Changing your vehicle’s generic, stock wheels to stylish aftermarket wheels can seem like a great, yet daunting, idea. Don’t worry– you just need to know what to look for before ordering. Read on for everything you need to know before buying aftermarket wheels for your ride.
Deciding on Wheel & Tire Size
A popular idea when upgrading to aftermarket wheels is getting bigger wheels. But, there are many things to consider when upping the size of your wheels. While larger rims look great, they can negatively impact your ride quality, tend to be more expensive than their smaller counterparts and require larger, more expensive tires. On the other hand, wider wheels can use wider tires, which offer your truck more traction. This is important if you use your rig for off-roading or other extreme driving conditions. To determine what size tires you would need with your bigger wheels, use our tire size calculator.
Ultimately when choosing the right wheels, you should consider the maximum tire size you want to fit on them. While this might limit your wheel options, it can help guide you to the best wheel size. You may find that simply going one inch smaller on the rim diameter gives you twice as many tire options. There’s no sense in buying a nice looking wheel, simply for size, if you can’t find any acceptable tires to fit.
How to Find & Measure Your Bolt Pattern
To find your bolt pattern, you need to determine two numbers. The first is how many bolt holes are on the wheel, while the second is how far apart each bolt is. For example, a bolt pattern number of 6 x 5.5 means the wheel has six bolt holes that are 5.5” apart (when you measure across the center of the wheel). The only lug pattern where this method of measurement is different is the 5 lug pattern. As illustrated to the left, for a 5 lug wheel, measurement is made from the back of the lug hole on one end, to the center of the lug hole on the opposite side.
Center Bore & Hub-Centric vs Lug-Centric
Another important thing to note is the size of your wheel’s center bore, and whether your wheels are hub-centric or lug-centric. To get the center bore’s size, measure the diameter of the hole that centers over the mounting hub. Your wheel is hub-centric if the center bore matches the mounting hub’s size. If it doesn’t, your wheels are lug-centric.
How to Measure Backspacing
Knowing your vehicle’s backspacing size is an essential part of finding the right wheel. Your wheel’s backspacing is measured from the wheel’s mounting surface (in the middle of the wheel) to the back edge of the wheel. The size will vary, depending on the wheel’s offset. If it has zero offset, the hub mounting surface is even with the wheel’s center line. If it has positive offset, the mounting surface is closer to the front of the wheel, while negative offset is closer to the back of the wheel.
Backspacing is measured in inches – 4.5”, for example. If you purchase wheels with the wrong backspacing size, it’s likely they aren’t going to fit your car properly.
Knowing Your Maximum Load
Wheels are advertised with a maximum weight load, which can often cause confusion. This is max-weight is per tire. To get the exact weight load, multiply the advertised max-weight by 4. For example, if each wheel’s load rating is 3500 lbs, the total load rating for your truck would be 14,000 lbs. Still unsure how to obtain your wheel fitment? Check out our wheel fitment diagram.
Going Bigger by Matching Your Wheels to Your Lift Kit
If your truck or SUV has a lift kit, don’t worry, you just need a few more pieces of information. To find out what wheels are designed to work with your rig, contact the manufacturer of your lift kit. They are able to provide the information you need, so you can order those custom steel wheels you’ve been craving.
Once you determine your ride’s proper sizing and measurements, all that’s left is the fun and easy part – picking out your sweet new wheels. As a reminder, wheels are sold individually. For a complete set, you need four wheels, or five for a matching spare. Before you buy, learn more about the options by reading our alloy rims reviews. AutoAnything carries only the best wheels available, backed by our 1-year, lower price guarantee. And, we ship them for free in the United States.