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Chrome wheels that dressed up the Mustangs and GTO’s of the ’60s are taking a new spin. Specialty rims are the latest explosion in car accessories. According to the Special Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA), last year, owners spent more than $3.2 billion on them.
Ian Hardman, CEO of Davin Wheels, a Rhode Island-based company whose patented rims adorn the cars of executives and celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson, calls the surge a personality statement. “It is one of the few outside options on an automobile that’s an expression of you. It tells something about your style and taste.”
You pay big bucks for expressing yourself. Specialty rims from Davin, particularly for high-end cars, range from $12,000 — $14,000. Customs rims cost more. Before you purchase consider the following tips:
- Protect Your Investment. Consider purchasing security devices that guard against theft, such as locks, which can cost $13 — $15. Also inform your insurance agent of your rim upgrade. Some companies charge extra, roughly $50 on your premium. The insurance increase will be minimal compared to replacement costs.
- Beware of Improper Sizing. “People look at the aesthetics, but don’t realize that it can be a safety issue,” says Jim Spoonhower, SEMA’s vice president of marketing research. Rims too large for your wheels can affect the mechanics of your automobile, including your odometer and anti-lock brakes.
- Find a Reputable Installer. Certification for installers will not be available until next year. The Wheel Industry Council (within SEMA) released an installation poster for specialty rims and provides other supporting information. If your installer is not aware of such information, find someone else. For more information, visit www.davinwheels.com and www.sema.org.