Buying Used Wheels

Closely Inspect Used Alloy Wheels

Buying used alloy wheels involves many of the same considerations as purchasing brand-new ones – but there are a few special issues that must absolutely be taken into account.

As with new alloy wheels, potential buyers need to be sure that the desired model is compatible with their vehicle. The width and diameter must correspond with the specifications in the vehicle registration certificate, along with the bolt circle and the number of screws. The wheel rim must additionally have a general operating permit (ABE) from the manufacturer confirming not only that it fits, but also that it is approved for the vehicle with regard to the load capacity, for instance.

The difference between brand-new wheel rims and used alloy wheels is, logically, that used ones have already been on the road for some time. What does this mean for customers? That they should always exercise caution. Customers must be very careful when making a purchase and should closely inspect the wheels on offer for external abnormalities. Indeed, even small defects can already make the wheel rims unusable.

Since wheel rims are lightly damaged through ordinary use, surface scratch marks are normal and harmless up to a certain point. Should you notice deep notches and dents from curb contact, however, then a purchase is not advisable. An exterior that looks too good is also a warning signal, though. If used wheel rims shine as if they are brand-new, this can be an indication that they have been treated to cover up possible defects – particularly since repair kits make it very easy to cover up damage on aluminum wheel rims. The alloy wheel may have irreparable material defects such as hairline cracks that can lead to a rim breaking on the road. In general, wheel rim repairs are legally permitted only within very narrow boundaries and must not affect the load-bearing structure of the wheel under any circumstances.

One thing is for sure: purchasing used alloy wheels is only a great deal if the goods deliver what they promise. Otherwise, the customer has made an expensive bad buy – and brand-new wheel rims would have been the better choice.