Tech Time: Complete Guide of Aftermarket Wheels in 2020: Size, Material, Finish, and Trends

The automotive wheel industry has become big business. Even after the recession’s high-impact, it is currently a $2 billion market. Wheels performance and style are continually evolving thanks to technological advancements during manufacturing and design process.

Customizing wheels is an exceptional way to show your individual personality and taste. They demand more fashionable designs and lasting high-quality products. Therefore, these merchandise trends are constantly changing to suit buyers’ needs and boost visual appeal. From minor investments, to prices well over $20,000 for a set of wheels, a variety of customization levels are within reach. The different widths, diameters, and styles adjust to different budgets and vehicle compatibility.

The following article aims to help new buyers learn everything they need to know about wheel fitment and proper sizing for each vehicle. Furthermore, it will reveal the latest aftermarket wheels trends and newest design recommendations for customization veterans.

Customization requires understanding the basic principles for wheels and tires compatibility with the vehicle. This way, the right selection guarantees a stunning appearance, a safe ride, and the highest-quality performance. 

Bolt Patterns

Aftermarket wheels can boost performance and aesthetics. However, one of the first things to confirm is the number of lugs and your bolt pattern. The bolt pattern is formed through lugs and holes and are expressed through two representative numbers. The first one is to represent the total number of lugs in the pattern. The second one is used to express lugs’ distance from each other. For instance, a 4×114.3 tire has four lugs spaced 114.3 mm from each other.

Centerbore Sizing

Hub-centric wheels are a common trend in the market. Most current vehicles come with these extruded rings that interface with the wheels. This is a way manufactures lessen vibration and stress over the mounting studs. However, non-hub-centric wheels can fit in a different center bore with a set of ring adapters.

Each hub comes with a raised edge, which aims to connect wheels’ center bores. The distance between the hub’s center bore should be minor than the wheel’s. This way, the user can find a tool in the inexpensive and useful ring adapters. Under the terms above, rings will slip onto hubs and wheels, making everything fit perfectly even if they are not supposed to.

Wheel’s Fitment

To make the right decision for a wheel and tire customization, it is necessary to keep in mind the following three measures and recommendations.

  • Wheels’ diameter. Lighter and smaller wheels are always the right pick for boosting performance. However, not getting too far away from the vehicle’s advised diameter will ensure it fits. Downsizing too much can lead to brake calipers and other pieces receiving too much load damage or rubbing against the wheel.
  • Tire height. Plus-sizing is increasing the wheel’s diameter and maintaining the outer diameter of the tires. This enhances vehicle performance and look and avoids failures on the traction control system.  A great combination of larger wheels and smaller tires profile also avoids transmission shift point problems and fuel mileage decrease.
  • Wheel Width and Offset Stamps. Wider rims do not only provide stability in dry conditions and improved handling, but these also lead to better steering. The wheel’s offset is the gap measure within the centerline and its hub-mounting surface. The manufacturing offset determines where the wheel’s positioning, track width, and suspension system interact. The mounting surface of the wheel is on its centerline in a zero wheel offset. In contrast, positive offsets imply that the mounting surface is facing the outside of the wheel. The opposite, negative offsets, represent mounting surfaces tucked back closer to the inside edge. Taking a wrong offset and backspacing measurements leads to malfunctioning, poor performance, and a bad look. A great tip is to look for the original wheels’ offset onto its backside, since most wheel manufacturer’s mold or stamp it there.

Wheel and Tire Market Trends in 2020

The right combination of the above elements can boost a vehicle’s fashion and style with the right custom wheels manufacturer (that’s one of my favorites). Moreover, it can enhance performance, safety, and stability. Technology in wheels manufacturing has led to the development of new products and the continued launching of merchandise with performance and quality improvements.

On the other hand, truck customization is a growing popular tuning niche.  Pickups, SUVs, and the tuning of crossover vehicles are the current market leaders. This has led to a rise in demand for new and better stuff. This is especially true for the off-road tire segment, where mud-terrain and rugged-terrain wheels have seen growing sales. 

Tire manufacturers are on an endless search for improvements that carry to lighter and stronger products. For instance, Yokohama Tire recently released Geolandar X-AT, Advan Apex V601, and Geolandar X-CV. These products have won several awards for their ultra-high-performance and quality. However, they are not alone. A competitive display of high-tech quality products across the wheels and tires groups is in development.

Therefore, the evolutionary improvements in the market that have been taking place over the last few decades can soon experience a whole revolution. For instance, the addition of tech new sensors on tires that can provide extensive data to both users and manufacturers is under revision.

In the meantime, the light-truck market continues to be an emerging leader in the aftermarket sector. The new Baja Boss design and performance are causing excitement among enthusiasts. Amazing trail performance under a high-impact feature and aggressive styling have changed the tires market game. Likewise, although FURY Off-Road is a burgeoning brand, it has been causing ripples in the industry. Their extraordinarily broad selection and long-term manufacturer’s warranty have captured enthusiast’s attention.

Fab Fours is a company also offering innovative customization features breaking the traditional wheels market system. With a single wheel mold-making process, users can play with several ring collections to produce a unique wheel design during the purchase. Likewise, GRID Off-Road and Keystone Automotive have joined forces to produce high-standard aftermarket wheels with a unique style and finish. GD11s to 13s collection offers users a selection of sizes and finishes. Moreover, this line has a plus directional feature in which the inserts can be switched. This grants a whole new look after rotating the tires.

However, trends in the market go beyond wheels and tires. Tire lettering is a new tendency among tuning fanatics. Tire Stickers offers high-end quality lettering and innovative patterns. Both short-term and permanent lines of products engage personal and commercial fans. Moreover, personalization gadgets do not stop with tire lettering. VMS offers additional wheel design and personalization through true forged steel spike lug nuts. A collection with eleven designs and thirteen different finishes, along with diameter and length modification presents the fans with a great tool for customization. Moreover, each of these styles can be torqued to factory specifications. Additional features like stripping and scratch-free come along with this great product.

Nonetheless, having a stunning wheel style is not necessarily as complicated and costly as it can be. Coast to Coast has launched a collection for those utilitarian trucks who desire to have a fresh look without sacrificing their horsepower. Functionality and style come with this company’s Imposter Series Wheel Skins. They offer cost-effective skins upgrades. Coast to Coast clads or wheel liners are meant to simulate wheel customization. From the traditional and always reliable chromed styling to machined, gloss, black, and bronze, their color product selection is wide. The trim level appearance will stand out under these easy-to-install skins.

Wheels and tires customization trends change yearly. The market is launching new products and gadgets to offer all the options possible. The aftermarket industry is thriving in its efforts to answer the fans’ demand for quality and technology. Different styles and lighter, stronger wheels are in current development, waiting to be released.  However, dynamics changes may come after the IoT and technology features are added to these products.

Finding high-performance tires and luxury wheels is an easy job in today’s vast market. However, it is imperative to make the right decision for both user’s needs and vehicle requirements. Wheels’ customization is a ride waiting for you to get started.

Header Image: Vossen Wheels