How to Change a Wheel Bolt Patternby William Zane
The wheel bolt pattern on your car, as the name implies, is the number of wheel studs (or threaded holes for wheel bolts) and the distance that the holes are from each other. For instance, a common bolt pattern for older VWs and Hondas is 4x100, which refers to the fact that there are four bolt holes in the wheel and the holes are 100 mm across from each other. On a 5x108 bolt pattern there are five lug holes 108 mm across from each other. If the bolt pattern of a given wheel does not match the bolt pattern on the car’s hub, the wheel cannot be used on that car. However, you can install an adapter that changes the wheel lug pattern.
Find out if an adapter is available for the bolt pattern that you want to convert your car to. Not every bolt pattern can be converted to just any alternative bolt pattern. Check out a company that sells wheel adapters to see if they have what you need. If you cannot find the adapter you are looking for, you may be able to have the adapters custom made.
Loosen the wheel lugs that hold your wheels on. With a floor jack, lift the vehicle and lower it onto jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and the wheel and set the wheel out of the way.
Place the wheel adapter onto the vehicles hub. Install the supplied bolts that came with the adapter. Tighten the lug nuts to 95 lb/ft with a torque wrench. Make sure that the wheel studs do not stick out past the adapter. The hub mounting surface must be completely flat. If the studs protrude past the adapter, you will have to install shorter studs.
Place the new wheel that you are installing onto the studs on the adapter. Install and tighten the lug nuts to 95 lb/ft with a torque wrench. Lower the vehicle of the jack stand and back to the ground with the floor jack.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- Jack stand
- Tire iron
- Torque wrench
- Wheel adapter
- Installing an adapter to change your lug bolt pattern will cause your wheels to be located further away from the body and may create interference issues with the body work. Also keep in mind that the further away from the suspension the wheel is, the more stress is placed on the hub and the suspension.
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.