Are After Market Rims Safe?
Don’t you love those flashy, huge rims that dress up cars today? Dubs, blades, speeds, spinners and twenties are beautiful and add personality that distinguish my car from the next guy who has the same make and model. 1
But those flashy wheels come with a risk. There have been many instances of after-market wheels collapsing or breaking causing serious car crashes. Rims available from suppliers other than your vehicle’s manufacturer are after- market products, products not manufactured specifically for your vehicle. Wheel rims are typically forged or cast aluminum. For high stress applications like automobile wheels, aluminum is blended with other materials for strength. The integrity of the aluminum in wheels depends on the integrity of the manufacturer.
Many of these aftermarket wheels come from overseas where manufacturing standards may not be monitored as carefully as they should be. Overseas manufacturers are often difficult to identify. A wheel failure causing a crash can leave injured victims without recourse against the responsible parties.
New cars leave the showroom with 13″ to 15″ rims and tires specifically designed for that car. Manufacturers determine the specifications for safe performance and handling of vehicles after extensive testing. With after-market wheels, often as large as 20″, the stability and handling of a car can change dramatically.
The computers and electronic systems in all modern cars depend on feedback from the wheels. If larger wheels are added without adjustment to the computer, the system cannot interpret incoming data. Speedometers are thrown off and anti-lock braking can be impaired. Larger wheels can increase wear and tear on steering and suspension components. Since larger wheels are heavier than stock wheels, they slow acceleration, extend stopping distances and impact emergency maneuvering. All of these changes increase the risk of a crash.
If you are considering dressing up your car, don’t do it in the back yard. Go to a reputable tire shop where adjustments and modifications to suspension and braking systems can minimize the risk of adding dubs, blades, speeds, spinners or twenties. 2
If you believe a car crash was caused by a defective product such as an aftermarket wheel, it is critical to preserve the evidence. Don’t hesitate to call Allen Allen Allen & Allen. We have a wealth of experience in product liability cases.
1 – If you are not familiar with these types of rims, see explanations at: http://www.urbandictionary.com.
2 – For more information, see www.insideline.com/features/the-danger-of-dubs.html.