What is the difference between wheels and rims on an automobile? Did you know that there was a difference between the two? Probably not, since people will often use the two terms interchangeably. But technically, wheels and rims are two different things. Here’s a brief overview of the distinction between the two.
What Are Wheels?
The wheel is the entire metal structure that fits within the circumference of a tire—a wheel is a whole made up of many parts. The wheels are connected to the axle, enabling the wheels to rotate and causing your vehicle to move. Some main parts of the wheel include spokes, the disc, rims, the center cap, and various nuts and bolts that hold it all together. Wheels are available in many different materials, sizes, and finishes, so it’s not hard to find a set that is compatible with almost any vehicle.
What Are Rims?
A rim is a part of the wheel—the outer part that makes up the circumference of the wheel. The main function of the rim is to support the tire and provide a point of connection for the tire and the metal wheel. Rims are essentially the skeleton of the wheel, and they’re what allow you to find a proper fitting for a tire on a wheel. When fitted with a tire that has no innertube, rims are also responsible for keeping the air in the tire and the tire inflated.
To sum it all up succinctly, the difference between wheels and rims is that the wheel is the system of the tire and the whole round, metal structure upon which the tire is placed, while the rim is simply a single, specific part of that whole. While this distinction may not be life changing, and many people will still refer to wheels as rims and vice versa, it’s helpful to know the difference between the two, especially when it comes to cleaning or repairing the wheel and its parts.