QUICK GUIDE TO 4WD RIMS
It’s easy to lose your way in a conversation about rims. I get bored of hearing strings of numbers and letters and easily lose track of where the conversation is going. Here is a quick guide to give you all the info on rims, so you can decipher exactly what those 4WD enthusiasts are talking about next time they talk about their 4WD wheels.
TYPES OF RIMS
There are two types of 4WD rims to choose from, alloy rims and steel rims. The most popular of the two designs are alloy rims. Because of their lighter weight, there is less resistance in the rotation and they improve acceleration and speed.
However, there are some enthusiasts that prefer steel rims. Steel rims are inevitably cheaper, and although they aren’t as strong as their alloy counterparts, they are much easier to repair. I have seen blokes hammer a slightly bent steel rim back into place in the bush and limp their way back to civilization. This would be utter unheard of had the rims been made from alloy. I am not so good with my hands. If my rim gets damaged or bent, it is going into the garage either way, so I may as well go for a rim which will hold up for longer. For that reason, I have opted for alloys on all my 4WDs in recent memory.
The stud pattern tells you how many nuts you need to unbolt to change the tyre. This is expressed as two numbers. The first figure is the number of bolt holes, the second is the distance between them. For example, on a rim with a stud pattern of 6×125, there would be six bolt holes, with 125mm between the centre of one bolt hole and the centre of the bolt hole directly opposite it. On rims with odd numbers of bolts, the second number is the distance from the back of one bolt hole, to the centre of the hole directly opposite.
SIZE AND OFFSET
The two numbers that indicate size are usually expressed with diameter first and width second. So, a rim size of 16×7.5 would have a diameter of 16 inches and a with of 7.5. The offset figure is the distance between where your wheel mounts to your car and the centre line of the rim. This figure is always expressed in millimetres rather than inches. Positive offsets pull your tyres towards your vehicle, while a negative offset will push your tyres out and give a wider appearance. Much of the size and offset is down to personal preference. I like to run on a +10 offset, which pulls my tyres in and gives the appearance of a flat rim.
Next time you are deep in a conversation with a 4WD enthusiast and the topic of rims comes up, you will be in the position to decipher their jargon and dive right in with your own rim and wheel measurements.
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