It depends on a few different factors such as the bolt patterns, size of the tire/wheel, and wheel offset. This means that wheels from one car are not interchangeable if they don’t follow all the measures listed. The easiest way you can tell is to compare the dimensions between the wheels side by side.
Automakers test their cars with a specific wheel and tire combinations in order to make them as efficient and as sophisticated as possible. Even though you technically can mount the rims from one car to the other, it will make the car less sophisticated and maybe even dangerous.
As such, be sure to read this article to find out what are the specific measures you need to compare before you decide to change the rims on your car. It feels great to update your car with a set of aftermarket wheels, but be sure to do so the right way.
It’s also highly advisable to equip your car with the proper tires for the season. Another aspect you need to consider is if your car uses a so-called staggered set-up in which the front wheels are not the same diameter as the rear wheels which is sometimes the case with non-AWD cars.
The bolt pattern of a wheel – A crucial aspect when it comes to wheel interchangeability
Not all cars come with the same bolt pattern which means that not all cars can wear the same types of wheels. The bolts are used to connect the wheel to the axle which means that you can not make any adjustments here without endangering the driving experience.
The best course of action would be to properly calculate the bolt pattern of both wheels before you attempt to replace them. Most car wheels these days use 3 or 4 bolts per wheel, but some larger commercial vehicles including heavy-duty trucks can use twice as much.
In order to measure the bolt pattern, you need to calculate the diameter of a circle placed directly in the middle of all bolt holes. You can also check the bolt pattern online if you are positive you found the exact same wheel. If your wheel has 4 bolt holes, the code should start with the number 4, and if your wheel has 5 holes, the code should start with the number 5.
Wheel/tire size – Crucial if you want to retain all the original car characteristics
If your wheel and tires sizes are not the same, the car will not be able to properly read the speed while also becoming a lot more difficult to control. This is also true for the odometer because the system behind it is designed with a specific tire and wheel size combo in mind.
However, you can technically mount a wheel that is an inch larger or smaller, but only if you counter effect that with the right tire. This means that if you increase the wheel size by an inch, you need to decrease the tire size by an inch in order to keep the same tire/wheel size.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the new wheel and old tire/new tire and old wheel are compatible with each other because many other meassurements need to match. Finally, if everything does match, be sure to balance the wheel before you mount it on the car.
Wheel offset – The distance between the center of the wheel and the mounting surface
The third but equally important measure you need to pay attention to is the wheel offset or the distance between the center of the wheel and the hub mounting surface. Wheels come in either positive offset, neutral offset, or negative offset, and these need to match if you want to change your wheels.
A positive offset is mostly found on newer cars where the rim itself is closer to the outer edge of the car. A negative offset means that the wheel is pushed inwards and the mounting surface is closer to the brake assembly thus facing backward.
A neutral offset is somewhere between the two which means that the wheel is mounted directly on the centerline. Even though you can technically replace your neutral offset wheel with both positive and negative offset wheels, by doing so you are risking your car becoming a lot more dangerous to drive.
Are aftermarket wheels worth it?
The wheel-tire combo is what connects your car to the ground which means that it needs to be tuned precisely for your car. If there are any discrepancies in the wheel/tire department it usually makes the car less efficient, louder, and often even more dangerous to drive.
As such, always be sure to opt for high-quality aftermarket wheels and always try to retain the very same wheel dimensions as in your original wheels. Aftermarket wheels are worth it, but only if they are safe and tuned precisely for your car. The best thing you can do is to go to a tire and wheel shop and ask around which wheels should fit your car the best.
Can you change the bolt pattern of a car wheel?
Wheel adapters/spacers are used to change the bolt pattern of a wheel in order to make more wheels interchangeable between different cars. Even though this solution is not necessarily the best, it can work if the installation has been carried out properly.
This means that you need to use high-quality parts and do the proper alignment. In order to do so, take your car to an experienced tire shop before you purchase anything by yourself.
How does wheel size affect my car’s performance?
The size of your wheel and tires affects your car’s agility, noise levels, efficiency, and overall sophistication. Tires with larger sidewalls and smaller diameter wheels are usually more comfortable, especially on cars with less sophisticated suspensions setups.
However, if you decrease the sidewalls, you are making your car more agile which primarily benefits performance cars. The weight of the wheel and tire combo also affects performance because there is more mass that needs to be turned.