shopper, and don't jump into a set of wheels without doing a little research.

As far as tires are concerned, it's safe to say that it is getting harder and harder to find a good tire for your wire wheel. Most of our favorite tires are disappearing, since most OEM manufacturers are turning their back on the smaller tires, in order to explore the economical benefits of plus-sizes wheels. Most of today's manufacturers are building their cars with stock 15-inch wheels, as these wheels improve the car's handling, thus making the 13 and 14-inch wheel obsolete. If you love your radials the way I love my 5.20's, you should probably stock up on a few sets until the tire industry figures out what they are going to do with for classic cars, or until somebody steps to the plate to fill the genre's void.

We hope that these pointers in our 2010 Tire and Wheel Guide will help you out with your wheel shopping, remember to do your research first! Good luck!

Joker
Hipnotic Wheels
Sizes> 20, 22, 24, 26
Finishes> Chrome, black, and colormatch paint to any custom color. With black, chrome, or custom painted inserts
Offsets> 15-45
Applications> SUV, car, luxury car, and sports car
www.hipnoticwheels.com / 866.604.8700

Euro
Niche
Sizes> 19, 20 staggered
Finishes> Black and machined with clear coat finishes
Applications> European luxury performance and American muscle
www.mhtwheels.com
800.493.7891

HR-4
MRR
Sizes> 19, 20 staggered
Finishes> Black machined face, chrome
Applications> Japanese cars, European cars
www.mrrwheels.com / 800.693.9688

Trooper S819
Status
Sizes> 20x9, 22x9, 24x9
Finishes> Black with machined face
Applications> Trucks and SUVs
www.statuswheels.com / 800.804.7156

GTR
Forgiato
Sizes> 19, 20, 21, 22, 24
Finishes> Chrome, satin silver, carbon fiber finish, logo on lip, pinstripe, powdercoat, carbon fiber finish, gunmetal, plus any combination of colors and finishes you can imagine
Applications> Cars, SUV
www.forgiato.com
818.771.9779

M1
Mamba
Sizes> 17x8, 18x9, 20x9, 20x10, 22x9.5
Finishes> Matte black
Offsets> Low, mid, high
Applications> RWD www.mambawheels.com / 800.735.2822

SV29s
Savini
Sizes> 19, 20, 22, 24
Finishes> Chrome, polished, brushed, carbon fiber, and custom powdercoat finish
Offsets> Custom fitment
Applications> Cars and SUVs
www.saviniforged.com / 866.779.4646

Maverick 234/235
Ultra
Sizes> 16, 17, 18, 20
Finishes> Black with machined clear coat or chrome
Offsets> RWD - 12mm through +30mm
www.ultrawheel.com
714.449.7120

Flamboyant 732
Greed
Sizes> 22, 24, 26
Finishes> Chrome
Offsets> Low
Applications> RWD
www.greedwheels.com
800.735.2822

Maia
Zoe
Sizes> 20x8.5 20x10 22x8.5 22x9.5
Finishes> Chrome with black inserts or chrome inserts, custom colors available
www.zoewheels.com

VTH
Vellano
Sizes> 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26
Finishes> Custom - made to order
Offsets> Custom - made to order
Applications> Custom - made to order
www.vellanowheels.com / 909.923.6861

901
Onyx
Sizes> 20, 22
Finishes> Chrome, silver, black, diamond cut, and custom colors
Offsets> Custom offset builit to vehicle specification
Applications> Passenger car, SUVs, crossover, truck
www.onyxwheel.com
CA: 909.595.1341, NY: 718.739.7507

VM1
Von Max
Sizes> 16, 17, 18
Finishes> Chrome
Offsets> High
Applications> FWD
www.vonmaxwheels.com / 800.735.2822

R10
Rennen
Sizes> 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Finishes> All custom finsishes and colors
Offsets> Custom offset built to vehicle specification
Applications> All application
www.rennenauto.com / CA: 909.444.7974 NY: 718.978.6722

Gallo
Donz
Sizes> 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30
Finishes> All custom finishes and colors
Offsets> Custom offsets built to vehicle specifications
Applications> All applications
www.donzwheelsz.com
CA: 909.444.7974, NY: 718.978.6722

R951
Ruff Racing
Sizes> 17x7.5 2-inch front lip, 17x7.5 3-inch rear lip, 18x8 2-inch front lip, 18x8 3-inch rear lip
Finishes> Chrome, black with red pin stripes, black with machined pin stripes
Applications> Cars
www.statuswheels.com / 800.804.7156

White/Gold 20
Vogue tyre
Sizes> 20
Applications> Passenger cars
www.voguetyre.com






ContiSportContact(tm) Vmax
Continental Tire
Sizes> 19
Special Uses> Ultra-high performance road tire for ultra-high speed sports cars including Porsche and Ferrari.
www.conti-online.com / 800.847.3349






Coker Classic 760
Coker Tires
Sizes> 14, 15
Applications> Passenger cars
www.cokertires.com

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