Wondering if the wheel you have is an OEM?
OEM stands for "original equipment manufacturer." An OEM wheel is a wheel that was installed on a car by the original manufacturer. Other terms used interchangeably for OEM wheels are stock rims, factory original wheel, and more loosely, take-off wheel. OE manufacturers produce specific stock rims for every vehicle model and almost always there is more than one option. Aftermarket wheels, on the other hand, are produced by various other companies that either build custom rims or sometimes replica wheels that look like stock original wheels. Note that when considering the purchase of OEM replacement wheels, replica wheels can be a cost-effective option especially when a used wheel or reconditioned wheel cannot be located.
Here are some ways to tell if your rims are original equipment (OEM):
If the wheel that is being sought after does not have the carmaker logo on the center cap/hub cap, chances are this is not a stock wheel. Stock wheels can usually be identified by the center cap logo; however, even this can be deceiving as some aftermarket companies produce wheels that fit the original equipment caps.
Many times you can identify a factory OEM rim by checking for the vehicle maker logo on the backside (Think Ford logo, Chevy logo, etc), and also there will almost always be OEM type numbers on the back of the wheel which sometimes includes the actual part number. Volvo wheels, Audi wheels, Volkswagen rims, and BMW original equipment wheels almost always have the OEM wheel part number stamped on the back. BMW begins its numbers with 11, 66, 67, and 68 plus more!
One thing to be careful about is that many times factory original wheels have an aftermarket finish (different finish) on them than when they came with new on the vehicle. For instance, the rims could have been chromed, polished, or have a PVD chrome finish on them. The aforementioned wheels which now have custom finishes on them would be considered to have an “aftermarket finish” on a factory original rim.
At 1-800EveryRim, we specialize in OEM steel and alloy wheels. Take advantage of our stock rim knowledge, we're happy to help you find the correct replacement wheel whether it's a used rim, a reconditioned wheel, or even a new take-off wheel. We will not allow you to make a mistake!