Today, everyone from your boss to the pizza delivery driver has custom wheels and tyres on their vehicles. However, custom looks and high performance often come at a price – the high likelihood of a squared off wheel or a cut tire. By following the steps below and by taking careful measurements and double-checking them, you’ll get a great-looking set of performance wheels without ruining your tyres or your bank balance.
Start with Backspacing
Wide tyres are the goal of many who install performance wheels, and the wheels are where we should start. Most car enthusiasts are familiar with measurements such as wheel width and diameter, but when you’re trying to fit fat tires to your car, backspacing is more important. For great handling and cornering, you’ll need wide, meaty tyres and an aggressive stance – and to achieve that end, you’ll need to fit the wheel and tyre package as far inward as possible. Backspacing, sometimes called “offset”, is the measurement between the inner wheel lip and the mounting flange. As that distance increases, the mounting flange gets closer to the wheel’s outside edge.
The only sure way to know your section width is to measure it with a tyre mounted on the wheel you choose, and tyre makers publish this information based on standard wheel widths. Smart tyre fitters know that a tyre’s true width is the distance at the widest part of the sidewall, when mounted on a wheel of a given width. Tyres of the same size don’t always have the same section width, and those from one manufacturer may fit very differently than tyres from another maker.
Measure Twice & Fit Once
In performance motoring, the goal is often to fit as wide a wheel and tyre combo as possible, and many enthusiasts get excited over their purchases only to discover that the tyres won’t fit. Take measurements two or three times, and choose a package that’s sure to fit. Several variables come into play where tyre clearance is concerned; consider them all to find the right wheels and tyres online.
Rear Wheel Room
It’s simpler to measure rear wheel room than to measure it in the front of the car. Most outer wheel wells move inward as they approach the front of the vehicle. It is much easier to fit fat tyres to the back of a car; tyres with shorter, stiffer sidewalls stay put better than tall, two ply drag radials. When determining maximum tyre size, measure both sides of the car, and if there’s more than a ¾” difference, consider making the body more square on the chassis.
Custom wheels and tyres can make any vehicle look better, but there are certain things to consider when fitting your car with a wheel and tyre package. By accounting for backspacing and section width, taking careful measurements and getting the rear wheel well sizing correct, you can find the right setup for your car with minimal hassle and inconvenience.