Wheels Buying Guide
Plus sizing involves replacing your vehicle's original tires and wheels with a wider tire and a larger diameter wheel. Not only does this improve your vehicle's stability and handling by putting more rubber on the road, it also gives your vehicle a distinctive look of performance.
When plus sizing ensure that the total diameter of your tire and wheel remains the same as your original tires. A variance of more than 3% from your original equipment can cause problems with transmission shift points, which can decrease fuel mileage. It can also confuse braking system computers, which can even lead to brake failure.
With a wider wheel, you will need a lower-profile tire (ie., a tire with a shallower sidewall).
Low profile tires don't have as much "give" along the sidewall, which results in a rougher ride-you are trading comfort for performance.
Here's the rule of thumb for "plus sizing":
|Plus 1 Sizing||Plus 2 Sizing|
|Increase tire section width by 10 mm||Increase tire section width by 20 mm|
|Decrease tire aspect ratio by 10 points||Decrease tire aspect ratio by 20 points|
|Increase wheel diameter by 1 inch||Increase wheel diameter by 2 inch|
You can easily find out the wheel size that is required for your vehicle by looking at the side of your tire. On the tire wall you will find a sequence of letters and numbers that looks something like this: P215/40R15. To determine what wheel diameter is required, you need only refer to the last two digits. This number denotes the diameter of the current wheel. In the example provided, the wheel would need to be 15" in order to fit the tire. This diameter stretches from the lower wheel bead (not including the wheel flange/lip) to the upper wheel bead (not including the wheel flange/lip). This is where the inner edges of the tire sit on the wheel. In order for the wheel to be compatible, it must be the exact diameter shown on the tire wall.
|7 = Inches (”) between the inner and outer bead of the wheel.|
|15 = Diameter -inches (”) between the wheel beads where the tire sits. This measurement does not include the wheel flange.|
Determining the wheel width is not quite as simple, as a physical measurement is required. Since the tire is already mounted on your wheel, you can use our online Tire Selector to find out what size of wheel your vehicle requires. This tool will tell you what your wheel size should be. In order for your tire to fit and perform correctly, the wheel width needs to be accurate within a few half inches. You should consult with an Auto Service technician before varying from the recommended factory wheel width.
The offset of a wheel is the distance from the mounting surface of the wheel to the true centerline of the wheel. A zero offset wheel places the mounting surface even with the wheel's centerline.
A positive offset means the mounting surface of the wheel is positioned in front of (to the outside of) the true centerline of the wheel. This brings the tire in to the wheel-well more.
Conversely, a negative offset means the mounting surface of the wheel is behind the true centerline of the wheel (closer to the brake side). This will cause the tire to stick out away from the vehicle.
Your wheels are attached to your car on bolts. When selecting wheels, you will need to ensure you choose ones that match the bolt pattern on your car. Wheels have a variety of bolt patterns, and some wheels can even accommodate 2 different bolt patterns, which allow them to be mounted on a wider range of vehicles.
Most bolt patterns are represented in the following manner: 4/100
In this example, the "4" indicates the number of holes in the wheel for the bolts to enter and mount the wheel onto the car. The "100" indicates the diameter of the bolt circle measured in millimetres or inches. (The bolt circle is the area that would be created if you ran a circle around the wheel through the centers of each bolt hole.)
Winter tires can make a big difference in the cold and snow. Having separate wheels for your winter tires will make the seasonal switch quick and easy.
When you install your winter tires on their own set of wheels, you only need to have your tires mounted once. Each season, you save the cost of mounting and unmounting tires from your wheels, plus you also eliminate the additional tire wear this can cause. By eliminating remounting, you can also avoid damage to your tire pressure monitoring system or its components.
Multi-Fit Steel Wheels
Many people only consider steel wheels when thinking of a separate set of wheels for the winter. But you don't need to sacrifice aesthetics or performance for convenience. Most of today's alloy wheels are clear coated with a rust-free, resilient finish to withstand harsh weather conditions. Our extensive selection of in-stock and special order wheels ensures you can get the ideal winter wheels for your vehicle.
