Wheel Design and Principles
Most of us know that changing wheel offset changes the way your car handles. On a race car, we use different offsets to help tune the chassis to the track conditions. When you change wheel offsets, it changes the amount of weight that the tire puts to the ground. We suggest that you put your car on scales and record the weight differences when you change wheel offsets. This will allow you to make proper chassis changes at the track.
It's important to have the proper backspace to ensure you have proper clearance inside your inner wheel well and fender. The backspace or offset is measured from the inside lip of the wheel to the inside of the flange mount. The smaller the number the closer the flange will be to the inside of the wheel.
The average race wheel sees a tremendous amount of pressure and abuse in its short lifetime and with a few simple tips, it may mean the difference between winning and losing.
We don’t think twice about torquing the heads or mains on a race engine but seldom do we see anyone doing the same with their wheels. Did you know if you use an impact wrench and just hammer the nuts on, there is a good chance you will end up warping the brake rotors the next time out?
Just like the heads on your engine if all the bolts are not torqued the same, you run the chance of warping them when they get hot.
Torque your wheels using a star pattern rather than just tightening them up in order. The same goes with the beadlocks. If you just crank the bolts down you run the risk the tire will not be centered on the wheel correctly. Take your time and use the star pattern.
Most racing wheels have a 45 degree taper for the lug nut to seat against, while most street wheels have a 60 degree taper. With a 45 degree taper, the lug nut is able to clamp tighter over a larger area, which helps keep your wheels on the car where they belong.
If you mix and match street and race wheels or lug nuts you are just asking for trouble! All of our racing lug nuts will have a 45 degree taper and are designed to be used with racing wheels.
Bolt patterns are simply the measurement of an imaginary circle that lies across the center-line of the lugs. Whether you are looking to adapt or match a new set of wheels, we have a simple guide to help you estimate your bolt circle.
No need to guess any longer! Speedway Motors has a precision bolt circle template that simplifies the most common 5 lug patterns for you. Check out our bolt circle template; a must-have tool for the shop or swap meet.
Some common bolt patterns used on midsized cars and light duty trucks:
- Chevy: 5-on-4 3/4
- Chevy and Ford: 5-on-5 and 5-on-5-1/2
- Ford and Mopar: 5-on-4 1/2
- Early ‘60s Mopar A body: 5-on-4