The driving factor for most people when it comes to buying new rims is how they look. We get it, that is an important factor. Before you fall in love with a set of rims, we think it’s important to talk about the factors you might not be considering. Things like width, load ratings, and offsets are considerations you’ll need to pay attention to. Given we deal with rims all day long at A’s Legitimate New and Used Tire in Indianapolis, we thought we would give you some pointers when hunting and purchasing your wheels.
Let’s Talk Diameter
Chances are you’re considering a wide diameter wheel, as they are on the top of the trend lists. You will likely see the most options in the 17″ diameter size, which will fit most brake packings. A good rule of thumb is to choose the right sized tire for this wheel which is less than half the diameter. So for a 17-inch wheel, that means a tire with a max size of 35 inches.
Let’s Talk Width
Good tire width is one that stays on your rims when it’s low on pressure. The wheel manufacture will likely offer recommendations as to the best size tire to get. This suggestion is usually 2-3 inches narrowers than the tire you opt for. Keep in mind the more narrow your tire the faster the crown will wear, but this is a tradeoff that many will sacrifice.
Let’s Talk Offset
Offset is the centerline of the wheel and how it relates to the rim’s mounting surface. Think of the starting point as zero. An offset of zero will place half the tire on each side of the mounting surface. For a narrow track, you’d place the wheel in a positive offset, which is closer to the rim’s outside edge. As you might guess, a negative offset would result in the opposite effect.
Let’s Talk Backspacing
This spec is based on the wheel width. Similar to offset but is the distance from the mounting surface to the inside edge of the rim. Deep backspace is equal to that of positive offset, whereas backspacing is like a negative offset.
Let’s Talk Bolt Pattern
So when looking at your bolt pattern, the first number is the number of lug nuts, and the second number is the bolt circle diameter number in inches. Just know that your bolt patterns must match your axels, and if it doesn’t, you’ll need to get a conversion kit.
Let’s Talk Load Rating
Did you realize that your wheels have a load rating like your tires? When you take the bolt pattern and wheel construction into account, you get a load rating. In general, a steel wheel will have a lower load rating then aluminum cast wheels. Forges wheels actually have the highest load rating in the rim market. The larger the bolt pattern, chances are, the higher the load rating for your rim.
Let’s Talk Center Bore
The rim bore is the hole in the center of the wheel, and it’s significance to the wheel structure. If you have a large bolt pattern, your bore-hole is likely to be bigger too. This is important when trying to fit over-locking hubs and floating axels. Lug rims use lug nuts to center the wheel, whereas full-floating hub rims, the bore-hole is centric for centering.
Let’s Talk Bead Seat
The tire air pressure is what keeps the bead seat on your wheels. You can have a lower tire pressure if you have a taller and wider bead seat. You’ll want this to be kept clean and free of debris as that will directly impact how your tires will seal. The beat seat is an energy transfer point for the wheel. If there is a disruption in the bead seat, you’ll get a vibration from the rim or tire that will impact the suspension. This might materialize as shaking in the wheel at certain speeds.
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