How to Know What Rims Will Fit Your Car

by William ZaneUpdated July 19, 2023
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Thanks to the popularity of installing larger and or different wheels on cars and trucks there is a huge array of wheel styles and sizes to choose from. And along with the vast array of options comes the potential for confusion about which wheel will fit on a given vehicle. There are a number of different criteria that need to be taken into account when selecting wheels for your vehicle.

1. Determine your bolt pattern

Determine your bolt pattern. The first step in ensuring that a particular wheel will fit on your car is to find the bolt pattern of the hub. For example, a common VW bolt pattern is 4x100, which means that there are four lug holes and the holes are 100-mm across from the opposing hole. To determine the bolt pattern, count the number of lug nuts and then measure the distance between opposing lug nuts with your tape measure.

2. Use you tape measure to find out what the stock dimensions of your wheels are

Use you tape measure to find out what the stock dimensions of your wheels are. Wheel dimensions are measured in diameter (15,16-17-inches, etc.) and width (6,7, 8-inches). Replacement wheels that are the same size as stock should go on without a problem. You can fit larger diameter and wider wheels, but you may run into clearance issues. If you are fitting larger diameter wheels you will have to install lower profile tires to keep the outer dimensions of the wheel and tire package the same. Likewise, if you use a wider wheel, you may have to install wider tires.

3. Determine the offset of your original wheels

Determine the offset of your original wheels. A wheel’s offset refers to where a wheel sits in relation to the hub. Offset is determined by where the wheel mounting pad is located in relation to the centerline of the wheel. A negative offset wheel’s mounting pad is on the outside (away from the vehicle) of the centerline and is commonly used on rear-wheel drive vehicles. A positive offset wheel’s mounting pad is towards the inside of the centerline of the wheel and locates the wheel closer to the body. If you use wheels with the incorrect offset, a couple of different problems can occur. If the wheels stick out too far from the bodywork, the tires may rub on the edge of the wheel openings. If the wheels are located too close to the suspension and brakes, there may be interference between the wheels and the suspension and or brake components.

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