Ah, JDM Wheels!
So full of nostalgia, history, stories, and legends. Some people here in the United States often assume that these aftermarket rims have had their end and are no longer available or popular. But that’s hardly true; JDM rims are still very much in demand and a lot of major names have dedicated series for such wheels.
JDM is short for ‘Japanese Domestic Market’; the rims used in Japan and designed most commonly for vehicles made by Japan’s leading companies and sold around the world are usually referred to as JDM Wheels.
Japan’s contribution to automotive technology is immense and it was one of the first countries where drifting and racing entered the mainstream. There are some disagreements among fans and professionals alike on whether a JDM rim would look good on something like a Porsche 911.
These differences in opinions arise because Japanese aesthetics and approach to manufacturing cars for everyday use varies considerably from the Western ideas. Japanese technology tends to be more utilitarian. The same principles apply on some levels to JDM rims too.
The point is that JDMs will never go out of fashion.
And if you are interested in procuring a set of JDM Wheels to add some extra points on style and function, you must know how to choose a set.
How to choose JDM Wheels?
The vast majority of these rims are smaller than the ones we usually see in aftermarket circles. They start off at 15-inches while the biggest models have a rather modest diameter of 20-inches. Staggered rims are available in several sizes.
Follow these tips to pick out a set perfect for your vehicle:
- Size: Selecting the right size of these rims is essentially a no-brainer. While oversizing has been in fashion for some years now, try and avoid that while browsing through JDMs. The size of the rims depends on the type and diameter of your tires. There’s also the aspect of offset.
Bolt patterns play a significant part too. JDM rims have very particular bolt patterns and they should match your vehicle properly.
If you drive an SUV and frequently go off-roading for small spells, it makes sense to go for bigger wheels. For hatchbacks, subcompact, and deluxe cars, the 16-17-inch models are suitable.
- Materials used: Like most high-end aftermarket rims from Fuel, MKW, Vossen, Savini, and American Racing, all branded JDM Wheels are manufactured using high-tensile 6061-T6 or A356 aluminum alloys. A few are made using stainless-steel and even magnesium alloys, the ‘Mags’ which ruled streets and hearts in the Swinging Sixties.
- Style: JDM rims are some of the most stylish in the entire North American market and across all major global hubs. Opting for a specific style is a subjective issue best left to you. Still, it would be a good start if you considered the type of car you drove before diving in.
For instance, most JDMs that rules the roost in the 1980s were designed for rear-wheel drive compact cars including the beloved Datsuns. The 1990s saw the emergence of Honda’s subcompact superstars and the rim designs changed accordingly.
To sum up, it’s perhaps a bad idea buying these rims for pickups and bigger vehicles like MPVs.
- Quality: Like any other style of wheels, opting for branded products is a must. There are several notable companies that make such rims right here in the USA. Enkei, SSR, Work Meister, and Konig excel in this area. If you are purchasing from other, lesser-known brands, please check whether the products carry their ‘quality tested/passed’ credentials.
The TUV certification is an ideal place to start.
Finally, if you drive a hybrid or a fully electric vehicle, it’s important to consult with professionals in this segment for proper guidance.
We normally visit AudioCity USA, a 34-year-old veteran still leading the retail market. Their outlet is in Santa Fe Springs, California.
The 3 bestselling JDM Wheels right now!
With so many choices, it’s hardly surprising that newbies get confused and distracted.
Spare yourself that part and opt for any of the following models:
- NS Drift M01: NS Wheels is one of the leaders in the JDM rims segment. And this is possibly their most iconic model. The 20-inch Drift M01 with a deep bronze finish is renewed each year simply because it works so well with all vehicles from Mitsubishi, Lexus, Kia, Honda, and heavy hitters from Ford, Chevrolet, and even BMW.
It’s a lightweight, 5-spoked rim that appears very ordinary at a glance. Once it is fitted, however, the story changes completely!
It also helps that the Drift M01 is priced very reasonably.
- ESR SR07: ESR Wheels is a Goliath of a brand and produces several different types of aftermarket rims. Its proficiency in JDM Wheels is known rather well. The SR07 has several variants; however, its 18-inch model in glossy silver is noted for elegance and efficiency. ESR has positioned the SR range for city-based vehicles primarily, and the SR07 has often been noted adorning a BMW saloon or a Tesla Roadster.
In many ways, the SR07 outshines models offered by bigger brands.
- Motegi MR116 FS5: This JDM masterpiece is the strongest and sturdiest of the options you see here. That’s because Motegi Racing Wheels make aftermarket products that are suitable for racing tracks and take drifting to a pro level. It’s slightly heavier than the ESR and the NS rims but not by much.
You can perhaps start off with the 17-inch models in several dual-tone finishes that work mighty as well with a 6th-gen Honda Civic as a Lexus coupe or even a Camaro.
Be careful when procuring a set of all-new JDM Wheels; fake rims are everywhere!