How to buy wheels as a gift: our 6-step guide
By: Discount Tire
Do you have a young driver in the house that desperately wants to customize their ride? After a year of working hard and earning straight A’s, a new set of wheels is the best bang for your buck when it comes to drastically transforming the look and attitude of a vehicle—even if it’s your kid’s beater or hand-me-down.
Or maybe you want to show how much you appreciate your spouse/significant other? No matter what they drive, there’s a replacement wheel out there that will look better than stock.
And for the automotive and performance enthusiast in your life, a new set of wheels can be just the thing that gets them started or dials in the handling and overall vibe of their ride.
But if the world of wheels is unfamiliar territory to you, don’t sweat it! We’ve put together a foolproof step-by-step process that will help you find the right wheels to give to someone—including how to do it as a surprise.
Without further ado, here is our complete sequence and system on how to surprise someone with a set of wheels as a gift this holiday season.
(This guide can also work for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, high school/college graduation presents, bar/bat mitzvahs, confirmation, retirement.)
1. Do your research
If it doesn’t already go without saying, it’s one of the more obvious steps to take before you go out and slap a random set of new wheels on a vehicle.
Usually the biggest items to consider are wheel color and finish, but size, (including width) as well as offset and load capacity are also important to consider.
If this still sounds like a lot, just use our wheel visualizer! It only shows results that work on the exact year, make, model and trim level of a given vehicle—a simple way to see exactly what a wheel will look like on the vehicle you're shopping for. It's also a great way to explore different vehicle/wheel color combos.
It might be a little too obvious to run some ideas by the person who will be receiving the wheels as a gift (if they haven’t already shown you exactly what they’re after), but you can discretely get a better idea through Instagram or even when you’re driving around town if you’re trying to make it a surprise.
(This might also be the perfect time to kill two birds with one stone by creating a wheel and tire package. From off-road combos to on-pavement performers, you can address a “need” and a “want” all in one appointment.)
2. Make your selection/consultation appointment
If you’re still not sure, you can drop in on one of our locations and talk to a wheel expert who’ll be able to pull up all of the advanced technical info on a given wheel. This might be a good option if you’re switching between wheel sizes (such as in the case of a lifted truck or lowered sports car).
3. Complete your order on discounttire.com
When you’ve found the right wheel, you can complete your order through discounttire.com. From there, you can have the set of wheels shipped to your location of choice and make an installation appointment.
Making an appointment will make the amount of time you’re gone with the vehicle as short as possible—especially important if you’re trying to make the new wheels a surprise.
On the topic of keeping the wheels a surprise, make sure you don’t use a shared email address through this process so that the person they’re intended for doesn’t see the order and appointment confirmation email!
Note: some wheels may take a few days or more to arrive at a given location from its manufacturer warehouse. Especially during the winter rush it’s best to complete your order well in advance of when the wheels are needed.
4. Find your excuse
Now the hard part: finding a natural-sounding excuse for their vehicle to be gone for a few hours.
When you take it to go “run errands” you’re going to want to budget a couple hours just to play it completely safe. (Our stores are able to mount and balance aftermarket wheels incredibly quickly, and you definitely won’t wait this long even if you don’t have an appointment.)
And if you have the ability to make your wheel installation appointment later in the evening (before we close at 6 PM) you might be able to return under the cover of darkness, which can help reduce the chance of the the new wheels being spied and the surprise being ruined.
5. Stash the vehicle
If you’re extra committed to the new wheels being a surprise, you might want to try to figure out a way to conceal or otherwise hide the vehicle from view until Christmas morning.
A trusted neighbor or nearby relative who has some extra space could be a great option. If you have a garage, you might be able to try to prevent the person the wheels are for from going in there for a few days.
6. Wake up (extra) early on Christmas morning
Now the fun part. You might have to wake up extra early (especially for those younger drivers) but now is the time to quietly pull the vehicle into your driveway or in view of your home.
And be sure to turn and lock the steering wheel in the correct direction to show off the new rims from a straight-on view.
(This will also make it Instagram-ready for the person you gifted the wheels to.)
If you’re able to track down a big bow to put on top of the vehicle, go ahead! A new set of wheels can definitely have the effect of making a vehicle look and feel brand new, just like those hokey car commercials you see around Christmastime every year.
Tip: have your phone ready to record their reaction!
Being the ultimate gift-giver doesn’t have to be hard if a set of new wheels are on the wish list of someone close to you. This how-to combined with the expertise of our in-store employees will have you and the vehicle you’re putting new wheels on looking like an all-star.