Wheel FAQ: What to look for, Bolt Pattern, Offset, Fitment, Construction, Lug Nuts... - Drive Accord Honda Forums | radio-pro.ru
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-28-2013, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Wheel FAQ: What to look for, Bolt Pattern, Offset, Fitment, Construction, Lug Nuts...

Sections:

1. What to look for and Choosing wheels
2. Offset: Will it rub? Will it stick out too much?
3. Wheel Hub, Center Bore, Hub Centric Rings
4. Wheel Construction
5. Lug Nuts




Shopping for wheels is pretty easy. Just go to one of the many sites out there and select your car from the drop down menu. The site will then pull up all the wheels that they sell that fit your car according to their database. But many times the site will leave out wheel options because the wheel offset is too low (i.e. aggressive) and falls outside of their margin of safety.

So what do you do then or if the site (i.e. eBay, craigslist, wheel manufacturer's site) doesn't have a car selection menu or if you're looking for wheels that will fit your lowered car, give you that flush look and not rub?

Hopefully the information here will help cut down on the number of posts asking the same questions over and over.


When shopping for new wheels there are 5 important things you need to know and look for:
  1. wheel and car bolt pattern
  2. wheel center bore size and car hub size
  3. wheel diameter
  4. wheel width
  5. wheel offset


First, you need to know the above specs for your stock/current wheels and car. If you don't know it, the info can be found in the Honda/Acura Wheel Bolt Pattern, Offset, and Bore Guide or the OEM Wheel Guide: Bolt Pattern, Hub Bore, Lug Size.

You can also find the information on the back or barrel of your wheel. Look on the back of the wheel's spoke for something like this:


What the 18x8J 55 is telling you is that the wheel is 18" in diameter, 8" wide, and has a +55 offset.

The J refers to the tire bead or rim contour profile, and is of no importance right now.




If you have aftermarket wheels, the information may also be found on a sticker on the barrel of the wheel, like this:


On the wheel sticker above, you can see that the wheel size is 18x7 1/2 (18" in diameter and 7.5" wide) with a +42 offset. We can also see that it has 5 bolt holes (HOLE 5/5M) and that the PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter) is both 100 and 114.3. What this means is that the bolt pattern is both 5x100 and 5x114.3. In other words, this wheel can fit a car with a 5x100 bolt pattern and a car with a 5x114.3 bolt pattern. Some wheels will only have one bolt pattern while others will have two.

Does it matter if it has one or two bolt patterns? The only thing that matters is that it can bolt onto the car.


Now that you have all this information, you want to compare it to the specs of the wheels you're considering.


Bolt Pattern/Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD):
You want to make sure the bolt pattern is the same as your car. This is the most important thing to look for because if it's not the same bolt pattern, then it won't fit your car. Not the same? Cross it off your list.

If you really want the wheels, but they're not the same bolt pattern as the car, there are several options available to possibly make them fit:
  • Convert the car bolt pattern to match that of the wheels. (most expensive option)
  • Change the bolt pattern of the wheel by filling the bolt holes and then redrilling them to match that of the car (not really recommended)
  • Buy


    that will, for example, convert your car from 5x114.3 to 5x120
  • Use variation / wobble lug nuts.
    Variation / wobble lug nuts allow for approx. a 1.2 mm radius variation. This will allow you to run a 5x112 wheel on a 5x114.3 car, a 5x114.3 wheel on a 5x115 car, or a 5x108 wheel on a 5x110 car (least expensive option)

    Variation / wobble lug nuts can be purchased or .

Center Bore Size:
The second most important thing to look for is the wheel bore size. You want the wheel bore size to be the same size as or larger than your car's hub size. If it's smaller than the car's hub size, it won't mount correctly. If the wheels center bore is smaller than the car's hub size, you could have a wheel or machine shop enlarge the bore size. If you go this route, make sure the shop knows what they're doing. The other option (not recommended) is to run non-hubcentric spacers that are thick enough to cover up the wheel hub.

While there may be some aftermarket wheels that only come in one specific bolt pattern and/or bore size because it is being made specifically for a certain car make/model, the majority of aftermarket wheels will have what's referred to as a "universal" bore which means that it is large enough to fit over the hub of most cars.

