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Alloy Wheels

Alloy Wheels

For most alloy wheels customers the wheel style is quite rightly the most important consideration when purchasing a set of alloy wheels for their car.  Of course as well as looking good the wheel and tyre combination is also one of the most significant safety items on the car and the correct wheel and tyre package must be fitted.  In this technical section we have tried to keep it simple as most people are looking for correct information rather than a science lecture.  So here we go, try to keep up I’ll be asking questions at the end.


A typical alloy wheel could have the following dimensions 7x17 4/100 ET40 60mm


7 is the rim width, measured across the inside of the wheel well

17 is the rim diameter, the measurment inside the lip of the wheel

                                                                                                                                                    
                                                                          

4 or 4 stud in our example is the number of nut holes or bolt holes.   Most modern cars use 4 or 5 stud wheels.  Some 4x4 alloy wheels are fixed using 5 or 6 stud alloy wheels.  One exception is older Citroen and Peugeot models which used a 3 stud alloy wheel.  The smart car range has also utilised 3 stud fixing alloy wheels.


100 is the PCD or pitch circle diameter
The PCD is simpley an imaginary circular line that passes through the centre of the nut or bolt hole on the alloy wheel.  It is critical that the correct PCD for each car model is used, failure to do this can result in the wheels working loose or in the worst case leaving the vehicle.  For 4 stud alloy wheels it is quite simple to find the PCD by measuring across the stud holes centre to centre.  3 stud, 5 stud and 6 stud alloy wheels are a little more difficult as you have to draw a line through the centre of each stud hole to determine the PCD. 

ET40 is the offset, this determines in simple terms how far the wheel sticks in or out on the car.  It sounds easy enough but to get the most from your cars handling the correct offset must be used.  Incorrect offset can lead to uneven tyre wear, tramlining and wheel and tyre packges catching the bodywork and causing damage to both the tyres and the wheel arches.  To measure the offset of an alloy wheel we need to imagine a centre line across the width of our wheel.  The bolt up face is the flat part of the wheel that bolts to the hub on the car.  With the wheel upside down place a flat edge across the top of the upturned wheel then measure from your flat edge to the bolt up face. For example the measurment is 120mm.  Now measure the wheels width so for example 160mm.  Subtract the first figure from the rim width to give you a figure of 40mm.  Because this figure is a positive number ie not a minus number we say the offset is positive so we have a positive 40mm offset expressed as ET40. If our first figure we measured to the bolt up facewas 170mm we would again subtract this from the rim width 160mm to give a figure of -10mm because this number is negative we say the offset is negative.  Negative offset wheels are usually found on 4x4 alloy wheels and cars whose wheels typically have a deep dish look from the front.

60mm is the centre bore, this is the centre hole of the wheel under the centre cap and is where the alloy wheel sits onto the cars wheel hub.  Along with the wheel bolts or wheel nuts the wheel hub locates the wheel centrally onto the car.  Central wheel location is important for wheel balance.  Most wheel manufacturers of after market alloy wheels use a system of plastic or metal spigot rings to locate the wheel on the car.  This allows them to use one raw wheel casting to suit many cars.  For example a Rover, a Mazda and a VW may share the same offset and PCD wheels but have different centre bores, 54mm for the Mazda, 56mm for the Rover and 57mm for the VW.  By manufacturing their wheels with a large hole to accept a spigot ring with an outer diameter of 73mm they can use spigot rings 73mm outside diameter and 57.1mm internal diameter for the VW,  73mm outside diameter and 56.1mm internal diameter for the Rover and so on.  The .1mm clearance is needed so the ring is a shuffle fit onto the hub if it was exactly the same size it would not go over the hub.

4x4 Alloy Wheels

Our 4x4 alloy wheels are available for most popular off-road vehicles.  Traditionally a 4x4 alloy wheel and tyre package differed from car alloys by having deep dish styles.  This was not a styling design; it was due to the negative offset of the wheel.  Recent trends for offroad vehicles to be more lifestyle oriented have changed the emphasis to on road performance rather than off road performance.  To produce acceptable ride quality and handling characteristics closer to saloon cars many manufacturers have chosen to use monocoque body construction instead of traditional separate ladder chassis and body combinations.  This has resulted in the use of positive offset wheels which look more like the car alloys.

Sizes have risen from 15” to 16” to an outrageous ultra large 32” with 20” and 22” being popular conversion sizes for Range Rover, BMW X5, Mercedes M class, Audi Q7, these are available from Xtreme and AEZ.  In the past the commercial pick up was just that and was used by small businesses to transport goods.  Today’s pick ups such as Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Isuzu Rodeo VW Amarok and Mitsubishi L200 are often specified with leather seats and air con and sat nav.  It is there fore a given that wheel and tyre package conversions will be considered by the owners of these modern pick ups who are style conscious.

As Engine power offered in these vehicles has risen 4x4 tyres have also under gone a revolution.  High performance high load rating 4x4 tyres are now readily available.  When choosing 4x4 alloys its important to consider which is most important to you, the looks or the ride quality.  As a rule the larger a diameter package you choose will determine the ride quality.  The other consideration for ride quality is tyre choice.  4x4 tyres performance can be aimed at producing ride quality and good on road manners or patterns which allow the vehicle to be driven off road effectively.  We can offer advice as to which way you should go depending on the vehicle and your requirements for a 4x4 wheel and tyre package, please view our Alloy wheels guide for more information.

We supply many of the worlds best know alloy wheel brands including AEZ alloy wheels, Dotz alloy wheels and League alloy wheels.  The range we supply includes Car alloy wheels, Van alloy wheels and 4x4 alloy wheels.  If you want to replicate an original equipment style we offer our Replica alloy wheels for the likes of Audi and VW.  For those on a modest budget or just looking for excellent value for money we have cheap alloy wheels to suit most customers.  For older Peugeot 106 and Citroen Saxo models with 3 stud hubs we can offer a range of 3 stud alloy wheels.


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