Making the switch from stock 4×4 wheels to aftermarket alloy wheels can seem like a great idea, if a bit daunting. Here, we’ll try to take away some of the confusion and difficulty of shopping for new wheels. Read on to learn how to buy the right set of wheels for your 4WD.
Selecting the Right Size of Wheels and Tyres
When many people upgrade to alloy wheels, they go bigger—but there are other things to consider when upsizing. While large alloy wheels look stylish, they can adversely affect ride quality; they’re usually more expensive than smaller wheels, and tyres are more costly as well. Conversely, wider wheel and tyre packages offer better traction, which is all-important on a 4WD.
When choosing 4×4 wheels, do so with a focus on the maximum tyre size you’d like to use. While this may leave you with limited options, it can help you find the right size wheel for your vehicle. You may find that a one-inch smaller wheel diameter gives you numerous tyre options; after all, it doesn’t make sense to buy a sharp new set of wheels if you can’t find tyres to fit them!
Finding and Measuring Bolt Pattern
To find a wheel’s bolt pattern, you’ll need two numbers: the number of bolt holes on a wheel, and the distance between each bolt. For instance, a bolt pattern of 6×5.6 means that a wheel has six holes that are 5.5″ apart when measured across the wheel center. For five-lug wheels, measurements are made from the lug hole back on one side to the center of the lug hole directly opposite.
Hub-Centric, Lug-Centric & Centre Bore
When buying new 4×4 wheels, you’ll need to note the centre bore size, and you’ll need to determine if your wheels are lug- or hub-centric. To find the centre bore, measure the hole directly above the mounting hub’s surface. If the centre bore and mounting hub are the same size, the wheel is said to be hub-centric. If the measurements differ, the wheels are considered lug-centric.
Knowing the size of your 4WD’s backspacing is an important part of selecting alloy wheels. Backspacing is measured from the centre of the mounting surface to the wheel’s back edge; size varies depending on offset. A zero-offset wheel has a mounting surface even with the centre line of the wheel. A wheel with positive offset has a mounting surface that’s closer to the wheel front, while one with negative offset has a mounting surface closer to the wheel back. Wheel backspacing is measured by the inch—purchase wheels with the correct backspacing to ensure proper fit.
All 4×4 wheels sold in Australia come with a maximum load rating, which can be confusing to a first-time buyer. The load rating is per tyre, and to get the total load, multiply that number by four. For instance, if a wheel has a 3500 lb. load rating, the total for the vehicle would be 14,000 lbs.
Getting the Right Wheels for a Lift Kit
If a 4WD has a lift kit, you’ll need a little more info when selecting alloy wheels. Contact the maker of your 4WD lift kits to determine which wheels will work. Once you’ve done that and you have the right measurements, all that’s left to do is to pick out the perfect set of wheels for your off-road vehicle.