You'll often see aftermarket wheels with a bore size of 72.6mm (i.e. Enkei), 74.1mm (i.e. Volk, Work), 75mm (i.e. Enkei), etc. These are considered "universal" since most cars have a hub that's smaller.

Most newer Hondas/Acuras have a 64.1mm hub size. If the bore size is smaller than the hub of your car, cross it off your list unless you want to enlarge the bore to make it fit (not recommended).

If the bore size is larger than the hub of your car, you'll want some hub centric rings to fill the gap between the hub and wheel and aid in centering the wheel when it's being mounted on the car. An uncentered wheel may result in vibrations.

(see post #3 below for basic explanation of what a hub, bore, and hub centric rings are)

Diameter:
Next is the wheel's diameter. This is a pretty basic concept to understand. It's how big the wheel is in inches when measured from one point to another point on the opposite side while passing through the center of the wheel. Pick a size you like or want.

When measuring the diameter, it does not include the rim flange.


Width:
Once you've decided on a wheel and diameter, you want to see what widths and offsets it comes in.

The width is how wide the wheel is and it is measured from beat seat to beat seat.



Offset:
Offset can be a little trickier to understand if you've never heard of it before.

A wheels offset is the distance in millimeters (mm) between the mounting surface of the wheel and the center line (middle) of the wheel.


If a wheel has a +55 offset, it means that the mounting surface is 55mm away from the center line of the wheel.

In case you didn't know, 25.4mm = 1 inch


Going off the picture below, if the wheel's mounting surface is to the right of the center line, it has a positive offset. If the wheel mounting surface is to the left of the center line, it has a negative offset.

The more to the right the mounting surface is relative to the center line, the higher the positive offset. The closer it is to the center line, the lower the positive offset.



The picture below shows what a wheel with positive offset, zero offset, and negative offset would look like.



What does that all mean? In simple words, the higher the positive offset, the more sunken in the wheel will look in relation to the outside edge of the fender. The lower the offset, the more the wheel will stick out.

A wheel with a really low positive or even a negative offset will look something like this when mounted on a car:



Sometimes you might come across a wheel or site that doesn't list the offset number. Rather, it's listed as HPO or MPO or LPO.

What does that mean?

LPO: Low Positive Offset. Offsets in the range of 0 to +20 are usually considered low.

MPO: Medium Positive Offset. Offsets are considered in the medium range if they're between +20 and +35

HPO: High Positive Offset. A wheel with a HPO is a wheel with an offset that's greater than +35

Most front wheel drive (FWD) cars run a wheel with a high positive offset.


It's also possible to change the wheel offset by adding wheel spacers. Adding a wheel spacer will lower the offset and push the wheel out. For example, if you have a wheel with a +55 offset and you add a 20mm spacer, the offset will now be +35 (55mm - 20mm = 35mm).

If you like your stock/current wheels, but also want that flush look, you can achieve that by adding spacers. This is much cheaper than buying new wheels.

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post #2 of 5 Old 08-28-2013, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Will it rub? Will it stick out too much?

Will it rub? Will it stick out too much?
So you've found a set of wheels with the correct bolt pattern and bore size, and it has a diameter and width that you like. Now you're probably wondering about fitment and whether or not it'll rub, if you'll need to roll or pull your fenders, etc. This is where offset (and width) comes in.

First of all, are you lowered or not? If you're not lowered then you do not have to worry about rolling or pulling your fenders since a stock Accord will generally have enough fender-to-wheel clearance even with a low(er) offset wheel.

If you're not lowered yet, but you plan to be, how much will it be lowered? This is imporant to think about because your ride height can affect fitment and determine whether or not you'll rub. This is a reason why it's best to get your suspension done first before getting new wheels, so you can see how your ride height will affect the wheels fitment.


Figuring out how the new wheels will sit and what the fender clearance will be like will require very little work on your part. The first thing you want to do is plug in your stock or current wheel's width and offset into one of the many wheel offset calculators followed by those for the new wheels you're considering.

The calculator will tell you how much more or less inner clearance you will have (you don't want to rub the suspension or other components) and how much the new wheels will stick out (or sink in) vs your stock/current wheels.

