Cars & Vehicles Auto Parts & Maintenance & Repairs

How to Measure Aluminum Wheels

    • 1). Remove the hubcap bolts using an adjustable wrench. Measure the width of the wheel using a tape measure. Set the tape measure inside the rim of the wheel so it lies perpendicular to the car. Ensure you take the width measurement from the inside rim of the wheel where it meets the fabric of the tire (where silver meets black, usually) all the way to the opposite rim.

    • 2). Locate the central line of the side of the wheel first by sight, then using your tape measure. Find the central line by finding the point at which the wheel is widest. Use trial and error, moving the tape measure up and down slightly to ascertain the exact center. Hold the tape measure in place at the central point against the outer rims of the wheel, parallel to the line of the car. Read off the diameter of the wheel in inches from one side of the silver rim to the opposite side. Diameters are often 17-inches, according to Race and Road, but can also be 15-inches.

    • 3). Use imperial units such as inches and feet rather than their metric equivalents, which are not standard or commonly used on manufacturer's specifications. Convert from metric to imperial using a calculator if you really want to, but avoid non-standard units in general because it will reduce the time you have to spend selecting your new wheels.

    • 4). Consider the "offset" (also known as the "ET", which stands for Einpresstife, the German word for insertion depth), another measurement of an aluminum wheel which is often stamped onto the wheel itself and represents what is known as the wheel's insertion depth. Unfortunately, you need to measure it in non-standard millimeters. Decide if you want a positive offset, a zero offset or a negative offset, which means the difference between the mounting face being forward aligned inside the tire, flush with the tire, or back from the tire fascia. An ET of 0 is flush, as explained by Matey Matey.

    • 5). Measure the center cap of an existing aluminum wheel using the tape measure. Remove the old caps using a hubcap tool to avoid damaging the expensive wheel. Sizes of cap range from 2- to 12-inches, according to Hubcaps.

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