What is the Difference Between Wheel and Rim?

Difference between Wheel and Rim

Do you have confusion on the difference between wheel and rim? Don’t shy away if the answer is YES. You are not alone.

Rim is one of all the components or parts a wheel is constituted of. And we all know a wheel is a component of a car or any vehicle that enables it to move or roll.

Rim is one of the most crucial parts of a wheel that attaches the tire with the center of the wheel or disc. Actually, people take the center of the wheel for the rim in confusion. This is not the case either.

Let’s break down a wheel and define all its parts separately for your better and clear understanding.

What are the parts of a wheel on a car?

We can rather define the wheel of a car to be a combined mechanism to move it or shift it by rolling back, forward and side. What are the different parts that put this mechanism into action or make a vehicle mobile? They include:

Tire: Tire is the circular rubber body placed on the rim of the wheel. It sits stuck to a raised edge around it (called rim). The tire remains inflated to move and roll the car. Read More Regarding Tire Care Tips

Spokes: Spokes are the structures or patterned part of the wheel that connects the plate/disc to the rim. In earlier days, it was used to be of wood or wire but now wheel discs do for the spokes.

Rim: Rim is circular and raised metal edge that keeps the tire tight enough not to get loose or go off at air-filling or pumping. Learn More About Best spray paint for rims

 Center of the wheel: Center of the wheel is the metal body of the wheel that has a permanent or detachable rim at its perimeter. Through this, the wheel is attached to the hub of the car.

What are Rim and its function?

As it is already made clear that rim is the raised metal part on the perimeter of the wheel disc. This is the most important part of the wheeling mechanism because it keeps the tire stuck to the metal center of the car wheel and thus to the car body. 

An inflated tire is what makes any vehicle move but without the rim, an inflated tire will no way remain stuck to the wheel body.  When a tire punctures or goes flat, a car doesn’t halt instantly. It runs for a short while on the rim.

Therefore, a rim is a very important part of the wheel mechanism. It may come permanently connected with the wheel disc or detachable. It depends on the manufacturer. 

What is the car Wheel Disc?

The wheel disc is another crucial part of the overall wheel. The axle hub of the car enters through the wheel disc and thus it plays a vital role to connect the wheel with the car body and get the tire trapped with the rim.

When the car emerged in the beginning, car wheels came manufactured with wood or wire spokes. Instead of modern lug nuts, hubs got linked by wires with the rim then.

But sophistication takes place in the automobile industry and disc plate is one that has replaced wood or wire spokes. Now a day, wheel disc comes manufactured with the superior quality cast iron or forged alloy.

They add to the look and durability of the wheel.

Difference between Wheel and Rim YouTube Video:


Question: Can you have a car without rims?

Ans: YES, you can have a car without rims but to leave parked, unused, and immobile. Jokes apart, you are already aware of the functionality and importance of a car rim. Therefore, I need not more briefing to convince you that it is meaningless to have a car without a rim.

Rather you should be very choosy when selecting car rims. Car rims not only hold the tire stuck but bears with the pressure and tension of the load inside the car and the pace the wheels are moving at.

It is, all the same, to have a wrong rim and having no rim at all. A wrong rim choice may cause you the inconvenience of a sudden halt on the go or severe danger is not rare at all in that case. Therefore, select the right car rim that serves your purpose right – racing, heavy load, or casual commuting.

Question: Can you drive with a broken rim?

Ans: The rim is the juncture to place your tire in and it determines the shape of the tire and pace of the wheel. So with your wheel rim broken, you should not and cannot move on your car.

But if it breaks on the move, it may warrant unpredictable consequences. So read the symptoms when a rim breakage is impending.

Question: If you have a bent or cracked rim, what will happen?

Ans: You may feel tilted towards the side of the car having a rim crack or bend.

You will experience a thumping sound and your steering will vibrate.

In either case, you should consult a mechanic so soon as possible. Until you act immediately, it will cost you dearly as a bent or cracked rim is the signal that your rim can break any time soon.

Question: How much does it cost to replace a rim?

Ans: Replacement or installing a new rim in your car wheel is a costly affair. Therefore, you should know whether your rim has reached the beyond-repairing-stage or still fixing can save you money? If it has scratched, bent, or gouged, you can obviously fix those at a lesser cost.

But if your steel or alloy rims cracks, you have to replace it with a new one as repairing will be a waste of money and can invite serious consequence.

And replacement cost varies depending on the type of rims you use. Bringing any and every rim type in consideration, a replacement will cost you $500 upwards and $200 at least.


I think by now the confusion between a wheel and rim is well over by all the clarifications given on the difference between wheel and rim. It feels so interesting while coming out clear that the wheel is the combined mechanism or complex body formed by – disc plate, rim, spokes, and tire.

On the other hand, the rim is the place or space where the tire keeps stuck, This lifted part bordering the circular metal body of the wheel is crucial to keep tire working while inflated.

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