Many people believe Jeep wheels and accessories are mainly just eye candy. Something flashy to put on the Jeep just like someone would wear a watch or necklace. Yet, that is not always the case. Sure, rims are usually one of the first things people notice on your Jeep and there are tons of exciting designs that are eye-catching, but upgrading can also offer markedly better performance and durability on that next great off-road adventure. Or provide better handling and fuel economy during your various on-road activities.
What to choose, though? And how do you know it will fit? Well, these are certainly great questions, and ones we hear all the time. So come with us as we explore the top-6 ways to help choose the perfect wheel for you.
When you are looking at Jeep wheels they basically boil down into two categories: steel and alloy. Steel is generally considered the best choice for those who off-road as these rims are heavier, more uniform, durable, and better priced than their alloy counterparts. They can take an off-road pounding and come back asking for more. They are also easily repairable as steel can simply hammer back into place.
On the other side, alloy ones are made from light materials such as aluminum or magnesium and are often several pounds lighter than steel, which makes them ideal for the daily driving crowd. This lighter weight makes it much easier to start and stop your Jeep, thus helping fuel economy and vehicle handling. Less weight also means less strain on your suspension components as well as an ability to dissipate heat away from brake parts during extreme driving conditions. However, most alloy wheels are more expensive than steel because of manufacturing techniques and the lighter weight means durability sometimes can be a factor.
2. BOLT PATTERN
Every Jeep rim has a specific bolt pattern that helps mount the rim to the wheel hub. For example, most Wrangler wheels are either 5x4.5 or 5x5. This means they are 5 lug wheels, where the lugs are spaced out evenly on a circle that is 4.5- or 5-inches. CJ ones are normally 5x5.5, while XJ, ZJ and WJ all vary. Quadratec offers a handy guide to help you determine your vehicle bolt pattern if you are unsure.
3. RIM SIZE AND WIDTH
Matching the rim you desire to a particular tire is as simple as matching the diameter of each and following manufacturer's width recommendations. For example - a 15-inch tire like a 215/75R15 has to go on a 15-inch wheel. From there, each tire will have certain width guidelines that, in this case, would be 7-8 inches. That's not to say you couldn't shoehorn a tire on a different sized rim such as a 10-inch, but you should use caution. For your safety, we definitely recommend following the respective tire manufacturer’s guidelines when choosing a wheel width. Also, whichever ones you choose, you will still be able to use your Jeep's Tire Pressure Monitoring System (if installed).
Here's where things get a little technical as every wheel has both an offset and backspace measurement, besides the standard bolt pattern. Generally, these are key numbers for those who plan to add a lift kit, body lift, or otherwise raise their vehicle.
Regarding offset – it is the distance from the mounting pad to the centerline of the wheel and the lower the offset, the further outward it will mount which generally is good for lifted Jeeps.
Backspacing is the measurement from the mounting pad to the inner edge of the wheel and, similar to offset, less backspace indicates it protrudes less into the wheel well therefore reducing the risk of rubbing.
All rims will list these measurements and you can easily compare them to whatever your respective suspension lift recommends.
This style is perfect for the extreme off-road only crowd who run lower tire pressure when trail riding. These types of drivers often find beadlocks necessary to avoid rolling the tire off the rim. Most beadlocks use either a clamped ring on the outer bead to grip the tire, or an inflatable tube inside the tire, and even a spacer that fits between the beads.
While this is a great way to help enhance your off-road performance in tougher conditions, they are not recommended for on-road use even though some beadlocks are DOT approved. That’s because most beadlocks are heavier and much harder to balance than a standard wheel. Sometimes they can even fail at higher speeds, causing sudden deflation. Normally, it is human error that can cause these types of failures, but if you are like most people and seldom find yourself in extreme terrain, then steel and alloy are your best choice.
6. HUB CENTRIC VS. LUG CENTRIC
These are terms that can be confusing, and are something that has been argued over for quite a while.
Basically, hub centric means that the space inside the center bore of wheel is designed to fit perfectly on the axle. This way, the wheel is centered by the hub connection and the lugs can hold it flush against the mounting plate. In a hub-centric design, this connection will bear the weight of the Jeep. Most stock wheels, as well as many steel aftermarket versions, will be hub centric and many believe these provide the best ride quality.
Lug centric is where the wheel is centered by the lug nuts – instead of the hub. Many aftermarket alloy wheels fall into this category as manufactures are making these with larger hub diameters to fit a wide range of vehicles. So, when installed, there usually is a space between the axle and hub instead of flush contact. Some report no difference in driving between hub and lug centric, especially when using acorn style lugs to center, but many others say lug centric rims cause a degraded driving experience and could even fail depending on driving conditions.
A good way to correct this, should you choose lug centric and have an issue, is to purchase hub centric wheel spacers which will add strength and provide a better ride.-----
Here at Quadratec, we offer an unmatched selection of high quality steel and alloy Jeep wheels & accessories from many popular brands such as Pro Comp, iON, Cragar, and Mickey Thompson. So whether you want to wow your neighbor with those great looking new rims, or wow your friends during next weekend's trail ride, rest assured we have the exact products you need at the Guaranteed Lowest Prices!