Update: The decision has been made and I’ve gone aftermarket. Better yet thanks to Tirerack’s super fast shipping to Chicago, my new wheels and tires have arrived. Big thanks to everyone who gave advice below. I hope that it is a great resource for others considering the same choice. I’ll let the world know what I got in a day or so once I get them on the MINI.

In the meantime my JCW 18″ wheels are now officially for sale. If you’re interested in a smoking deal on both the tires and rims, send me an email via the contact link above.

As I toy with the idea of selling my 18 inch JCW wheels and going aftermarket, I’ve been thinking a lot about the positives and negatives of the two choices. When I got my car, I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse that included the wheels. I love them now as I did then, but as always, I’m ready for something new and different. I won’t go into details yet as to what I’m considering (now let’s see if those who know can keep quiet) but I will say that it doesn’t stray too much from what I currently enjoy.

So I’d like to start out with a list of simple positives and negatives about OEM and aftermarket wheels. Sort of a primer for the folks who are considering either option. And once your done reading feel free to add to the list in the comment section. I don’t mean to start any wheel holy wars with this post, just something for MINI owners to use as a reference for the OEM vs Aftermarket wheel question. So please play nice 😉

OEM: Positives

– Designed to work with the car and are hub-centric.
– Designed to look good with the car.
– Generally engineered to to be tough for unforgiving roads

OEM: Negative

– Everyone else has them.
– Heavier than most aftermarket wheels (and sometimes way heavier)
– Cost can be higher than good aftermarket wheels.

Aftermarket Wheel: Positives

– Costs: many aftermarket wheels can cost substantially less than OEM.
– Weight: since aftermarket companies don’t have to design their wheels to deal with a wide range of consumers, they can designed much lighter. Lighter; faster to go and stop.
– Relatively rare depending on the style. More than you can say about many OEM wheels that are seen on a daily basis.

Aftermarket Wheel: Negatives

– Construction. Some are good (very good in fact). However there are a few sets out there that simply don’t come anywhere near the quality of an OEM wheel.
– At times not as durable as OEM wheels. Manufacturers don’t have to worry about such nasty little things like four year warranties.
– All designs aren’t created equal. Yes wheels are a personal choice. But please, choose wisely, there are some dogs out there.
– Typically not hub-centric.

So let’s hear your thoughts. I’m sure there’s an opinion or two out there. And if anyone is (cough) interested in getting a smoking deal on a set of used but technically and visually perfect 18 inch JCW wheels, shoot me an email via the contact page.