I get it, I get it, you probably know what the difference is between a wheel and a car, but bear with me, as not everyone does know. So what is the difference between a wheel and a tire?

Wheels are what the tire wraps around. While the tire is made of a rubber compound and is what grips the road so you can move forward, the wheel gives the tire rigidity, helps it maintain its shape, keep air pressure, and gives something for the hub of the vehicle to attach to and get power from the rest of the drivetrain.

What is a wheel on a car?

This is an example of what a complete wheel is

Wheels (or rims, as some people call them, but we’ll talk about that in a moment) are one of the most important components of a vehicle. They not only give it a distinct styling element (you can change them out to change up your style), but they also give the transition between the tire and the hub or axle of the vehicle.

Wheels will generally have differing amounts of holes in the middle, which allows for lug bolts to be placed through, and lug nuts to tighten the wheel to the hub assembly. This keeps it in place and allows the axle to rotate, and gives power to the wheel, and in the end, the tire.

Wheels are also made up of a few different components, the face, the spokes, and the rim. Some different types of wheels allow these components to be separated, however, most are either cast, or formed together into one component.

To set the record straight, the rim is just the outer portion of the wheel and is what forms the bead for the tire. The rim is not the whole wheel and is not likely what you are shopping for.

What is a tire on a car?

These are tires

The tire wraps around the wheel that we just discussed above. Tires can be made of many different things, but most of them are made of a rubber compound. The different components of a tire are the tread, the sidewall, and the bead.

The tread is the portion of the tire that touches and grips the road. Depending on the type of tire you are using, you can get different types of tread patterns to help with different road conditions.

The sidewall is the portion of the tire that is slightly curved and is what holds the wheel and tire together, as well as keeps pressure in so that the tire can grip the road. The bead is the portion of the wheel and tire that contacts each other. It is what keeps the wheel on the tire, so if you look at a wheel and tire together, this is the portion that looks like it’s fused.

You might be surprised to find that tires not only give grip but also are an imperative part of your ride quality. That is why you likely notice a difference in ride quality whenever you change out your tires for new ones.

When shopping, does a wheel include the tire?

No, a wheel does not include the tire, and each is sold separately. The tire is considered a wear item and is something you will likely purchase new ones every couple of years. Wheels can last the lifetime of the vehicle and are not wear items.

When you are shopping for wheels or tires, it is important to know the difference between them and make sure you get the right one for your vehicle. Purchasing the right size tire for your wheel is extremely important, but that deserves its article, which we will link here when we write that.


In conclusion, there are clear differences between wheels and tires on your car. While the wheel is essential for rotation, it won’t be able to move if the tire isn’t attached – as the tire provides grip and traction on the roads. Additionally, remember that the wheel is comprised of a wheel and rim, while the tire is what goes around it. By understanding the differences between the wheel and tire components, you will be better equipped to shop for replacements when needed.