How to Choose Wheels for Your Vehicle

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 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 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 those custom 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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