If you cannot visualize the changes in your head and you want to see it, grab a ruler and measure how much more (or less) the new wheel will stick out vs your stock/current wheel.


As an example, let's say your stock wheel is 6.5" wide with a +55 offset and the new wheel is 8.5" wide with a +43 offset. According to the wheel offset calculator, the new wheel will give you 13mm less inner clearance and will stick out (or extend) an extra 37mm.


To see what 37mm will look like, take a ruler and place it horizontally against the top lip of your wheel and the edge of your fender as shown in the picture below. Now measure out 37mm.

It may be helpful to use a straight edge and place it vertically at the 37mm mark on the ruler.


If done properly, it should look something like this:

<-- insert image here -->


Doing this allows you to see how much fender-to-wheel (and fender-to-tire) gap there is and if there will be any rubbing.

The fender-to-wheel gap for a 6.5" wide and +55 offset wheel might look something like this:


While the fender-to-wheel gap for a 8.5" wide and +43 offset wheel might look something like this:



If the offset is too low and it looks like it will rub the fender, see if the wheel comes in a higher offset, or just roll/pull the fender to make them fit. You can also add more negative camber to increase clearance and reduce rubbing.

If the wheel isn't flush enough, see if the wheel comes in a lower offset, or add spacers to get that perfect fitment.


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post #3 of 5 Old 08-28-2013, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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What is a hub? What is a bore? What are hub centric rings?

What is a hub? What is a bore? What are hub centric rings?
The hub is the mounting hub of a car that helps to center a wheel when it's being mounting.

The center bore of a wheel is the machined opening on the back of the wheel that centers the wheel properly on the hub of a vehicle.


Most newer Hondas and Acuras have a hub size that's 64.1mm as illustrated below.


If, for example, the wheels you are looking at has a 66.1mm wheel bore size (back of wheel)


then you'll want a set of hub centric rings to fill the 2.0mm gap (66.1mm - 64.1mm = 2.0 mm)


The hub centric rings will need to have an outer diameter of 66.1mm (to fit snugly inside the wheel center bore) and an inner diameter of 64.1mm (to fit snugly over the cars hub).


The purpose of hub centric rings are to establish the center point for the wheel to the mounting hub. If the wheel isn't centered when mounting, then you may experience wheel vibrations while driving at certain speeds. The hub centric rings can also prevent damage to the wheel and hub from the vibrations.


If, on the other hand, the center bore size of the wheel you're interested in is smaller than 64.1mm or whatever the hub size is of your car, then the best thing to do to make the wheels fit is to enlarge the center bore.




You can also run non-hubcentric wheels spacers to cover the wheel hub, but that is not really recommended. A non-hubcentric spacer has a center opening which is larger than the lip on the hub.


Left = hubcentric spacer with a lip that replicates the car's hub.
Right = non-hubcentric spacer which doesn't replicate hub

Plastic vs Metal Hub Centric Rings
You will find hub centric rings that are made out of plastic and metal. Which one should you choose? Either will work fine since there's no load on them once the wheel is mounted and the lugs are torqued down. I usually recommend the plastic rings though because (1) they're less expensive, (2) they get the job done, (3) you don't have to worry about rust/corrosion.

The plastic rings are also easier to remove from the wheel without damage if you need to pull them off to put onto another set of wheels. You also don't have to worry about the metal rings fusing itself to the cars hub.

Cost? Plastic hub centric rings usually run about $10-$15. Aluminum rings run about $20+.

Where to buy them? eBay, Discount Tire, TireRack, Amazon, etc. It doesn't really matter as long as you get the right size.


Installation is very simple. To install the hub centric ring, all you have to do is place one into each of the wheel's center bore (shown below) through the back side of the wheel.

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post #4 of 5 Old 08-28-2013, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Construction quality from weakest to strongest:

Gravity Cast
This is the simplest and cheapest way to make an alloy wheel. Molten aluminum is poured into a mold which forms the shape of the wheel and then is allowed to cool. Since gravity is the only force being used to push the aluminum into the mold, the aluminum is not as densely packed as in a low pressure cast wheel. As a result, more metal must be used to create a structurally sound wheel which makes gravity cast wheels thick and heavy.

