The wheel bolt pattern on your vehicle is one of the biggest things to consider when shopping for new rims. You can only buy rims that match your vehicle-specific bolt pattern. But what is the bolt pattern? And how do you measure it? Let’s figure it out.
The wheel bolt pattern is made up of lug holes at the center of the wheel, at least more than three and up to eight. There are several different types of bolt patterns: three bolts, four bolts, five bolts, six bolts, and eight bolts. (Sorry, Seven.)
Your car has little fingers at the end of each axle called lug bolts that have to line up with the bolt pattern on the wheel. Otherwise, the wheel won’t be able to attach to the car, which is obviously something you want.
The holes and lugs might not seem huge compared to other parts of your car, but properly fastened wheel bolts are what’s going to make sure your new Moto Metal MO970 rims not only look amazing but are going to safely get you where you’re going.
Making sure that the bolt pattern on the wheel your purchasing lines up with the car that you’re putting them on is incredibly important before buying, but at RentAWheel.com we make this process easy and simple.
Not only does your car have a specific bolt pattern to keep in mind, but it also has a specific measurement you have to keep track of. This measurement is always the diameter of the bolt pattern and is just as important as knowing how many holes you’re looking for.
There are several different hole and size combinations, but they’re all set numbers available on a chart. So they aren’t random. You just need to know what’s going on in order to read them while shopping.
Two different numbers classify bolt pattern options. Let’s say, for example, your car has a bolt pattern measurement number of 4-4.5”. The first number is the number of lug bolts your car has, and the second number is the diameter of those five lug bolts.
Getting the diameter on a four bolt setup is fairly straightforward. You’ll need to take a tape measure and measure the distance from the middle of one bolt to the middle of the one across it. This is actually the exact same thing you’ll do with the six and eight bolt patterns as well since they’re all even numbers. Measure from the center of one lug nut or hole to the center of the one straight across from it.
But what about five? There’s no lug nut or hole directly across on a five bolt pattern! Don’t worry, that’s not too difficult either! Take your tape measure and place it on the middle of one bolt, then skip a bolt, and now on the next bolt, measure to the outside of that bolt, not in the middle. Measure as far as you can.
This is how we get the estimated diameter from a bolt pattern of five, but to get a more specific reading, you might need what’s called a Bolt Pattern Gauge. These aren’t particularly common, so you’ll mostly be working with estimates if you have a five bolt pattern on your vehicle. But if you’re buying your new rims from Rent A Wheel, we’ll make sure that you’re getting just the right fit with our team of professionals and online visualizer.
As we mentioned, these numbers aren’t just random. They all appear on a general chart which we’ve included here for you. If you measure your diameter and think you’re a little off, check this list and see which you’re closest to. You might be holding the measuring tape just a little off, and you’ll want to find which option you’re closest to.
Three lug bolt patterns are pretty rare, so we’ll start at four. The varieties of bolt pattern options are as follows:
Four Lug Bolts options:
Five Lug Bolt options:
Six Lug Bolt options:
Eight Lug Bolt options:
As you can see, there are a bunch of varieties for five-bolt patterns. That’s because these are actually the most common amongst commercial vehicles, specifically the 5-4.5” measurement. But your vehicle may vary--if you have an adorable VW Beatle, you might be closer to a 5-8.07” measurement, or if you have a titanic sized Ford Super Duty truck you’re probably looking at an 8-6.69”
Let’s talk about lug nuts.
Now we know that your car has a 5-.45” Wheel Bolt Pattern, but wait- there’s more! You also have to know what kind of lug nuts you should be using to properly fasten that sick rim to your vehicle.
This information is more for those installing your new rims yourself, though everyone needs to be aware of it. However, suppose you don’t want to trouble yourself with so much information. In that case, our specialty installers at RentAWheel.com will happily and professionally install and balance your tight new rims for free at one of our many Rent A Wheel locations.
We’ll even install rims you bought somewhere else for a small fee, but why would you shop elsewhere when you can take advantage of our flexible payment options? You could be purchasing these killer Kalon Blitz rims for just $42 a month, an affordable price you won’t find anywhere else. Anyway, back to the lug nuts.
There are three main types of lug nuts you might encounter, and they all correspond with the lug hole seats on your rims. (Those are the wholes in your rims we’ve been talking about, by the way.)
There’s a ball-seat or spherical lug nut for round lug holes, an acorn-seat or conical lug nut for more tapered lug holes, and mag or shank style lug nuts with a circular and flat seat area to match the lug hole. These last ones, the mag or shank style, are torque retention, meaning that the flat seat of the nut and hole have to line up perfectly, and the length of the lug nut has to be just right so that all the pieces can fasten tightly together. Otherwise, you’ll probably damage the lug holes, which isn’t a very nice way to treat your shiny new rims.
Excessive lug hole damage could also lead to the wheels flying off your vehicle, and trust us--If that happens, you’re going to have a bad day.
So make sure if you’re installing your own new rims to double-check the lug hole seats and buy the corresponding lug nuts so that you and your ride can comfortably and confidently cruise around town.
Flats happen. Take note of how to prepare for a blowout here if you’ve never been in or thought of the situation. So you take the spare you have in your trunk out to replace it until you’re able to get it all fixed. But if you’ve spent the time and money installing your new rims with lug nuts that differ from the ones originally on your factory wheels, they might not fit your spare.
This means it’s all the more important to make sure that you know what kind of lug nuts you have holding your wheels to your car. If they aren’t the same as your spare, definitely have a backup set of lug nuts so that you can safely attach your ugly but reliable spare tire in the case of emergencies.
Otherwise, you might find yourself calling a car owner’s least favorite number--the tow truck.
We’ve covered just about everything you know about wheel bolt patterns. You now know how to measure them, how to classify your specific vehicle’s pattern, and what you should be looking for in a set of rims and lug nuts.
All of this information will make buying a new set of rims easier on you, but to make things even easier than that just head over to RentAWheel.com, input the year, make and model of your dream machine, and let one of our skilled fitting specialists help you find the perfect new rim for you to show off.