buying car: ugly wheels

joe_mnOctober 7, 2006

I am getting a 99 mustang V6. the current owner tweaked it to look like a GT. It has 17" chrome alloy wheels (cobra?) that look cool but are pretty beat up. lots of curb rash. The tires are so-so but I plan on getting 16" rims/snow tires for this winter. MN weather you know. I have 2 sets of tires on my other car. summer/winter. I know this car is going to need all the traction it can get during the winter. I am not sure how t o proceed. the current wheels are not worth keeping. I think they might be bent too. I need a new set of wheels/tires. get some nice 16" stuff and also get a set of 16" winter tires and swap them out? groan. that sounds like a lot of $$ to me.

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1st, use the damaged wheels as a bagaining chip to reduce the price. It doesn't make sense to pay market price for a car that you can see needs $1200 - $2000 worth of tires and wheels.

I guess if it were me and I already had the car, I'd use your old chromies with the curb rash for the snow rims if they're still usuable and a size that accomodates snow tires, and spring for a new set of nice wheels for the summer tires. You save the cost of snow rims that way, assuming you do like I do and just buy plane jane steel rims for the winter. Unfortunately, the plane jane rims are the cheepest thing on the list anyway.

You're right, two sets of tires and a new set of trick wheels can get spendy. You can check out the junk yards in your area and see if by chance there's a good set you like off of a wreck.

If you haven't purchased the car yet and the price is up there near what they all sell for anyway, pass on it. There's got to be mustangs around for the same money that don't need anything. jmo

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 11:11AM
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If the wheels are bent, check for bearing damage.

If the wheels took a hit sideways by enough force to bend the them, the bearings may be damaged. Sometimes, this damage does not show until after a 1000 miles or more after the hit. And then, the bearings will begin to make a rough/grinding sound. Wheel bearings should be silent in operation. If these make a noise, there is damage to the races or balls/rollers.

There is no concern if the owner merely bolted on a set of wheels that were bent from prior service. However, ask yourself, why is he trying to sell the car with bent wheels? Either the wheels were bent while mounted on this vehicle OR he's unloading a set of damaged wheels. In either case, make allowance for replacement wheels.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 6:34PM
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I agree that you need to know more about (and pay less for) the current alloy wheels. A couple of things you can do beyond that:

- Check tire stores and/or tire company Web sites to see if there are 16" tires which will fit the existing alloy wheels. If they are in usable shape (just not that pretty), make them the rims you use for winter. Road salt in Minnesota will chew up any wheel, so if you're talking about a daily driver, you don't want anything too good in the winter anyway.
- I don't know where you live in Minnesota, but here in The Cities, there is any number of car dealerships and tire shops which have take-offs -- wheels (or older wheels) they took off when someone bought new wheels and tires. Since you'll pretty much have the winter to look around, you might be able to get a good price on wheels that someone upgraded.
- If you're comfortable buying on-line, there probably is a Mustang forum somewhere on which people will post ads for their take-offs. You're likely buying used wheels there, but used wheels aren't bad if they've been taken care of.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 9:30AM
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thanks for the replys. i drove another stang V6 yesterday. seemed to be a little quicker but it also had a little low speed shimmy. are all stang's beat up? we drove a 2003 stang a few weeks ago and it had bad wheel bearings. it made a grinding sound while going straight but got quiet when we turned or changed lanes. weird. the clone car is still around. i might make them a low ball offer.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 9:47PM
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As pony cars, Mustangs kind of invite hard driving. No offense, but most buyers will want to experience the performance they're paying for. Unfortunately, for many, the car payment and insurance (and now, gasoline) chew up available funds so maintenance is either DIY ("Sure, I can fix it!") or is done only when the noise exceeds that of that generated by the car stereo or the car flat out stops moving.

Okay, I'm being facetious here, but the target demographic for cars like Mustangs (and Subaru WRXs, Dodge Neon SRTs, etc.) is young men who don't want to drive like their grandfathers. But that's hard service for almost any car.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 9:38AM
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