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Driftworks Wheel Bible

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying wheels, so we've created the Driftworks Wheel Bible to help you choose the perfect set for your car.

Before you set your heart on a particular set, you need to make sure that they will actually fit your car! There are a number of key factors to bear in mind when choosing a wheel design:

Wheel Diameter - the overall diameter of the wheel. Measured in inches and written as 17", 18", 19" etc. Most wheel designs are available in a range of diameters.

Wheel PCD - this is the stud or bolt pattern used by your car's wheel hubs. Measured in millimetres and written as 4x100, 5x100, 5x120 etc. PCDs vary depending on the car manufacturer and model. Most wheel designs are available in a range of PCDs.

Wheel Width - the width of the wheel. Measured in inches and often written as 8J, 9.5J, 11J etc. The width is measured from the inside of the inner and outer edges of the wheel. Most wheel designs are available in an array of widths.

Wheel Offset - determines how much the wheel pokes out from the car's wheel arch. Measured in millimetres and often written as ET10, ET-20, ET35 etc. Most wheel designs are available with a wide array of offsets.

Still confused? Carry on reading for more detailed information on all aspects of choosing a set of wheels.

Wheel Diameter
The diameter is one of the more obvious choices to make when deciding on your new set of wheels. Too small and they’ll look lost in your wheel arches – too large and they’ll look a bit silly and the tyre will probably foul the surrounding areas within your car's wheel arches.

It’s always worth taking a look online to see what diameter of wheel other people are fitting to your car so you can get a feel for what kind of look takes your fancy. Like most things though, it's all down to personal preference and what sort of style you want to achieve.

Wheel PCD
This is probably the most crucial aspect when it comes to choosing a set of wheels for your car. The PCD refers to the pattern of the wheel studs (or wheel bolts, if your car uses them) on your car's wheel hubs and it’s essential that the wheels you choose have the same PCD as your car.

PCD is measured in mm. For example, one popular PCD is 5x114.3. The 5 refers to the number of studs/bolt holes used to mount the wheel to the car, while the 114.3 denotes the diameter of an imaginary circle drawn through the studs/bolt holes. We strongly recommend that you choose a set of wheels with the same PCD as your car.

Some wheels that we sell (for example JR and Rota) are often available with multi-fitment PCDs - this means that they are drilled to suit more than one PCD. For example, a JR wheel that is sold with 5x114.3 & 5x120 PCDs means that that particular wheel will fit cars with either a 5x114.3 or 5x120 PCD. Custom wheels (such as some WORK Wheels) can be drilled with almost any PCD you require, allowing them to be fitted to a wide array of cars.

If you want to fit a set of wheels with a PCD that is different to that of your car, in some cases you can fit bolt-on PCD adapters. This is a quick and easy way of altering your car’s PCD; for example, one of our most popular bolt-on PCD adapters allows for wheels with a PCD of 5x114.3 to be fitted to cars that have a 4x114.3 PCD.

It's usually quite easy to find the PCD of your car on specific wheel fitment websites or owners forums. If you can’t find this information, please get in touch with us and we’ll help as best we can.

Wheel Width 
Once you’ve chosen what diameter wheel you want to run and which PCD you require, it’s time to consider the width and offset of your new wheels.

The width is fairly self explanatory, with the measurement refering to the distance between the inside of the wheel's inner and outer edges. Do not make the common mistake of placing a tape measure over the entire barrel of a wheel and measuring that as the width – your measurement will usually show the wheel as being around 0.5” wider than it actually is!

The wider the wheel, the wider the tyre you can fit. We’re a fan of both stretched tyres and big chunky tyre fitment here at Driftworks, with both having their own individual merits depending on the look you’re going for and what kind of use your car is going to be getting.

Be wary of fitting excessively wide wheels to the front of your car, especially if you’re using it for drifting. The wider the wheel and the bigger the tyre, it’s quite possible that it will foul your car’s inner arch areas and various other suspension components if necessary modifications haven't been made. It’s quite normal to fit narrower wheels to the front on rear-wheel drive cars, while four-wheel drive cars usually use the same size on all four corners.

Wheel Offset
Deciding on the right offset for your wheels is often a daunting task but, fear not! We are always here to help. Simply speaking, the offset of a wheel dictates how far it pokes out from the wheel arch, or how far it sits under the wheel arch.

If you were to look at a wheel side on and draw an imaginary line down the centre, this would be an offset of 0.

