Our Expert Advice
Need a little advice on choosing your Alloy Wheels and Tyres?
Wheelbase are the UKs leading alloy wheels store, our team know everything about choosing the right set of alloys and tyres for your car. Whether you need help on tyre sizes,load and speed ratings, alloy wheel bolts, bolt patterns or just some tips on taking care of your new alloy wheels - we are more than happy help.
Taking care of your alloy wheels
Do not use household or other detergents to clean your wheels, i.e. washing up liquid.
Rinse off any cleaning solutions before moving onto the next wheel.
Clean with a soft, un-abrasive cloth.
Do not use steam cleaners this can lead to surface peeling.
Do not use aluminium wheel polish on chrome, painted, or clear coated wheels.
Do not use tire cleaners.
Clean wheels only when they are cold.
Waxing your wheels can help protect the surface and help make future cleaning easier.
Only use cleaners specific to your wheel type. Never use acid based cleaners on any wheel.
We advise removing chrome wheels in winter adn storing in a dry place. Not your garage.
Tyres can be easily damaged if the correct air pressure is not maintained they lose pressure over time which causes irregular tread wear and shortens tyre life.
Fuel consumption and steering control can also be affected if the tyres are under-inflated or over-inflated.
If the tyres squeal when you go around corners at normal speeds you may have low pressure in one or more of your tyres.
Remember to check your spare tyre regularly.
Tyre pressures for your vehicle can be found in the manufacturers manual or try looking for a plate around the driver or passenger door aperture.
Visually inspect tyres regularly. Also check and adjust pressures only when they are cold. Tyre pressures will rise when they are hot. If possible, check pressures with the same gauges to maintain an accurate measure.
Gauges can be purchased from most good car accessory shops.
Tyre Wear Indicator
As the tyres wear there performance and grip decreases you can check the tread depth on the tyre by looking at the tyre bars which are small raised rubber notches that run across the tread design and become visible when tyres are worn. We would advise changing tyres at 3mm tread depth as tyre performance drops off considerably after that depth.
The minimum legal tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm if the tread depth is level with the wear bar this is a good indication that your tyre needs replacing. Do not wait for the tyres to reach the wear bars if the vehicle begins to feel unsafe. Tyres which are below 1.6mm are illegal. This can lead to a fine of up to $2500 + 3 pts per tyre. Each tyre is treated as a seperate offence.
If caught you will be liable for prosecution if any tyre on your vehicle has a defect or is below the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.
Wheels are available with varying bolt patterns, and some have more than one bolt pattern allowing them to be fitted to a wider range of vehicles.
4 x 100
The number 4 refers to the number of holes in the wheel.
The number 100 refers to the diameter of the circle of boltholes measured in millimetres.
Wheels with 4 or 6 boltholes are measured from the centre of one bolthole to the centre of the bolthole directly opposite.
Wheels with 5 boltholes require special tools for accurate measurement.
The wheel offset refers to the distance between the mounting surface and the centre of the wheel rim.
Positive offset means the wheel is positioned in front of the centre of the wheel rim this tucks the tire into the wing.
Negative offset means the wheel is positioned behind the centre of the wheel rim this causes the tire to protrude out past the wing. Most modern four or front wheel drive have offsets of 35-50. Whilst older rear wheel drive tend to be 10-20.
Up-Sizing your wheels
This means your are increasing the size of your wheels and lowering the profile of your tyres for increased performance and style, here's the rule of thumb for Up-sizing, follow these simple rules for unchanged speedometer readings and fuel economy:
To increase wheel size by 1 inch
Increase the tyre section width by 10mm
Decrease the tyre aspect ratio by 10 points
Increase the wheel rim diameter by 1 inch
Increase the tyre section width by 20mm
Decrease the tyre aspect ratio by 20 points
Increase the wheel rim diameter by 2 inches
The wheel centerbore is the hole in the centre of the wheel that fits over the hub.
Most wheels are manufactured with a large centerbore allowing them to be fitted to a wider range of vehicles. If the centerbore is larger than the hub.
A spigot ring will have to be used.
Spigot rings fit between the wheel and the hub centering the wheel so there is no run out when the wheel is fitted.
Tightening Wheel Bolts
Always use a torque wrench when tightening wheel bolts check your car manual for the correct settings.
When fitting new wheels re-torque the wheel bolts after about 60 to 90 miles.
Wheels are manufactured in various ways most alloys are made in one, two or three pieces.
A one-piece wheel is made in a single mould.
Two-piece wheels are made in two separate moulds and then the two pieces are welded/bolted together.
Three-piece wheels are made in three separate moulds and then the three pieces are fixed together using very high quality bolts.
Wheel alignment is crucial if your wheels are misaligned on either the front or rear this will permanently damage your tyres it causes them to wear unevenly it can also lead to suspension damage and poor handling.
If your wheels are misaligned you may feel the car pull to one side when you relax your grip on the steering wheel, you may also notice tread wear irregularities.
It is recommended that you have all four wheels aligned, however as some vehicles do not have any adjustment on the rear wheels this will not always be possible for best results always consult a professional.
Have your wheel alignment checked regularly, especially if your vehicle has come into contact with a kerb or other obstacle.
Tyre Speed Ratings
Speed ratings are an indication of the maximum safe speed for the tyre, the maximum safe speed of the tyre should not be exceeded under any circumstances.
Please use the following guide to determine the speed rating required for your vehicle:
Tyre Load Ratings
Punctures regardless of their severity should be repaired immediately to avoid the risk of accident and injury, it is advised that these repairs are carried out by a qualified technician.
Any repair using a patch or plug must be applied to both the outer tyre and the inner tyre the reason for this is that the rubber on the inside of the tyre is a different compound to the rubber on the outside of the tyre. The tyre will have to be removed from the wheel rim for these repairs to be carried out.
Repairs to the tyre wall or within 1 inch of the sidewall on the tread should not be attempted under any circumstances.
215 is the width of a tyre measured in millimetres from sidewall to sidewall.
35 is the aspect ratio of the tyre and is measured using the following method: Divide the tyre section height by the tyre section width and multiply it by 100.
R means the tyre has a radial construction.
B means the tyre has a belted construction.
D means the tyre has a diagonal construction.
18 is the diameter of the wheel in inches.
89 is the tyre load index.
ZR is the speed rating.
As a rule you should try not to mix tyre sizes/brands/ratings unless your vehicle has different sized tyres as standard from front to rear, never under any circumstances use different sized tyres or mix cross-ply and radial tyres on the same axle.
When do you need to replace tyres?
Most standard tyres will last around 15,000 to 20,000 miles although this will vary considerably depending on your driving style, road conditions and the type of road you are using. . Tyres on the driving wheels will wear out faster than non driven ones especially on a front wheel drive car Our Advice is to inspect your tyres regularly and replace at least in pairs at 3mm tread depth or if the car is 4wd to replace all 4 tyres at the same time. All mileages listed are a guide only.