Going from stock wheels to 4×4 rims can seem exciting and confusing at the same time. You don’t need to worry, though; you just need to know what to order. Below, you’ll get some easy tips on buying custom wheels.
Choosing a Wheel and Tyre Size
Bigger isn’t always better, and this concept is especially true when buying aftermarket wheels. However, if you do decide to “plus size”, you’ll need to consider a variety of factors. While larger wheels look great, they can have negative effects on your ride quality—and they can cost more than smaller sets. However, wide wheels can use wide tyres, which can provide increased traction for off-road driving. When choosing new wheels, you should think of the largest tyres that will fit. In some cases, choosing a rim diameter that’s only an inch smaller will leave you with many more options.
Finding and Measuring Bolt Pattern
To find the vehicle’s bolt pattern, you’ll need two pieces of info: holes on the wheel and the spacing between the studs. For instance, a 6 x 5.5 bolt pattern signifies that the rim has six holes, spaced 5.5″ apart when measured across the centre of the wheel. On 5-lug patterns, this is different; here, measurement is made from the back of one end’s lug hole to the centre of the opposing hole.
Hub-Centric, Lug-Centric and Centre Bore
Another important note to make is the size of the centre bore, and whether the wheels are lug- or hub-centric. To measure the centre bore, determine the diameter of the hole centred over the wheel’s mounting hub. The wheels are hub-centric if the centre bore is the same size as the mounting hub. They are lug-centric if the measurements are different.
Knowing the vehicle’s backspacing is another important part of finding the right set of wheels. Backspacing is the distance between the middle of the mounting surface to the wheel’s back edge. Sizes vary depending on offset; if the wheel has a zero offset, hub mounting surfaces are level with the centre line of the wheel. If the wheels have a positive offset, their mounting surface is closer to the wheel front, and wheels with negative offset have a mounting surface closer to the wheel back. Backspacing measurements are given in inches, and if you buy wheels with inaccurate backspacing they likely won’t fit your vehicle.
KMC wheels are sold with a load rating, which can cause confusion among the uninitiated. To determine your load, multiply the per-wheel rating by four. For instance, if each wheel has a load rating of 2500 lbs., your total would be 10,000 pounds.
Matching Wheels and Lift Kits
If your 4×4 is lifted, you’ll need some additional information to buy the right wheels. To determine which sets will work with your setup, consult the maker of your 4WD’s lift kit. Once you’ve determined the right measurements, there’s only one thing left to do—pick out your new wheels. For a full set, you’ll need four wheels; five, if you want a spare to match.