What Type of Wheels are Right for You?
Wheels are an integral part of your vehicle. They come from the factory at a basic level and can be upgraded to improve stability, performance and esthetics.
Looking for a change?
Looking to replace degraded, damaged or just looking to upgrade your current wheels can be a challenge if not done correctly. Proper sizing or upsizing and fitment will make the difference between a smooth or harsh handling vehicle.
Finding Your Wheels Bolt Pattern
When it comes to finding the proper fitment for putting aftermarket or different wheels on your car, the bolt pattern is one of the most important considerations. There is a very good reason for this, since “bolt pattern” refers to the number of lug holes in the wheel and the distance between them. The bolt pattern on the wheel must match the bolt pattern on the car, or the wheel will not fit! Not every wheel will fit your vehicle, but they do come in extremely wide varieties so talk with us to find the perfect fit today.
Always remember when you chose your aftermarket wheels that they must fit properly with proper centering rings and securing hardware.
Winter wheel options are becoming more and more common these days. They often come in basic black steel and can be upgraded to alloy for a lot less than you think. Winter wheels and tire combinations can be (often be) down sized to keep costs down and still perform well in winter driving conditions.
Wheel Composition and Construction
Here are some of the more common methods used to create popular wheels on the market, if you see a method not listed below please feel free to ask Harper’s any questions you might have.
- SteelSteel is both heavier and stronger than aluminum, and has been used for wheel construction much longer.
- Aluminum AlloyAluminum alloy is a mixture of aluminum and nickel. The proportions of metal in the alloy determine both the strength and weight of the wheel. Alloy wheels are now standard on most cars because they offer both cosmetic and performance advantages. Unlike steel wheels, aluminum alloy can be cast and worked in many different designs, giving cars a much more individual look, and offering owners the chance to customize even more. Alloys do tend to bend easier than steels under road impacts, and have a tendency to crack if bent too far.
- Cast AluminumCast aluminum is where a molten alloy is poured into a mold and allowed to cool. Several types of casting methods exist, but what they have in common is that cast aluminum is not very dense, and so greater weight of metal is needed for strength.
- Forged AluminumForged Aluminum is created by taking a solid “billet” of aluminum alloy and subjecting it to a tremendous amount of heat and pressure. The pressure simply crushes the metal into the desired shape. The forged blank can then also be flow-formed to shape the barrel. This creates a wheel that is extremely dense and very strong, but also very light. Pound for pound, forged aluminum is much stronger than a cast aluminum alloy.
- Flow Forming/Rotary ForgedFlow Forming/rotary forged is a hybrid process in which low pressure cast aluminum is stretched and formed using heat and high-pressure rollers to shape the wheel. The stretching and forming process creates a thin and dense metal, which has properties similar to forged aluminum. The flow forming process was pioneered by BBS Wheels, and a great many of their racing wheels are still made via this process.
- How to Pick the Right WheelChanging your vehicle’s generic, stock wheels to aftermarket wheels can seem like a fantastic, yet daunting, idea. However, you don’t need to worry you just need to know what to look for before choosing the right wheel for your vehicle. Read on for everything you need to know before buying aftermarket wheels for your vehicle today. A popular idea when upgrading to aftermarket wheels is getting bigger wheels. There are many things to consider when increasing the size of your wheels. While larger wheels 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 vehicle more traction. This is important if you use your vehicle for driving conditions that demand better grip either for handling and accelerating/braking. To determine what size tires you would need with your bigger wheels, ask Harper’s today. 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 wheel 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.
- Style ConsiderationsThe options are limitless when it comes to choosing the style of wheels you want for your vehicle. Aftermarket wheel manufacturers create all kinds of designs with different spoke patterns and colors. Chrome adds a noticeable shine to your vehicle, but black rims can also give your vehicle a great curbside appeal. Other wheel colors, on the other hand, provide an original and customized look. Increasing wheel size is also an important aspect of styling for a vehicle. Larger wheels tend to make a vehicle stand out and are more appealing to the eye.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are Wheels the same thing as Rims?No, however people often call wheels “rims” and refer to them as the same thing. A rim is the outer edge of a wheel, and it holds the tire firmly in place so that the tire can rotate with the rest of the wheel. The rim connects to the wheel hub via spokes. Many consumers use the term "rim" to describe the entire wheel but for the purpose of this section we will be using the word “wheel”.
- What Do I Need to Know About Matching Wheels to Tires?If you would like to keep the tires that you currently use for your vehicle and purchase new wheels, it is important to match the new wheels to your tires. In most cases, the overall diameter of the wheel and tire together remains the same even as the diameter of the wheel increases, which you accomplish by fitting a tire with a shorter sidewall to a wheel with a larger diameter. If you want to match wheels to your tires, your new wheels should have the same diameter as your old ones do. You should also pay attention to the width of a set of wheels, since this should also be the same as the width of your tires. In addition to maintaining wheel diameter, you should ensure that your new wheels have the same bolt pattern as the old ones do. Your vehicle has a set number of bolts for securing the wheels, so your new wheels should have the same bolt pattern in order to ensure compatibility between your new wheels and your vehicle.
- How do I Find & Measure my 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 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. What is the Difference Between 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 do I 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.
- Wheel Fitment Diagram
- How do I Know the Maximum Load for the Wheels?Wheels are advertised with a maximum weight load, which can often cause confusion. This is the max-weight 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