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Black tire rims

Available at: Auto supply and tire stores

Price: $50 and up

Will they improve your ride? Give you more control on ice? Up the bling factor?

Bling. Now we're talking. Black rims are edging into the market on everything from sports cars, minivans and trucks. Why not? They are cool, sleek and bad-ass. But all that can come with a price or problem.

Most daily drives have standard steel rims. They're sturdy and do their job without notice. Alloys are a composite of lighter metals (aluminum and nickel) that change up the performance of your ride and ramp up the cool factor with a stylish polished, painted or chrome finish.

Consider your purpose and pocketbook before you buy. If your commute includes potholes, protruding manhole covers and curb hopping, you might want to consider another route. Good alloys are costly ($100 per rim and up) and sometimes impossible to repair. Rims with less nickel create a lighter ride but bend easier. More nickel is heavier and doesn't bend, but can crack.

Don't forget the wheelbase and offset. Raising or lowering your ride with different rim sizes can change its balance and manoeuvrability. The amount of rubber will change depending on the size of the rim. Less rubber means improved handling and a firmer ride so you'll feel the bumps more.

The deciding factor? Bling.

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