#performancetires PHOENIX, AZ

Wheels / Rims

How to Chose New Wheels For Your Ride

Upgrading your factory wheels to a fresh set of aftermarket alloys is one of the best automotive upgrades you can invest in. Wheels, also referred to as Rims, have a significant impact on the overall appearance and performance of your vehicle. Available in a wide range of colors, sizes, patterns, materials, and performance characteristics, purchasing a new set of wheels can feel like a daunting task. Before you make any final decisions, here are a few key factors to consider while comparing your options.​

Wheels vs Rims

There is some confusion in the automotive aftermarket world on what a rim actually is. Many automotive enthusiasts use the term rim interchangeably with wheel. However, there is a difference between a rim and a wheel and it’s important to understand the difference while shopping for new wheels to avoid any mistakes in your purchase. Understanding the difference between a wheel and a rim, how they factor into a single piece vs multi-piece wheels, and the best way to match rims with your tires is an important first step in a successful wheel upgrade.

What is a Rim?

A rim is the outer edge of a wheel which holds the tire in place allowing it to rotate with the remaining hub and spokes of the wheel. The rim is connected to the wheel hub assembly by the spokes of the wheel. Although many car and truck enthusiasts call the entire wheel assembly a rim as a catchall phrase, the rim is technically only the outer edge component of the wheel.

Single-Piece vs Multi-Piece

Wheels are available in single-piece and multi-piece designs. Multi-piece wheels are manufactured as separate pieces, such as the rim, spokes, and hub, and assembled into a single wheel. Single piece wheel designs are manufactured by casting the rim, hub, and spokes together. While single piece wheels tend to cost less than their multi-piece counterparts, they require a complete wheel replacement if any damage occurs. In contracts, multi-piece wheels can be repaired by just replacing one of the components that make up the wheel.

Matching Rims with Tires

The best way to purchase new rims is to match them with a new set of performance tires that will compliment your new wheels. If you’re changing your wheel size, like upgrading to a 22” rim from a 19” rim, a wheel and tire package is your best approach. Yovehicle’sles wheel diameter and width must match the inside rim of the tire. If you’re not planning on upgrading your tires, be sure to match your new wheels within your existing tire dimensions.

Wheel & Tire Size

Most car enthusiasts are looking to upgrade their wheels while retaining the same overall diameter the of the wheel to prevent any rubbing or suspension issues. This is accomplished by fitting your larger wheels to a tire with shorter sidewalls. A small sidewall tire on a large wheel is a look many enthusiasts prefer, however, keep in mind that a shorter sidewall will impact your vehicle’s ride. Shorter sidewalls equate to less shock absorption when driving over cracks and bumps in the road.

When it comes to choosing a wheel size, bigger isn’t always better. There is a trend in the aftermarket world to always go bigger, some even take it to the extreme with 26” or bigger wheels. Before you make the decision to go with a larger wheel, there a few things that you need to take into consideration. Larger wheels do look great, but they can have a significant negative impact on your ride quality and car’s performance. Larger wheels mean less shock absorption in the tire so be prepared to feel bumps and speed humps. Additionally, and more importantly to anyone the is concerned with vehicle performance, larger wheels result in higher un-sprung weight. Un-sprung weight is a serious detriment to the performance of your vehicle as it causes the motor and suspension system to work harder to rotate the wheels and tires. The result is reduced performance, lower gas mileage, and increased wear on the suspension components.

Choosing wider wheels has its benefits if your wheel well is larger enough to accommodate the increased diameter. Wider wheels will allow you to use wider tires which offer your vehicle more rubber on the road for better traction. Think of drag racers and their huge tires at the back, more rubber on the road will help you transfer more power to the road surface. There are several ways to accommodate wider wheels including suspension modifications however, be sure to factor in the size of your wheel well before making and wheel and tire purchasing decisions.

Plus Sizing Wheels & Tires

Increasing the size of your wheel and rim’s diameter and width in addition to adding a tire with a shorter sidewall is referred to as plus sizing. Here is a table that illustrates an example of plus sizing which will result in more noticeable wheels while enhancing performance.

Plus SizeWheel DiameterWheel Width
Plus One17"7.5"
Plus Two18"8"
Plus Three 19"9"

Measuring Backspacing

Backspacing size is a critical measurement that you’ll need to know when selecting new wheels. Wheel backspacing is measured from the back edge of the wheel to the mounting surface in the middle. It’s essentially the distance between the mounting hub and the outer edge of the wheel. Backspacing size will vary depending on your offset. When there is no offset, the mounting surface of the hub will be even with the centerline of the wheel. Positive offset refers to when the mounting surface is closer to the front of the wheel. Negative offset, by contrast, is when the mounting surface is closer to the back of the wheel.​

Understanding Maximum Load

All wheels have a maximum weight load they can handle. It’s critically important to ensure your new wheels are rated to handle the load of your car, truck, or SUV. In order to determine the exact weight load of your tire, multiply the max-weight that is advertised by the manufacturer by four to get the total weight handling of your wheels. For example, if each of your wheel’s load rating is 3,500 lbs, the total load rating for your vehicle would by 14,000 lbs.

Determining Bolt Pattern Measurements

Wheel bolt patterns are determined by two things, the number of bolt holes on the wheel and the distance between each bolt. For example, a bolt pattern of 6 x 5.5 equates to a wheel with six holes which are 5.5” apart from each other. The measurement is made across the center of the wheel with the exception of a 5-lug pattern where the measurement is made from the back of the lug hole to the center of the lug hole on the opposite side.