How to Choose Wheels for Your Vehicle

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BY ERIN C

Changing your vehicle’s generic look with a set of stylish aftermarket wheels may seem like a great idea, but it can be daunting. Don’t worry, though — you just need to know what to look for before ordering. Read on to get the lowdown.

Deciding on wheel & tire size

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, and this concept may apply when upgrading to aftermarket wheels. But if you do decide to up the size of your wheels, there are many things to consider. While larger rims look great, they can negatively impact your ride-quality and will run pricier than their smaller counterparts. On the other hand, wider wheels mean wider tires, which offer your truck greater traction. This is important if you use your rig for off-roading or other extreme driving conditions. To determine what size of tires you’d need with your bigger wheels, use a tire size calculator.

Ultimately, you should consider the maximum-sized tire. You may find that simply going one inch smaller on the rim diameter gives you twice as many options. There’s no sense in buying a nice-looking wheel just for size if you can’t find any acceptable tires to fit.

How to find and measure your bolt pattern

To find your bolt pattern, you need to determine two things — the first is the number of bolt holes on the wheel, and the second is the distance between each bolt. 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 differs is the 5-lug pattern. 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 yourwheels 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 categorized as 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 another essential facet of finding the right wheel. Your wheel’s backspacing is measured from the mounting surface in the middle to the back edge of the wheel. The size will vary, depending on your offset. If it has zero offset, the hub mounting surface is even with the wheel’s center line. If it has a positive offset, the mounting surface is closer to the front of the wheel, while a negative offset is closer to the back of the wheel.

Knowing your maximum load

Wheels are advertised with a maximum weight load, which has been known to cause confusion. To determine the exact weight load, multiply the advertised max-weight by four. For example, if each wheel’s load rating is 3,500 lbs, the total load rating for your truck would be 14,000 lbs.

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’re able to easily provide the information you need, so you can order thoscustom steel wheels or alloy rims you’ve been after.

Once you determine your ride’s proper sizing and measurements, all that’s left is the fun, easy part — picking out your sweet new wheels. AutoAnything carries a great selection of automotive tire accessories. 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 rim reviews. We back every product on our site with a 1-Year, Lower Price Guarantee.

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Mike Cote
My 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road Access Cab 4x4 offers bed space to camp in, haul my dirt bike around, and it's been done up to take on the trails. Favorite mods include my Icon coilovers to soak up the bumps. My Walker Evans 501 Legend wheels wrapped in Toyo RT tires give me the clearance from my upper control arms to fit (and they look darn good) and the over-sized tires take on rocks with plenty of traction. My Rigid Industries fog lights have kept me out of a ditch or two when night wheeling. Growing up going to car shows and helping my dad work on the family vehicles ignited my passion. My best memory was the first time I flushed the coolant. My dad forgot to tell me to keep my face out from under the drain plug. Never made that mistake again!

14 COMMENTS

    • Hey Dwight,

      Yeah man, shopping for wheels can be tough! So your Ridgeline uses the 5×4.5 bolt pattern, which is good news because that means wheels for Jeeps, a lot of Fords, and plenty of others also share that bolt pattern: https://www.autoanything.com/wheels-rims/20A56634A1.aspx?N=4294950437

      To narrow it down further than that, I need to know what size tires you’re looking to run, and if you are or plan on running a lift at all. Your factory wheels have a lot of positive offset, and Fuel wheels (like most off road style wheels) run a lot lower offset, meaning they will push your tires out further for a wider stance. Depending on what size tires you’ll be running, this is an important factor to consider.

      I’ll shoot you an email now to see what we can figure out.
      Cheers!
      Garrett

  1. I have a 2001 jeep wrangler stock. I want to get 31 10.5 r15 tires. I want the dick cepek rims. Not sure what info i need when ordering the rims.

  2. I have a 2016 Ford F-150 Platinum edition. I recently installed the MotoFab F-150 front leveling kit (I don’t think this should provide any adjustment when picking out wheels). I also just purchased Wrangler Duratrac, 275/55R20 113T BSW tires. I am currently looking at the Dick Cepek DC-2 Black or the DC Torque wheels. Any help you can provide on what size wheel to match that setup would be great. Thank you.

    • Hey Tom,

      So you already have the 20″ tires, right? Here are the DC-2 and Torque 20″ options for you in your 6×135 bolt pattern:

      DC-2: https://www.autoanything.com/wheels-rims/77A9506A4081851.aspx
      Torque: https://www.autoanything.com/wheels-rims/77A9505A4081841.aspx

      The DC-2s have an offset of 0mm, and the Torques have a 30mm positive offset. Not sure what wheels you’re running now, but this means that the DC-2s will push your stance out a little over an inch on each side in comparison to the Torques. So basically, if you’re torn between the look on these two (I’m a fan of the Torques myself), just know the DC-2s will give you a slightly wider, more aggressive stance.

      I’m going to send you an email with this info too just in case. Hope this helps!
      Garrett

  3. I have a Chevy Cruze LT 2018. I’m looking to get the “Konig Illusion Wheels”. I’m also planning on keeping my original factory tires. Would they fit?

    • Hey Raul,

      Hmmm, Konig doesn’t make the Illusion in your bolt pattern, unfortunately. The Cruze has a pretty unusual bolt pattern of 5×105, which pretty much only GM uses on a few of their cars. No idea why they chose that bolt pattern, but they did.

      Konig does offer a couple wheels in that pattern, though, along with a few other companies, which you can see here: https://www.autoanything.com/wheels-rims/10A56004.aspx?n=4294946391

      I’ll shoot you a follow up email with this info as well.

      Cheers!
      Garrett

  4. Hey looking to life and get new wheels/tires on a 2007 Subaru Forester. Not sure what direction to go in from here, I off road and dive in the snow pretty frequently. Any suggestions or help would be great!
    Thanks!
    Carrie

    • Hey Carrie,

      Nice! I recently helped a friend of mine with a lift, wheels, and tires on her Forester. What sort of look/performance were you looking to get here? Looking for better offroad and snow performance? Looking to go with bigger tires as well? Looking for a more offroad-ish look with the wheels too? Sorry, a lot of questions, I know, but there are a lot of directions you can go here!

      I’ll shoot you a follow up email with this as well, but if I were to outfit my own Forester, I would go with Method Roost wheels and BFG All Terrain KO2 tires. I’m running those tires on my Audi Allroad offroad project right now, and they are seriously excellent. They’re popular for a reason!

      Cheers,
      Garrett

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