Eyeing Some New Wheels – But Does The Bolt Pattern Fit?
You’ve scrimped and saved for months, shopped countless websites to find the perfect set of wheels that will look fabulous on your vehicle to give it character and the time has finally come for you to get that set of new wheels for your truck or Jeep.
They’ve got the look you want, the right width for your bigger tires, and the right backspacing.
You hit that payment button, then wait (im)patiently for the shipment to show up at your house so you can drive right on down to your local tire shop to have them put on.
And then it happens: the tire tech tells you that you can’t use those wheels on your truck because of something about the bolt pattern.
Your heart sinks and all that excitement from a few minutes ago dies down to disappointment. You are thinking, “Does the bolt pattern matter?”
Yeah, there may be ways to make them fit using wheel adapters, but that’s not really ideal like a proper fit.
If this scenario seems all too familiar or you want to avoid the possibility of it happening to you, read on to learn about different bolt patterns and how to make sure the rims fit the bolt pattern for your vehicle!
What Is the Bolt Pattern?
Bolt pattern is the number of lug bolts that stick out from your vehicle’s axle; five lug bolts is the most popular pattern, six is also common, and heavy duty vehicles usually have eight.
Knowing your bolt pattern is simple enough and one essential detail you need for buying new wheels for your truck or Jeep; however, there’s one more critical detail you have to know to ensure those wheels actually fit and that’s bolt circle diameter.
What Is the Bolt Circle?
The bolt circle on your vehicle is the diameter from one side of the bolts to the other, right across the middle of the wheel.
Not all wheels have the same bolt circle diameter, which is why many wheel manufacturers offer their wheels in a few different bolt circle sizes.
Even if your bolt pattern is right, the wheels are not going to go on unless the circle is also right, allowing the bolts to slide comfortably through the bolt holes.
How Do the Lugs Work?
On top of the issues of bolt pattern and bolt circle diameter, you’ve also got to consider the thickness of the lug bolts on your truck as they come in multiple thicknesses, especially for lugcentric wheels.
Lugcentric means the vehicle is designed for the lugs to bear the weight of and center the wheels, not the hubs.
For lugcentric wheels, the lug bolts should fit snugly into the bolt holes so the wheel sits perfectly centered by the lugs with no play in the holes.
Since most aftermarket wheels are designed as lugcentric, obtaining the perfect fit for the right lug thickness in the right bolt pattern and circle diameter is essential. So yes, the bolt pattern does matter!
How Do the Lug Nuts Work?
The lug nuts are not spared from the complexity either.
Obviously, they have to fit the width and thread of the lug bolts so they thread on comfortably; however, they also need to match the length of the lug bolts and the seating designed into the wheel.
Seating is the point where the lug bolts screw down and contact the wheel; it can be conical, radius, and flat with conical seating more commonly used on aftermarket wheels.
How to Make Sure Rims Fit the Bolt Pattern for Aftermarket Wheels
In spite of all these details, the good news is that once you figure out your truck or Jeep’s wheel specifics, you just need to find a set that matches them.
First and foremost, look for the lug bolt number and bolt circle diameter, usually written as 5 on 5.5,” 8 on 6.5,” and others.
Once you find a wheel that’s available in the right pattern and diameter, look for the one with lug holes that match the width of your lug nuts, usually ½,” 9/16,” and more.
Lastly, buy a set of lug nuts that’s the perfect width and length for your vehicle’s lug bolts with seating that matches your chosen wheels, and you’ll be set to go.
Got all that? Then happy wheel shopping!