Custom Wheel Selection

When choosing a set of custom wheels for your car, truck or SUV remember these five points. (1) You can choose the manufacturer! (2) You can choose the style and/or model! (3) You can choose the finish! (4) You can choose where purchased! and (5) Let the experts choose the size of the custom wheel and tire, the backspacing, negative or positive offset, bolt circle diameter and centerbore.

Your supplier, whether they are local or on the Internet, has the expertise to make the right choice. They have access to manufacturers specifications either by computer programs or printed manuals. However, below are a few technical term and definitions you should be familiar with.

Low Profile Tires – tires that are wider and have shorter but stronger sidewalls.

Plus Sizing – is mounting tires that are wider and have a shorter sidewall on larger diameter custom wheels.

Mounting Surface – refers to the back side of the wheel that touches the disk/drum.

Backspacing – is defined as the measurement from the inside of the rim edge to the wheel mounting surface.

Wheel Centerline – an imaginary line that is equal to both outer rims of a wheel.

Zero offset – means that the wheel centerline and wheel hub mounting surface measurements to both outer rims of a wheel are equal.

Positive Offset – means the mounting surface of the wheel is positioned in front or street side of the true centerline of the wheel.

FWD – Positive offset wheels are generally found on front wheel drive (FWD) vehicles.

Negative Offset – means that the wheel mounting surface is positioned behind the true centerline of the wheel.

RWD – Negative offset wheels are generally found on rear wheel drive (RWD) vehicles.

Deep Dish – another term for negative offset or RWD wheels.

Bolt Pattern – wheels usually have either a 4, 5 or 6 bolt pattern or circle.

Center Bore – The hole in the center of a custom wheel.

Hub Centric – the center hole is precisely sized where it meets the wheel hub and supports the vehicle’s weight.

Lug Centric – the lug nut supports the vehicle’s weight.

Hub rings – are used to center the center bore hole in a wheel to the hub of the drum or disc brake.

Wheel Adapter – changes the bolt pattern of your vehicle’s hub and moves the wheel out. (Not recommended)

The technical terms are many and some are hard to understand. You choose how “cool” your custom wheels look and leave the tech stuff to the experts.

Custom Wheels – Aftermarket Custom Rims

Because they look cool right! The performance benefits of custom wheels should be your answer. In the 1950s and 1960s race car drivers developed lighter magnesium wheels to reduce weight and enhance performance in all form of racing. They were called Mags by the racers, a term still widely used today. However, most magnesium wheels were far to fragile for daily street use. Plus magnesium oxidizes very quickly and require frequent polishing. Magnesium wheels used in modern race cars are often forged to make them stronger and reduce weight. As a result contemporary forged magnesium custom wheels are very expensive. The oxidization problem is the reason you don’t see contemporary custom wheels made of magnesium.

Fortunately for the custom wheel market today manufacturers developed light weight aluminum alloy wheels that provide the strength needed and come in numerous finish options while reducing wheel weight. Trendy wheel finishes include chrome and polished aluminum, plus painted aluminum alloy come in hyper-silver, silver, white, black, gray and Anthracite. While many of us choose aftermarket custom wheels for their good looks, there are many important performance benefits resulting from reducing a wheels weight compared to factory steel wheels.

The additional strength of a custom alloy wheels can notably reduce tire deflection and tire rollover while cornering. You also get increased brake cooling with custom alloy wheels because aluminum alloy is a great conductor of heat. The large mass of the aluminum wheels help dissipate heat from the brakes. The open design of 5 spoke and 6 spoke custom wheels allow more air flow over the brakes cooling them as you drive in city traffic.

One of the most significant factors affecting a car, truck or SUV road holding ability is the reduced weight of custom aluminum alloy wheels over factory steel wheels. By reducing weight, custom wheels provide improved acceleration and braking. You must also be careful not to exceed the design weight of the original wheels and have the reverse effect by adding larger wheels and tires or aluminum alloy wheels that are gravity cast. Gravity cast aluminum alloy custom wheels are cheaper but heavier and prone to bending. Look for aluminum wheels that are either low pressure cast or forged, they cost more but will reduced weight and adds strength.

Keep in mind that sizing up or adding larger wheels and tires will actually add weight. So plus sizing should be done the proper way. By using a larger diameter wheel with a lower profile tire it’s possible to properly maintain the overall original diameter of your wheel and tire. It’s important to keep your new custom wheels within 3 percent of the original equipment. Differences larger than 3 percent can cause problems with transmission shift points which can decrease fuel mileage. It can also confuse braking system computers, reduce ride comfort and cornering capability. Go for wider rather than taller wheel – tire diameters, the results is a larger contact patch and a sportier look.