Questions about wheels

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WHEELS 101

BOLT PATTERN: The bolt pattern represents an imaginary circle going through the center of the wheel lugs. The most common bolt patterns in the industry are 4, 5, 6 or 8 lug holes. As an exemple, a 5x114.3 bolt pattern represents a 5 lug pattern on a 114.3 mm diameter circle.

CENTER BORE: The center bore is the large middle hole machined in the wheel to properly seat the wheels on the vehicle hub. It is important that the center bore of the wheel matches the vehicle hub size. Most aftermarket wheels are machined with a larger bore to fit more vehicles and they use hubcentric rings to adapt to the car they’re installed on. These rings have an outside diameter with the wheel center bore size and an inner diameter matching the vehicle hub size, making sure you have a perfect fitment no matter what vehicle you’re installing the wheels on. On the other hand, many replica wheels are machined with the exact diameter to fit on the car they’re intended for. For steel rims, a lot of them are not hubcentric but lug centric, meaning they are centered by the lugs. It is important to always install these with the vehicle on jack stands and the wheels off the ground. The wheel will center when tightening the nuts down, and not having the weight of the vehicle resting on the wheel will prevent it from being pushed off center.

LUG CENTRIC: Most aftermarket wheels are made with a larger hub to ensure that they will fit on a wide range of vehicles. This means that when the wheel is installed, there will most likely be a space between the axle and the hub instead of a firm contact. The wheel is therefore lug-centric, as the wheel is centered by the lugs rather than by the hub. In the case of steel rims, we cannot put centering rings! There is no danger with putting on these rims. Most vehicles on the road will have these lug centric rims since they are more popular with garages. They only have to stock a small amount compared to a hub centric wheel.

OFFSET: The offset is the measure of the distance between the center of the wheel to the hub mounting point on the wheel. There are 3 categories of offset :

A. ZERO OFFSET: When the hub mounting point on the wheel is aligned with the middle of the wheel. This kind of offset is mostly used for older rear wheel drive cars or for pickup trucks with large fenders

B. POSITIVE OFFSET: When the hub mounting point of the wheel is toward the outside or front of the wheel. This kind of offset is the norm for front wheel drive cars and most modern rear wheel drive cars.

C. NEGATIVE OFFSET: When the hub mounting point of the wheel is toward the inside or rear of the wheel. This kind of offset is mostly used for older rear wheel drive cars, lifted pickup trucks with fender extensions or sports cars with over fenders or fender flares.

It is important to select a wheel with the correct offset range for your vehicle. Choosing a wrong offset can affect the handling of the vehicle.

HUB CENTRIC: Aftermarket wheels usually have a standard center bore size to accommodate a wide variety of vehicles. 

When using the « Search by vehicle » tool on our site, you can rest assured that all these important specifications of a wheel were checked to make sure they match what your vehicle requires.

ALLOY WHEELS VS STEEL RIMS

One of the most common question we receive is concerning the difference between a regular steel rim and a stylish alloy wheel. There are several differences that are important to know before making the decision on what to buy.

WEIGHT. Steel rims, with the same dimension as an alloy wheel, will be a lot heavier. Saving unsprung weight on elements like wheels, will translate into better performance from the vehicle and improved gas mileage. If performance and fuel economy are priorities for you, we suggest alloy wheels, specifically for diameters 17 inch and more where the weight difference will be significant. If you are looking for the lightest cast wheels available for track use or for a sports car, the Flow Form line is a good solution, offering very light wheels for a low price when compared to forged wheels

SOLIDITY. Steel rims are made of two pieces welded together (barrel and face), as opposed to alloy wheels that are usually a one piece casting. The alloy wheels are generally more solid than steel rims, however, steel rims are easy to repair or to fix a bend if they get damaged with road hazards. An alloy wheel will be impossible to repair in many cases.

STYLE. Steel rims are usually the same design from one model to another and they are normally black. The only way to change their style is to change the plastic wheel covers installed on them. Alloy wheels, on the other hand, are available in a wide variety of designs, colors and finishes. From a matte black wheel with milled inserts to a shiny orange wheel with a machined lip. You can find pretty much anything you want with an alloy wheel.

