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> How to Shop for Wheels and Tires

How to Shop for Wheels and Tires

Shop for for Wheels & Rims
Pick up the best Wheels & Rims for your car, truck or SUV.

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Published 9/29/17

Shopping for wheels and tires can seem daunting, but a little information goes a long way toward helping you choose the best way to roll.

Basic Terms

First off, let’s define some basic terms every wheel and tire shopper should be familiar with.
Image of a Fuel Avenger wheel in black
Wheels with deep offsets often require the installation of a lift kit for proper clearance.

Wheel Centerline: An imaginary line halfway through a wheel’s width. For instance, if your wheel is 8 inches wide, the centerline would be at the 4-inch mark.
Mounting Plate: The inward-facing portion of your wheel that makes contact with the vehicle at its mounting point.
Backspacing: The distance between your mounting plate and the rearmost portion of the wheel. Don’t assume this measurement is half the width of the wheel: many mounting plates are positioned fore or aft of the centerline. Usually expressed in inches.
Offset: The position of your mounting plate relative to the centerline. It can be zero (mounting plate is right in the middle), positive (positioned closer to the outside edge of the wheel), or negative (positioned closer to the inside edge of the wheel). Usually expressed in millimeters.
Diameter: The diameter of a wheel is measured from just below its outer rim. Usually expressed in inches.
Bolt Pattern: This is a combination of the diameter of your bolt circle and the number of bolts it is drilled out for. For example, a 5.5-inch circle with 6 holes drilled for lugnuts would be described as a 6x5.5-inch bolt pattern.
Image of a Nitto Terra Grappler tire
All terrain (A/T) tires, as the name suggests, are appropriate for both on and off-road use.

A/T: Short for all-terrain, A/T tires are engineered to provide a balance of highway and off-road use.
M/T: Mud terrain (M/T) tires are engineered to provide exceptional off-road performance at the expense of being relatively loud on pavement.

For greater detail on these terms, check out our guide: How to Choose Wheels and Rims for your Truck.



Choosing the Right Wheel

Image of a Method Roost wheel in bronze
Make sure your wheel choice has the correct bolt pattern to match your truck.
Many customers who are shopping for new wheels want to get the biggest rim with the deepest offset available. We understand: bigger is better, right? However, there are some factors to take into account  before you order a 22x14 with a negative offset deep enough to sit on.

Your vehicle was engineered to accept a wheel with a specific degree of backspacing. On modern trucks this is usually a positive number, and a very high one in some circumstances. Adding a wheel with a deeper offset (and thus less backspacing), can create fitment or ride quality issues. For this reason, stock vehicles should only be equipped with wheels that fall within OE specifications of backspacing and offset. This may have a limiting factor on available diameters since many wheels past the 20-inch mark have deep offsets.

In order to fit larger wheels with deeper offsets, a lift kit will often need to be installed. The additional clearance and altered suspension angles created by these kits will give
Image of an XD 825 Buck wheel
Two piece wheels tend to be large in diameter, requiring modified suspensions.
you the freedom to equip your truck with the biggest, deepest rims available.

In addition to getting the proper backspacing and offset, it is vital that you choose a wheel with the correct bolt pattern. If the bolt pattern is incorrect, the wheel won’t install onto your hub at all. Thankfully, looking your vehicle up by year, make, and model on the site will usually limit your wheel selection to items with the correct bolt pattern, making this one of the easiest wheel parameters to ascertain.


Image of a Nitto Dura Grappler tire
Make sure your choice of tire is intended for the terrain your truck most frequently encounters.

Choosing the Right Tire

Two key factors should be taken into consideration when choosing a tire: the terrain your truck will encounter, and your vehicle’s maximum tire size.

Terrain: For trucks that won’t see off-road use, highway tires will be ideal for their quiet operation and high-mileage. Weekend warriors that go from the street to the pavement will benefit from an A/T tire such as the Nitto Terra Grappler G2. Off-road only? Go with an M/T such as the Mud Grappler for maximum grip on muddy and rock-strewn paths.
Maximum Size: The same factors that impact wheel choice for stock vehicles also affect what tire size your truck can handle. If your truck is in its stock configuration, do not exceed the maximum prescribed tire size from the manufacturer or you run the risk of losing full range of steering. Lift kits and leveling kits enable your truck to run much larger tires, so if you want to stuff a 35-inch tire under that new F-150 or Silverado, make sure you upgrade your suspension first.
Image of a Nitto Mud Grappler tire
Large tires make for an aggressive look, but require proper clearance to provide optimum performance.

If you have questions about your truck’s stock wheel and tire dimensions, or you want to upgrade your suspension for bigger wheels and tires, our team of experts is standing by to make sure you get the right wheel and tire package for your ride. Call us today at 877-216-5446.