Allowing molten aluminum to cool and solidify in a gravity cast process can lead to defects such as porosity, which is an inconsistency in the material structure.

Gravity cast wheels are of the lowest quality. They're heavy and more brittle, and if a manufacturer tries to keep the weight of a gravity cast wheel down by using less metal, you'll end up with a wheel that's even more susceptible to damage (cracking, pitting).

Gravity cast is generally used to manufacture wheels with complicated or elaborate designs.

Low Pressure Cast
A low pressure cast wheel is created by either using pressure to force (i.e. inject) molten aluminum into a mold, or draw (i.e. sцck) the molten aluminum into a mold by creating a vacuum, and then allowed it to cool.


The pressure that's applied during the process reduces the porosity of the aluminum and gives the wheel a more dense mechanical property vs a gravity cast wheel. Higher density = greater strength.

Flow Form (Spun Cast) / Rotary Forged
A flow form cast/rotary forged wheel starts out similar to how a cast wheel is created. Molten aluminum is poured or injected into a mold to form the face of the wheel. The cast is then placed into a computer controlled incremental forming machine which spins the initial casting and applies heat and high-pressured steel rollers against the rim area to roll and pull (i.e. shape) the barrel and lip section of the wheel.

The rolling and pulling process creates a thinner and lighter barrel. It also gives the metal a denser molecular structure. The end result is a wheel with a cast face but with a barrel that's structurally stronger and similar to a forged wheel.

Flow form/rotary forged wheels are also lighter than cast wheels.


Forged
A forged wheel is created by first placing a giant billet of aluminum into a forging machine. The forging machine applies heat and intense pressure to the billet, compressing it until a wheel blank is stamped out.


The resulting wheel blank is then placed into a machine which creates the basic line/shape of the outer wheel barrel via flow forming. After the flow forming process is complete, the wheel blank is loaded into a CNC milling machine which finely shapes the inside and outside of the wheel and then cuts the face design.


Due to the forging process, the aluminum is less porous and extremely dense, thus extremely strong. It is also very light. Because the forging process is more time consuming and costly, the price of a forged wheel will be more expensive than a cast or rotary forged wheel.



Wheel Standards/Specifications

JWL
JWL (Japan Light Wheel Alloy) is a compilation of standards defined by the Japanese Government to ensure the vehicle's safety for aluminum road wheels. The main purpose of this test is to check the durability of the wheel. Every wheel put to market must be tested to meet JWL standards before a wheel can be put out to market in Japan. These standards are generally accepted worldwide as acceptable for most road conditions.

VIA Certification
Vehicle Inspection Association (VIA) is a third-party group in Japan which can test and verify whether or not any alloy wheels can meet JWL certification standards.

JAWA Certificate Sticker

The JAWA Quality Certificates: Since 1995, JAWA has introduced the “JAWA Quality Certificate” system to protect and develop consumer confidence in wheel safety and quality. The certificate guarantees that all products qualify to the JWL and JWL-T light alloy disc wheel standards approved by Japanese government.

VIA
A third-party entity called the Vehicle Inspection Association verifies whether a product meets the requirements prescribed by the JWL or JWL-T standard. This association permits a product to bear a VIA mark if it passes rigorous quality and strength verification tests conducted in accordance with the JWL or JWL-T standard.

TUV Certification
Technischer Uberwachungs-Verien (TUV) (Technical Examination Association) in Germany. This is another third-party testing group which began in Germany and now has locations worldwide. The TUV Certification is the highest performance and durability standard any product can hope to meet. To even be considered for testing, all companies must first be ISO 9001:2000.

Since it is rather costly to obtain the both ISO 9001 and the TUV certs, most aftermarket companies have JWL, JAWA, & VIA certs, and will make sure their wheels MEET TUV cert standards, without officially having them.
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Lug Nuts

"What type of lug nuts do I need?"
That depends on if they're going to be used on OEM Honda/Acura wheels, aftermarket wheels, or OEM but not from Honda/Acura wheels.

There are 3 types of seats for lug nuts
  • Ball seat (also called round or spherical)
  • Acorn (also called tapered, cone or conical)
  • Flat (also called mag or flange)

Acorn/Tapered seat vs Mag seat vs Ball seat:


OEM Honda/Acura wheels have a ball seat which means you want ball seat lug nuts.