PRICE. If you are looking to spend as little as possible for replacement wheels, winter wheels, for a full size spare, or to replace a damaged OEM wheel, the steel rims will be a perfect choice for you. The « OE » or « Replica » line of wheels is also a great way to replace an OEM alloy wheel at a fraction of the price charged at the dealership. If you want to personalize your vehicle, move to a bigger diameter or get a nice wheel design to complement your vehicle for summer use, then the alloy wheels are your ideal choice.

There are good options for the different needs a customer may have. With the correct answers to the correct questions, you will be able to determine exactly what product is the right one for you.

THE PERFECT WHEELS FOR YOUR VEHICLE

The first step to find the proper wheels for you and your vehicle is to use our convenient « Search by vehicle » tool. You can then answer these different questions to take your decision :

WHEEL SIZE: Are you looking to stay with the OEM size? If you simply want to change the look of your vehicle, it can be a good decision as you’ll be able to install your stock tires on the new wheels. To completely change the look of the vehicle, you can choose to upsize to a bigger diameter. This will drastically improve the look of the vehicle by filling the extra space in the wheel wells. On the other hand, if you are looking for winter wheels, downsizing an inch or two from the OE specs is a good choice, allowing to have a taller tire profile for better handling in the snow.

FINISH: With the several different finishes now available on the market, you will have to decide if you want to install colorful wheels or a more classic finish like silver or black. On modern cars from the past decade, the black machined two tone finish is very popular and there is a great selection of aftermarket wheels with that specific finish. Selecting the correct wheel color will greatly depend on the vehicle’s color. You might be looking for a tone on tone look, for a classic silver finish or for a more subtle all black finish.

ALL YEAR LONG OR SEASONAL USE: This will determine what finishes you can or can’t use depending on the seasons when you’ll be using the wheels. For a wheel that will be used in winter, snow and abrasives, it is recommended to get a « solid » color like silver or matte black. Two tones wheels are not recommended for winter use and they should be, like brightly colored wheels, reserved for summer temperature (or all year long for states without snowy winter).

To start your search for the best wheels for you and your vehicle, the best option is always to use our « Search by vehicle » tool. This will show you all the models guaranteed to be compatible with your vehicle and you’ll then be able to choose exactly what better suits your needs.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR WHEELS

CLEANING WHEELS WITH A PAINTED FINISH

It is best to avoid using chemical wheel cleaners to prevent damaging the clear-coated finish. If you wash your vehicle on a regular basis, there is no need to use them. When washing your vehicle, start with the wheels first when they are cool. Since the finish on your wheels is similar to your vehicle's paint job, use a mild detergent that is designed for automotive finishes. Use a washing mitt or a soft sponge, avoiding any brushes or abrasive pads as these will scratch and damage the finish. We also recommend waxing the exposed areas of your wheels three to four times a year or more. This will maintain the new look longer and will help to keep other elements from damaging the finish of your new wheels.

CLEANING WHEELS WITH A CHROME PLATED FINISH

The same steps for wheels with a painted finish apply to wheels with a chrome plated finish. However, chrome plating is more delicate and does require more care. Be sure not to use any abrasive chrome polishes as this could scratch the chrome plating. If you live in a climate where road salts are used during winter, we recommend that you remove your plated wheels during that time as they will rapidly pit and become cloudy when exposed to road salt for an extended period, as the salt contains chemicals which breaks down the finish.

N.B.: It is advised to clean this type of wheels before storing them during the winter season as road salts could damage them.

MAINTAINING YOUR ALLOY WHEELS

Proper maintenance will prevent damage to the wheel finish and keep the wheel finish warranty from being voided.

Before installation, apply a coat of non abrasive car wax to the wheels which will help protect the finish and make it easier to clean them.

Clean your wheels often using mild soap and water and a soft sponge or cotton cloth to clean them. Reapply a coat of wax at least once per season.

Do not use abrasive cleaners, pads or polishing compounds on your wheels.

Do not wash your wheels when they are hot as it will damage the finish.