Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bye bye bling bling (well, almost), and the perils of buying used parts (sometimes)

Gone are the 15" chrome wheels the Teal Terror wore. In their place are four new 15x7 black steel wheels (Unique 297 wheels) purchased via America's Tire (and yes, it was another great buying experience from them). The new look is understated, simple, and functional—everything that I'm looking for. And the vibration should be 100% gone at 60 MPH+, too; something I'll verify tomorrow. However, I still have the one 15x7 chrome steel wheel on the spare. So, the bling isn't completely gone. I may try some Plasti Dip to make it black. 

When I first saw the Teal Terror with the new wheels, I noticed they weren't poking out as much as the chrome wheels, which was fine, but this made me immediately think: I bet the "15x7" chrome wheels I bought weren't 15x7s at all. Sure enough, the wheels are actually 15x8 wheels—it's stamped right on the barrels. I had suspected it, but had no way to verify it until now.

When I bought the chrome wheels a bit more than a year ago, the wheels were advertised on craigslist as 15x7s.  When I went to look at them, the guy reiterated that they were 15x7s. OK, fine. I remember thinking they stuck out quite a bit, but whatever. I'm assuming the kid didn't know what he was selling, as there's no advantage to selling a 15x7 vs. a 15x8. No love loss there. But if you remember, I also had bought the BFGoodrich tires used, too and was told the tires weren't that old (this was a different seller than the wheels). That was also not true, but I think think the used tire shack I went to just wanted to sell them and told me what I want to hear. So who can you trust these days about buying used parts? I guess you never know.

Since I started buying aftermarket parts for cars in the late 1990s, I've been very lucky. I've never been burned, never had stuff that fell apart. With that being said: Buyer beware on used parts. There's always a bit more risk when buying used. Certain items can be pretty safe, such as those that don't have moving parts or aren't typically items that wear out. It's hard to know what you're getting into unless you buy new. And while used parts can be a great way to save some dough, it can also end up being more expensive in the long run.

1995 Suzuki Sidekick


rubicon4wheeler said...

Great advice here!

Buying used parts can be hard because you have to know what to look for. Your experience with the wheels and tires perfectly illustrates this.

If you do your homework, you can still find some awesome deals though, so it's usually worth the effort.

Ducati Scotty said...

So we're the vibes from the rims being out of round or just too big?

nlpnt said...

I'm not usually into black rims, but those look good on that truck!

BTW, did you hear the NPR article on the smaller Japanese carmakers?