If you were to move this line towards the outside-facing side of the wheel, this would be a positive offset. For example, moving the imaginary line 20mm from the centre line towards the outside-facing side of the wheel would give an offset of +20 (often written as ET20). This means that the wheel will sit 20mm futher into the car's wheel arch than a wheel with an offset of ET0.

On the other hand, if you were to move this line towards the inside-facing side of the wheel, this would be a negative offset. Moving the imaginary line 20mm from the centre line towards the inside-facing side of the wheel would give an offset of -20 (written as ET-20). This means that the wheel will sit 20mm further out of the car's wheel arch than a wheel with an offset of ET0.

Wheel Offset Diagram

Traditionally, most standard wheels fitted to production cars have a high positive offset which ensures that the wheels do not poke out of the wheel arches excessively.

Here at Driftworks we love wheels which provide an "aggressive fitment", which usually means that we choose wheels that are wider than the original factory wheels, along with having a lower offset (i.e. they sit closer to the wheel arch).

Wheel width and offset are both crucial to ensure a good fitting wheel and the two work together to dictate how your wheel sits on a car. For example, if you currently have a wheel with an 18” diameter, a 9” width and an offset of 0 (often written as 18x9J ET0) and you want to replace it with an 18x10J ET0 wheel, the new wheel will sit 12.7mm closer to your inner wheel arch area and also sit 12.7mm closer to your outer wheel arch.

In order to fit a wider wheel that doesn't sit any closer to the inner wheel arch area, you will need a more negative offset to account for this. If you want to fit a wider wheel that doesn't poke out any further from your wheel arch than your current wheel, you will need to choose a wheel with a more positive offset.

Here is a video we made to show how you can measure the offset of a wheel if there are no labels or markings to to tell you what the offset actually is. Even if you don't need to know how to check the offset of a wheel, we still recommend you give it a watch as it'll help you to understand how offset works in greater detail.

We’re not going to lie, it can be a bit of a minefield, which is why we set up our Will They Fit? Website. Simply enter the details of your current wheel and tyre setup, enter your new desired setup and the website will do all of the maths for you, along with drawing a handy diagram to demonstrate the differences between the two.

For a lot of cars that we deal with on a regular basis, we can offer you tried and tested wheel sizes and offsets depending on the look you want to go for. Take a look at our Wheel Fitting Guides to see if we have wheel fittment data for your car.

Whether you want a set of wheels that will bolt on right away or you’re willing to heavily modify your wheel arches in order to fit the most aggressive wheels possible, we’re here to help!

Wheel Construction
You might have heard the terms “one-piece”, “two-piece” and “three-piece” when it comes to describing wheels – this refers to how that particular wheel has been made.

One-piece wheels are generally manufactured from a cast or, in some cases, a solid block of aluminium. One-piece wheels almost always tend to be lighter than their two or three-piece counterparts and are usually less expensive to manufacture. One-piece wheels are normally only available in fixed widths and offsets. Aside from sometimes being able to be drill them with custom PCDs (depending on the manufacturer), one-piece wheels can’t really be tailored to suit your car. They’re a much more “off-the-shelf” type of wheel, which makes them ideal for those using their cars on track or for drifting, as it’s possible a wheel might get damaged and will need to be replaced as quickly as possible. You can find one-piece wheels from WORK, JR, Rota and Cosmis in the Driftworks store.

1-Piece Wheel Diagram

Two-piece wheels are generally custom wheels, with the manufacturer being able to build them with widths, offsets and colour finish combinations that suit you. As the name suggests, two-piece wheels consist of two main pieces: the barrel and the face. The barrels can usually be manufactured to any width you require (in 0.5” increments), while the wheel face can then be inserted in the barrel with the offset you have chosen. The face is then welded to the barrel, completing the wheel. Due to the nature of their construction, it is possible for the faces and outer lips to have two separate finishes. For example, a black wheel face with a polished outer lip is a common colour combination for those wanting a classic and stylish look. You can find two-piece wheels from WORK Wheels in the Driftworks store.

2-Piece Wheel Diagram

Three-piece wheels follow a similar manufacturing process to that of two-piece wheels, albeit the barrels and lips and manufactured separately and are bolted together either side of the wheel face. The benefit of three-piece wheels over their two-piece counterparts is that they can usually be rebuilt with new lips or faces if required, either in the event of an accident or if you want to adjust the overall width and offset of the wheel. Three-piece wheels are usually the most expensive as a result of this. You can find three-piece wheels from WORK Wheels in the Driftworks store.

3-Piece Wheel Diagram

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