Most aftermarket wheels and many OEM wheels from other manufacturers such as Nissan and Hyundai use an acorn seat so you'll want lug nuts to match those wheels.

If you have aftermarket wheels, not only do you want lug nuts with a conical/tapered seat but you also want to make sure that they are tuner lug nuts.

Aftermarket wheels typically have lug nut holes that are small in diameter than OEM wheels which means your traditional stock lug nuts could be too big to fit through the opening. Tuner lug nuts are smaller in diameter and are specifically made for aftermarket (i.e. tuner) wheels.


"What size lug nuts do I need?"
For a Honda/Acura, you want a lug nut that's 12 x 1.5 in size.

What do those numbers mean? There are 3 parts to a lug nut.
  • Thread size
  • Thread pitch
  • Seat type

12 refers to the thread size in millimeters (mm). It's basically the diameter of the wheel stud.

1.5 refers to the wheel stud's thread pitch. It's the distance in millimeters between each thread.

Seat type refers to whether it's got a conical, mag, or ball seat.


Since Hondas have 12mm studs with threads that are 1.5mm apart, you want lug nuts that are 12 x 1.5 in size irregardless of the type of wheel you have.


"Will acorn/conical lug nuts work on ball seat wheels?"

Yes and no.

If you have conical lug nuts that you want to use with your OEM Honda ball seat wheels, you want to use an adapter/washer that sits between the conical/tapered lug nut and wheel.

What the washer does is it converts the tapered/concial seat of the lug nut to match the ball seat of the wheel (see picture below).


If you don't use the washer, the lug nut won't properly seat against the wheel when the lug nut is torqed down resulting in a wheel that isn't held tight against the brake rotor/wheel hub. Over time the lug nut could work itself loose.

You will also risk damaging your lug nuts (moderately damaged lug nuts):



Lug Nut Construction: Which to Choose

The most common type of materials used for lug nuts are:
  • Steel/Chromoly
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium


Steel/Chromoly lug nuts don't look as pretty as aluminum or titanium lug nuts, but what they lack in the looks/appearance department they make up for in strength/construction.

Steel is much stronger (i.e. more durable) than aluminum. It has a higher fatigue resistance than aluminum which means that it can withstand many and frequent removals and re-torquing. This is perfect, for example, for people who track their cars and/or swap wheels/tires frequently.

Steel lugs can rust if they're used throughout winter (road salt) and aren't kept clean.

Another perceived con of steel lug nuts, aside from their looks and ability to rust, is the weight. Steel lugs typically weigh 2 to 3 ounces (56.7 to 85 grams) vs the 0.8 to 1.0 ounce (22.7 to 28.3 grams) of aluminum lugs. Some people think the weight savings is important in terms of performance, but it's really not. If you're concerned about unsprung weight, you're better off getting light weight wheels.

20 steel lugs x 2 ounces each = 40 ounces or 2.5 lbs.
20 aluminum lugs x 0.8 ounces each = 16 ounces or 1 lb.

A 1.5 lb savings is not much.



Aluminum lug nuts come in many different colors (anodized), look pretty, and are light weight. Plus, they don't rust.

Manufacturers can use different grades of aluminum to make them. The most commonly used grade is the cheap/soft 6061 aluminum. These are usually the inexpensive aluminum lugs.

If you want aluminum lug nuts that are somewhat more durable, then look for ones that are made out of Dura aluminum (may also be called Duralumin or 2024 aluminum) such as those by Rays and Project Kics, or 7075 forged aluminum. But beware of cheap Made in China knock offs.

The downside to aluminum lugs is their poor fatigue resistance (especially the cheaper 6061 aluminum lugs). If they are frequently removed and put back on, the threads can be prone to stripping and , the chance of cross threading them increases, the exterior can become damaged/chipped, etc.

NOTE: Do NOT use an impact wrench on aluminum lug nuts. They can easily be damaged.




Aside from steel and aluminum, there's also titanium. Titanium lug nuts have properties of both steel lugs (strength and durability) and aluminum lugs (lighter weight), but titanium lugs are very expensive and are also susceptible to like aluminum lugs.











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