What is Wheel Lug Pattern and Wheel Offset

NASCAR crews are incredibly fast at changing a car’s wheels in the middle of a race. An entire race can be determined in the pit. With the pressure of a race's outcome, these crew members know the importance of a vehicle’s wheels. They have refined the dynamics of changing a tire, and one of the most important aspects of changing a tire so quickly is the lugs. These NASCAR crews keep their lugs glued in place so a quicker exchange can be made. When purchasing and changing the wheels of a vehicle, it is beneficial to have some of the knowledge that the NASCAR crew members have. Two of the most important aspects to be familiar with are the vehicle’s Lug Pattern and the vehicle’s Offset.

Measurement for a wheel with an even lug patternEx. 1: For even numbers, make sure to measure from the center of one hole to the center of its counterpart

Lug Patterns

In order to choose new wheels for a truck or car, the bolt pattern will be the first thing needed.

Bolt patterns appear in a series of numbers that look like 4x100 or 5x114.3. As you can see, there are two numbers needed to complete this equation. The first number represents the amount of lugs on your wheel. Today, lug patterns have 4,5,6,7, or 8 holes and some may even use studs. So, if your wheel has 5 lugs, the first number will be a 5. It’s as simple as that. 

The second number describes the diameter between those lugs. These numbers are most often recorded in
Measurement for a wheel with an odd lug patternEx. 2: For odd numbers, make sure to measure from outside of one hole to the middle of its counterpart
millimeters.

  • For a wheel with an even amount of lugs (say 4 or 6), just measure the distance between the middle of any one lug to the middle of the lug located directly across from it (Ex. 1).

  • For a wheel with an odd number of lugs, measuring the distance from the edge of one lug to the center of the lug directly across from it will give the diameter (Ex. 2). After determining the amount of lugs and the diameter between them, you will have a better idea of which wheels to buy for your truck or car.

Wheel Offset

Wheel Offset is another important aspect to keep in mind when looking for new wheels. The Wheel Offset indicates how the wheel sits in relation to the car’s suspension and body components.
  1. If a wheel has a mounting area measurement of zero, then the mounting area and spokes are located in the center of the wheel.

  2. If the mounting surface moves inward from the center, than it moves into a negative offset. This is often found in muscle cars of the 60s and 70s. The wheels of these muscle cars often jut
    Text Box:    The Shelby Cobra GT500 is an American 60s muscle car. The wheels of this car are located slightly outside of the car’s body and is a perfect example of the deep dish styleThe Shelby Cobra GT500 is an American 60s muscle car. The wheels of this car are located slightly outside of the car’s body and is a perfect example of the deep dish style
    out more from the vehicle’s body. This is because the mounting area and spokes were deeper in the wheel, also known as a “deep dish” style. Negative offsets are also common with trucks and cars that are being lifted because the owner can place a larger tire.

  3. Today however, most mounting areas that hold the spokes are located on the edge of the wheel, which moves the wheel closer to the body and leads to better handling. This is known as a positive offset. The further the mounting area moves outward from the center of the wheel, the more the measurement will move away from zero. So, if you want a tighter fit look for a higher offset number.

The vehicle and the tires you plan to use will also play a key factor in the offset you will be looking for. To find out a vehicle’s original wheel size, just look on the inside of the door jamb or in the glove box to find the factory’s original measurements. With a little bit of math, you can figure what, if any, adjustments to can make for modifications, but staying with the original sizes is always a safer bet.

4wheelonline offers a wide range of wheels so make sure to know the vehicle’s lug pattern and offset measurements before shopping. The better an idea you have about what you want will only help us help you. If you have any further questions, check out our website 4WheelOnline Truck Accessories.


By: Tim Snyder Google


Posted on May 7th, 2013
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