A Guide to Buying Specialty Rims and Tires

Camaro MRR 228 Wheels

Unless you like to customize your car and participate in street races on the weekends, you probably haven’t given much thought to your tires. Most cars come with a set of all-season tires that perform reasonably well in a variety of conditions, and most people don’t demand much more of their tires.

Since most people never change out the tires on their car with anything else but good, generalist tires, they don’t know the kind of performance they can get by upgrading to something that is better suited to their specific car, local terrain and driving needs.

When you are shopping for tires in Albany, it is worth talking to the sales rep about the various options and how each will affect not only the performance of your car, but also its overall fuel efficiency and even its aesthetics.

Here’s what you need to know about buying specialty rims and tires:


Every car takes a certain size tire based on the size of the rim and wheel well. However, most vehicles allow you some room to size up, even if you have to buy a new rim to do it. For a truck or SUV, switching to a larger wheel will lift the vehicle higher, giving it more clearance when going over rough terrain. You might want the same benefit for a car if you know you drive through rough conditions, or you just might like the look of a larger wheel on a smaller car.

Besides upsizing, you can also consider plus-sizing. With this practice, you buy a tire that is the same height as the old tire but has a shorter sidewall. Plus-sizing enhances the performance of the tire.

Wider tires also provide more grip for the road, helping to improve traction. However, wider tires can also reduce reaction time. You won’t be able to make any hairpin turns with a wide wheelbase.


Generally speaking, anything that makes a car lighter allows it to perform better. Lighter wheels are no exception. Lighter wheels respond better to the road, allowing you fast reaction times and improved handling. With a lighter wheel, you’ll notice that you can take turns more accurately and you can have greater control over your vehicle even at higher speeds.

Even the weight of the rubber can make a difference to its performance. Lighter, softer rubber grips the road better and provides better traction. A stronger and heavier weight rubber won’t grip the road as well, but it will stand up to higher speeds and make turns quickly.

If you want a weekend fun car that you can drive at top speeds or put through its paces on a track or an obstacle course, you’ll want a wheel that is light weight and stiff. If you want a wheel that will give you the best performance for everyday driving, you’ll want a sturdy tire with a soft rubber that will provide better traction.

Tread Pattern and Depth

A thicker tread with many grooves can improve the performance of your tires. They will cut through snow, sand, gravel, mud and water more easily. However, a thinner tread can improve the tire’s speed.

Besides considering how the tread pattern and depth influence your car’s performance, you may also consider how it contributes to the aesthetic. Some people like the way thick tread and an intricate tread pattern look, especially on a truck or another vehicle designed for off-roading. Meanwhile, those with sports cars may be more interested in tires that have a more streamlined look.

Custom Rims

Rims are not the same as wheels. The wheel is the metal part on which the tire is mounted, but the rim is just the outer edge of the wheel. The rim can be included in the wheel you buy, or it can be a piece that mounts on the edge of the wheel.

Custom rims are designed primarily to enhance the look of your wheels. Instead of the factory produced hub cap with a plain facade, you can choose from a wide variety of finishes and designs. For example, the rims can be made of high-polished chrome for a flashy look that gets attention or a matte aluminum that shifts the focus to the design.

Rims can include various numbers of spokes in different arrangements. You might not think that spokes can make much of a difference to the look of the wheel, but the spacing and design of these spokes can make a big impact.

Some custom rims can include flashy designs and functionality. For example, spinning rims are a popular choice among young car owners. The rims move independently of the wheel, drawing in the eye by creating more motion. Some other rims can include lights, spikes, and other accessories.

Making Your Choice

When buying new wheels, tires or rims, you have to balance your driving needs against your budgetary constraints and your aesthetic choices. For example, you can’t just buy the tires and rims that you think look best on your car. They might hamper your car’s performance or draw unwanted attention to your car. (Shiny rims are a magnet for thieves.)

You should discuss your wheel and tire options with the dealer or sales associate to determine the best choices for your particular vehicle and your personal preferences.

At DePaula Chevrolet, we pride ourselves on offering the largest selection of tires in Albany. We sell everything from winter tires for rugged trucks to high-performance tires for sporty roadsters. Our tires are backed by warranties, so you can be sure that whatever choice you make will be with you for a long time to come.

Thanks to the variety in our selection, you can find the right tires at the right price. You can make replacing your full set of tires fit into your budget, and you can open up more possibilities for the upgrades you’ve been wanting to make to your vehicle.