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How to Measure Wheel Size and Fitment

Whether you've had your car for years or recently driven off the lot, you may still be riding on stock wheels. These wheels are specifically for your vehicle, matching its suspension, gearing and structure. But what if you want to explore larger wheels, different tires or a fresh set of rims? Whether you're looking for enhanced performance or want to revamp your vehicle's look, understanding how to measure car wheels will help you make the right choices. Let's look at how you can ensure the perfect fit. 

What Do You Need to Measure Wheel Size and Fitment?

When you've decided it's time for a wheel or tire upgrade, you will need to know your wheel size and understand your fitment to guarantee you find a well-fitting replacement. Your wheel fitment is how your wheel or tire will fit within your wheel well or beneath your fenders, helping you make essential decisions on future purchases. Your wheels' and tires' fit depend on various characteristics that play a role in how they sit on your vehicle, how much space they have, how far they protrude and ultimately, how they perform. 

With adequately fitting wheels, you'll ensure they have enough clearance, allowing essential areas like your brake calipers and suspension to function successfully. Measuring your wheels for correct fitment is straightforward to complete with appropriate tools and strategies. You'll need a tape measure, straightedge and a yardstick to get started. 

How to Read Your Tires

Tire sizes can often be confusing. Each tire consists of varying characteristics that make them suitable for various applications. When you're looking to upgrade your tires to a different style or meet your evolving performance needs, it's critical to understand these characteristics to find a perfectly fitting tire. If you're wondering how to find your rim size, you can start by looking at your owner's manual to discover the manufacturer's recommended sizing measurements.

Another place for vital information to start your buying process is the numbers on the sides of your current tires. There, you'll find the tire type, tire width, aspect ratio, construction type, wheel diameter, load index and speed ratings. This information will help you understand what fits your vehicle, giving you an excellent starting point to make educated decisions to find a wheel that functions well. 

How to Measure the Width of a Truck Wheel

Looking at your wheel from the top down as if it's ready to roll, your true wheel width is the distance between the inner wheel edges. You can easily measure this with the help of your measuring tape or straightedge. This area is where the tire sits, and differs from your overall wheel width. Every tire has its width, signifying what wheels are compatible and which aren't. Width directly impacts how your vehicle functions and performs in various situations. 

Matching your tire and wheel width ultimately depends on your use. Larger tires and narrower wheels are often ideal for off-roading, as this combination allows for a sidewall bulge. This bulge creates a smoother ride using lower psi and increased protection against rocks and other debris. On the other hand, increasing your wheel width without changing your tires will tighten the sidewall, providing faster steering and less impact adsorption. 

How to Measure the Diameter of a Car Wheel

All you'll need when looking to measure your car wheels' diameter is a measuring tape or yardstick. Taking this measurement could be a little confusing since your wheel has an overall and actual diameter. You should pay more attention to the latter, which you can find by measuring from one bead seat to the next. You can also find this number as the fifth set of letters and numbers on your tire's sidewall. Diameter sizes typically vary, as regular road cars vary from 14 to 19 inches, which can extend up to 24 inches for more luxury or specialized vehicles. If you add larger wheels to your car or truck, you'll need new tires to match. They'll likely need a reduced sidewall to preserve a suitable clearance as they move over bumps and potholes. A good rule of thumb is if you increase the wheel diameter by an inch, you should decrease the tires' height by one inch to keep the overall diameter constant, avoiding any risk of damage to the suspension, wheels or tires. 

How to Measure Backspacing and Offset

Backspacing is the distance between the inside lip of the wheel and the mounting surface. You can determine this by placing your wheel face down, putting your straightedge across and measuring from the wheel's mounting hub to the bottom of the straightedge. You can also use this measurement to determine your offset by dividing backspacing by your centerline measurement, which you can also find by dividing the wheel in half. 

A wheel's offset is how inward or outward the mounting surface is relative to its centerline. This measurement determines where your wheel sits, how the suspension reacts, its track width and how your truck or car looks. You can use your measuring tape or straightedge to measure the difference. Depending on where your mounting hub is, you will have a negative, positive or zero offset

How to Measure Bolt Patterns

The bolt pattern is a significant determining factor in the wheels and tires you can use on your vehicle. Most come with four-, five-, six- or eight-lug patterns, ultimately narrowing your selection pool. It's essential to understand how many bolts you have and the distance between them. These wheel stud holes have intentional spacing, enabling you to safely secure wheels and tires to your truck or car. 

If you want to measure the distance between the bolts on your vehicle, follow these steps using your tape measure. 

  • Four-lug pattern: Measure from the center of one wheel stud hole to the other, using two holes directly across from each other. 
  • Five-lug pattern: Measure from the middle of one bolt hole to the back end of another across from it. 
  • Six- and eight-lug pattern: Measure from the center of one hole to the center of the opposite wheel stud hole. 

Contact OE Wheels LLC for New Wheels Today

New wheels and tires are significant investments that will affect your vehicle's aesthetics and performance. When you've decided it's time for an upgrade, you can count on OE Wheels LLC to provide you with durable and reliable replacements. We have more than 20 years of industry experience, growing to become North America's foremost manufacturer and distributor. 

Search through our catalog of more than 80,000 wheels and find the one that matches your vehicle's fitment today. You can also reach out to our professionals with any of your questions or concerns.