Alloy Wheels and Tyre Buying Guide

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Alloy Wheels and Tyre Buying Guide

Upgrading a vehicle's standard components to alloy wheels and tyres provides numerous benefits. The wheels not only enhance the vehicle's look, but also improve fuel economy, braking, and handling. Alloy rims are sturdier than steel rims, do not rust, and are better suited to tubeless tyres. Before shopping for alloy wheel and tyre sets, learn what to consider during the buying process. Understanding rim sizes and upsizing, as well as common wheel jargon, ensures that buyers find the best wheels and tyres for their needs. Buyers can purchase these components from specialist dealers, automotive accessory stores, and online from marketplaces, such as eBay.

Finding the Right Wheel and Tyre Size

The rim diameter and width usually determine the wheel size. To find the right rim size, check the owner's manual or look at the tyres currently fitted. When checking the current tyres, look for the sequence of letters and numbers printed on the tyre wall, for example, P215/40R15. The last two digits indicate the diameter of the rim, in this case 15 inches . To find the width, measure the tyre directly or consult a tyre technician at a fitment centre. Sellers indicate tyre width and diameter as width x diameter. A rim must be the exact diameter indicated on the tyre for them to be compatible. The width can vary to within a few half inches.

Vehicle Make and Model

One of the easiest ways to find the right alloy wheel and tyre set is to buy components according to the vehicle make and model. For example, a BMW X5 has different requirements to a 3 Series BMW, and a BMW has different requirements to a Ford . However, the wheel dimensions for specific vehicles remains constant, so wheels that fit one BMW X5 are likely to fit another BMW X5.

Changing the Rim Size

Before changing the tyre width from the manufacturer's recommended measurements, consult a technician. Upsizing or plus sizing rims refers to the practice of replacing a vehicle's original tyres and rims with mag wheels that have wider tyres and larger diameter rims. This improves the vehicle's handling and stability. When upsizing, ensure that the total diameter of the tyre and rim remains the same as that of the original parts. Failing to do this decreases fuel economy and may affect braking system computers and transmission shift points. Use the information in the table below as a guide when plus sizing tyres.

Changes to Tyre

Plus 1 Sizing

Plus 2 Sizing

Increase tyre section width by

10 millimetres

20 millimetres

Decrease tyre aspect ratio by

10 points

20 points

Increase rim diameter by

1 inch

2 inches

Aspect ratio is the ratio of section height to section width. Although these figures are not exact, they provide a good starting point for those new to upsizing. For detailed advice, consult a technician.

Understanding Alloy Wheel and Tyre Jargon

Although finding the right wheel and tyre size is crucial when fitting new parts to a vehicle, buyers should understand the descriptive phrases sellers use when describing these components. Learn about wheel offset, bolt patterns, spigot rings, and spacers to make an informed buying decision.

Wheel Offset

A wheel's offset is the distance from its mounting surface to the true centreline of the rim. Zero offset defines a wheel-mounting surface that is even with the rim's centreline. A wheel with a positive offset has a mounting surface positioned to the outside of the true centreline of the rim, which positions the tyre into the wheel well. A wheel with negative offset has a mounting surface positioned to the inside of the true centreline of the rim, which positions the tyre closer to the brake side. These wheels protrude from the body of the vehicle. Most alloy wheels come with zero or a slight negative offset. Stay within an inch deviation from the original wheel to avoid handling problems or placing too much pressure on the hub and axle.

Bolt Patterns

Bolts attach a vehicle's wheels to its hubs. When choosing alloy wheels and tyres, ensure that the bolt pattern on the new rims matches that of the vehicle. Typical bolt patterns range from 4-wheel nut to 8-wheel nut designs. Some rims accommodate two different bolt patterns to allow drivers to mount them on a wider variety of vehicles. Most bolt patterns appear as the number of bolt holes/the diameter of the bolt circle in millimetres or inches, for example 4/100 or 4 x 100. The diameter of the bolt circle, or pitch circle diameter (PCD), is the measurement of an imaginary circle running through the centre of the holes on the wheel.

Spigot Rings and Spacers

Usually, wheel rims fit exactly on wheel hubs without placing weight on the bolts. However, if the rims do not fit exactly, add plastic or aluminium spigot rings to improve the placement before tightening the bolts. Spacers fit between the hub and the alloy wheel to improve offset or prevent the alloy from touching components, such as callipers or brake discs. Choosing the right alloy wheel and tyre eliminates the need to add spacing discs, and experts advise against using them.

How to Buy Alloy Wheels and Tyre on eBay

To find the ideal alloy wheel and tyre set, browse the selection available or use the search function to find specific items. To search, type a key phrase, for example " Volkswagen alloy wheel and tyre ", into the bar that you can access from any page, to see the items on offer. Look for local sellers that allow collection to save on postage and handling costs. Remember to check eBay Deals for additional offers.

Although alloy wheel and tyre sets are more expensive than standard sets, they come with numerous benefits, including improved handling and fuel economy. eBay sellers offer a variety of alloy wheel and tyre sets at competitive prices.

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