Jeeps are American icons. From service in the Second World War on all fronts to gradually reinventing their vehicles for passenger use to manufacturing some of the first proto-SUVs, Jeeps have a very rich history that can be rivalled by only a handful of other marque brands.
Jeep Wheels, whether the factory-fitted OEMs to the aftermarket beauties, are also highly regarded across the world. In many countries, Jeep rims are often synonymous with SUV rims even though there are several differences.
Jeep has moved ahead with the times and have used its top-notch R&D and design facilities to launch a series of enormously successful off-road-capable vehicles. The Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Meridien, Compass, and the Avenger are currently the models Jeep offers not only in the United States but worldwide.
Each of these models falls in a separate category. Therefore, you will definitely need to be on the lookout when purchasing a set of all-new Jeep Wheels.
These 5 pointers below should be of some help.
How to buy Jeep Wheels like a professional!
We are sticking with aftermarket rims for now.
- Material matters: The overwhelming majority of all custom rims available here are made using aluminum alloys. The industry standard (that applies to all branded and top-notch models) is the 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. Some elite brands also use A356 alloys.
Traditionally, Jeeps used steel rims. It remained the material of choice when the ‘Jeep’ brand was bought by Chrysler in 1987. During Chrysler’s ownership, things took a turn when it was decided that Jeeps would focus on sportier models.
Starting from the early 1990s, aluminum Jeep Wheels became the rage as they were lightweight and yet surprisingly durable. Steel took a quiet backseat since steel rims did not return high mileages as fuel got costlier.
It is your choice ultimately; both types of rims have proven their value. But a stainless-steel rim set does add that extra bit of sparkle!
- Get the rim size right: Rim sizes matter more than many of us would believe. Since most Jeeps are designed to be pretty tall and with superior ground clearance, opting for bigger wheels is a no-brainer. But it’s not that cut and dried; the rim diameter also depends on the tires you are using.
For example, a Jeep Grand Cherokee usually works best with tires that range between 225/65R17 and 245/50R19 depending on the specific trim or variant. The tire code denotes the ideal rim diameter; ‘R.’ Thus, the 2 examples we have here refers to rims with diameters of 17 and 19 inches.
While you can select from bigger models available in the aftermarket, experts recommend that you give them a miss. Matching the rim & tire sizes provides superior control over the vehicle – both on city roads and asphalt. Braking will be a lot surer and the TPMS will work better too.
- Offsets and bolt patterns: This are slightly more technical but worth noting. Bolt patterns of a Grand Cherokee, for example, are either 5×5 or 5×4.5. These values will be different for the Meridien or the Wrangler.
What do these numbers mean? Well, as you have seen countless times, all rims have bolts at the center. They look like mini holes essentially. Bolts are inserted to affix the rim with the hub; that’s ‘mounting.’ If it goes wrong, there are very real chances that the rim might come off the vehicle – stranding you or even causing accidents and fatalities.
What a 5×5 pattern means is that the rim has 5 lugs and each one is 5 inches apart. For your safety, please mount the rims and tires at established and experienced retail outlets only.
When Jeep Wheels enter the fray, you might want to visit AudioCity USA. It’s a 34-year-old retailer in Santa Fe Springs, CA, stocks an unparalleled collection of everything you require for your vehicle, and offers free mounting. We often visit them for quality advice.
But it would be a seriously good idea if you visited a retailer closer home to you and whose services you trust.
Offsets are to be considered only when you replace the suspension kit and ‘lift’ the Jeep. The primary goal is to outfit it for hours of off-roading without a hitch. Ask the experts at your chosen facility for more details.
- Beadlock requirement: Nowadays, beadlock off-road rims are churned out by most major brands. These rims give you an edge while off-roading; even if the air pressure drops significantly, a beadlock wheel will still be able to provide you with the same amounts of control, navigability, and comfort.
Whether you need these rims or not is up to you. If you are really, and we mean really, fond of conquering the most hostile terrain you can find, you require off-road rims. And it’s always preferable purchasing beadlock rims.
Note that you should give Jeep Wheels with simulated beadlock a pass.
- Brands matter: Ditch all unbranded and untested rims even though they are a lot cheaper. Get yourself a set of high-performance branded rims only for your Grand Cherokee or Wrangler or the Compass.
As of January 2023, the 3 aftermarket rims that are regarded the best choices for all Jeep models are:
- Asanti Black Label Series
- Vision 141 Legend 5 (Machined)
- American Racing Torq Thrust II
You can select any of these models; do get the right size while at it!
Always procure your Jeep Wheels from authorized retailers only. The market is flooded with fakes!
Also, look for structural and design warranties before you place your order.