The most primitive part on any given vehicle is the wheel. It's the one invention that changed the face of transportation as we know it and got things rolling to where we are today. So why do these simple round masses confuse so many people? While backspacing, beadlocks, steel versus aluminum, hub centric, and lug centric are all part of the puzzle, the first and most basic item that's crucial to understand is wheel bolt pattern.
"Wheel bolt pattern" refers the number of lugs and bolt circle for a given wheel. This is determined by the distance of a circle drawn through the center of your lug nuts. For example, if your rim has an 8-on-6 1/2 bolt pattern, then 8 is the number of lug holes and 61/2 the diameter of the circle in inches.
For a closer look into the world of wheel bolt patterns, we've compiled a few basic tips for measuring the various odd and even lug rims as well as created a pattern guide for some of the most popular 4-bys on the road. Enjoy.
The Pattern The most common wheel patterns for 4x4 vehicles are five-, six-, and eight-lug. Traditionally domestic vehicles have simple fractional distances like 5-on-4 1/2, 5-on-5 1/2, and 8-on 6 1/2. Many modern and foreign wheels have metric distances (millimeters) like 5-on-135 and 8-on-170.
|CONVERSION CHEAT SHEET|
|(1 inch equals 25.4 mm)|
Even Lugs To determine the distance between even bolt hole patterns like six- and eight-lug wheels, the formula is simple. Using a tape or ruler, measure the distance between the center of one lug hole to the center of the hole directly across from it-think 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock.
Odd Lugs Figuring out a five-lug pattern can be a little tricky. The most common method is to measure from the outside edge of a lug hole to the center of the hole directly across from it. Another way is to measure from the center of a lug hole to the center of the hole directly across from it and then multiply by 1.05.
|1/2-ton Pickup (gas)||'57-'09||6-on-5 1/2|
|3/4-ton Pickup||'65-'09||8-on-6 1/2|
|1-ton Pickup||'77-'09||8-on-6 1/2|
|Blazer/Jimmy/Tahoe/Yukon (Fullsize)||'69-'09||8-on-6 1/2|
|S-10 Blazer and Pickup; S-15 Jimmy, Pickup, Sonoma||'83-'03||5-on-4 3/4|
|Suburban 1/2-Ton||'57-'09||6-on-5 1/2|
|Suburban and Avalanche 3/4-Ton||'67-'09||8-on-6 1/2|
|Ramcharger & Plymouth Trailduster||'74-'79||5-on-4 1/2|
|Ramcharger & Plymouth Trailduster||'80-'93||5-on-5 1/2|
|Ram 1/2-ton Pickup||'59-'68||8-on-6 1/2|
|Ram 1/2-ton Pickup||'69-'74||5-on-5 1/2|
|Ram 1/2-ton Pickup||'75-'79||5-on-4 1/2|
|Ram 1/2-ton Pickup||'80-'09||5-on-5 1/2|
|Ram 3/4-ton||'61-'09||8-on-6 1/2|
|Ram 1-ton Pickup||'69-'09||8-on-6 1/2|
|1-ton W-series Pickup||'63-'68||6-on-7 1/2|
|Bronco II||'84-'90||5-on-4 1/2|
|1/2-ton Pickup||'59-'96||5-on-5 1/2|
|1/2-ton Pickup||'97-'90||5-on-135 mm|
|1/2-ton Pickup||'04-'08||6-on-135 mm|
|3/4-ton Pickup||'61-'98||8-on-6 1/2|
|3/4-ton Pickup||'99-'09||8-on-170 mm|
|1-ton Pickup||'79-'98||8-on-6 1/2|
|1-ton Pickup||'99-'09||8-on-170 mm|
|HUMMER & AM GENERAL|
|H1 & Humvee||'88-'09||8-on-6 1/2|
|1/2-ton Pickup||'69-'75||5-on-5 1/2|
|3/4-ton Pickup||'69-'75||8-on-6 1/2|
|1-ton Pickup||'69-'75||8-on-6 1/2|
|Cherokee (fullsize)||'74-'83||6-on-5 1/2|
|Cherokee (XJ)||'84-'01||5-on-4 1/2|
|Grand Cherokee (ZJ)||'93-'98||5-on-4 1/2|
|1/2-ton Pickup (J-series)||'62-'73||5-on-5 1/2|
|1/2-ton Pickup (J-series)||'74-'87||6-on-5 1/2|
|3/4-ton Pickup (J-series w/ semi-float rear)||'63-'73||5-on-5 1/2|
|3/4-ton Pickup (J-series w/ full-float rear)||'63-'73||8-on-6 1/2|
|3/4-ton Pickup (J-series)||'74-'87||8-on-6 1/2|
|Wagoneer (fullsize)||'62-'73||5-on-5 1/2|
|Wagoneer (fullsize including Grand)||'74-'91||6-on-5 1/2|
|Wrangler (YJ, TJ)||'84-'06||5-on-4 1/2|
|Defender 90||'94-'97||5-on-6 1/2|
|Range Rover||'87-'98||5-on-6 1/2|
|Range Rover||'99-'08||5-on-120 mm|
|B-1600 through B-2600 Pickup||'79-'93||6-on-5 1/2|
|B-2300 through B-4000 Pickup||'94-'08||5-on-4 1/2|
|Land Cruiser||'63-'97||6-on-5 1/2|
|Land Cruiser||'98-'08||5-on-150 mm|
|Mini Truck||'79-'95||6-on-5 1/2|
Made Wheel Simple If you really want to take the guesswork out of finding your wheel bolt pattern, look no further than Made 4 You Products. The Made product line offers wheel bolt pattern template kits for both five- and six-lug patterns, including standard and metric. The lightweight plastic design is a great shop tool and a quick and easy way to determine which pattern is right for your ride.
Source Made for You Products 760.868.6962 www.made4uproducts.com
Adapters & Spacers If you already have a set of old wheels that you want to run on your new truck, but the bolt pattern is different or the offset is wrong, don't fret. Companies like Spidertrax, Trail Sport, and Performance Wheel all specialize in wheel spacers and adapters that allow you to convert to a different wheel bolt pattern or space the wheel out from 1 to 2 inches.
Sources Performance Wheel 303.762.8875 www.performancewheel.com Spidertrax 800.286.0898 www.spidertrax.com Trail Sport Unltd. Inc 909.370.0144 www.trailsport4x4.com
Wheel Ready So now that you know your ride's wheel bolt pattern you're ready to buy wheels, right? Well, not quite. Before you go spending dough on some new dubs that don't bolt up, you have to look at a few other items. One of the more important is the backspacing.
Backspacing is found by measuring the center mounting surface of the wheel to the outer lip of the rim (see photo). Too much backspacing and the tires may rub suspension components and the inner fenderwell excessively during steering. Too little and the wheel offset may increase wear on the front-end components and make contact with the outer edges of the fender.
Also, keep in mind that a rim's overall size, lug-nut style, and wheel stud diameter vary by vehicle. Before ordering wheels, always double-check the wheel bolt pattern yourself and consult with a wheel specialist who is familiar with your vehicle.