This refers to the center hole in the wheel that centers the wheel on the hub of the car. Most wheels are mass-produced, and have a large center bore to accommodate several different vehicles. If this is the case, a hub ring help ensure you are properly centering your wheel on the hub of the vehicle.
Hub rings are hard plastic or metal rings that fit between the wheel and the vehicle's hub. Without hub rings, it is possible to get vibrations because the wheel may not be precisely centred on the hub.
The hardware holding your wheels to your car is often-overlooked when installing new wheels. Most aftermarket wheels require different wheel nuts and bolts than what was used on your vehicle's original wheels.
Wheel nuts and bolts have many different seats (where the nut touches the wheel). The 3 most common are acorn seat (conical), ball seat (radius), and mag shank seat. These differences along with different lengths and diameters can make proper hardware selection a challenge.
When purchasing wheels, be sure to consult with the experts in the Canadian Tire Auto Service centre for help on choosing the correct mounting hardware.
All alloy wheels should be installed using a torque wrench to ensure that the nuts on your wheels not are too tight or too loose. Loose nuts are an immediate hazard for falling off from vibrations while driving. Over-tightened nuts can damage bolt threads or break the fasteners. Check your vehicle's manual for correct settings.
When you install wheels for the first time, you should re-torque your wheels after about 100 km to 150 km (60 to 90 miles).
Alloy vs. Steel
The main differences between alloy and steel wheels lie in their durability, strength and appearance.
Steel wheels are the standard equipment provided on many vehicles, and are seen by many as a practical choice. These are generally painted black, and often covered with hub caps for aesthetics. Steel wheels are economical, and you can find a complete selection at Canadian Tire, including OE wheels with an original factory fit, and Multi-fit wheels, designed and guaranteed to fit multiple vehicles.
Alloy wheels are an investment that improves looks and performance. Alloy's extra strength material provides longevity and positively affects tire wear. Most high-performance wheels are made of an alloy and composed of aluminum and other metallic substances. The result is that alloy wheels are 15-20% lighter than steel, and the weight reduction will improve steering response and handling, as well as acceleration and braking.
Canadian Tire offers two wide selections of alloy wheels:
In our in-line assortment features multi-fit alloy wheel designs in 4 different styles, including clean 5-10 spoke designs.
If you are looking for something more unique, Canadian Tire offers an unequaled source of custom alloy wheels through our special order program. Choose from over 2,000 part numbers and 150 different styles to create a look that is truly your own.
Most alloy wheels are made in one-, two- or three-piece construction types.
- One-piece wheels are cast or forged in a mould as a single piece.
- Two-Piece wheels are constructed from two separate pieces (centre and barrel) that are usually welded or bolted together.
- Three-piece wheels are made of three separate pieces: a center, an inside wheel, and an outside wheel. These pieces are bolted together using high quality fasteners.
The manufacturing method used to create a wheel or its parts is integral to the overall quality and performance of a wheel. The most common types of manufacturing techniques employed are:
- Low-Pressure Casting is the most common form of wheel manufacturing. Liquid metal is poured into a mould and allowed to harden until the finished wheel is cool enough to be removed from its casting.
- Counter-Pressure Casting is opposite to low-pressure casting, the liquid metal is not poured, rather it is sucked into the mould using a vacuum. This reduces impurities, making the wheel much stronger than a low-pressure cast wheel.
- Forging is considered to be the highest quality manufacturing technique, forging compresses a solid piece of aluminum called a "billet" into an aluminum wheel by combining heat with over 13 million pounds of pressure. This process results in a wheel that is both stronger and lighter than standard aluminum wheels.
- Roll forging is a subset of forging. In this process, a metal blank is run through rollers with impressions sunk in to their surface giving the wheel its final shape. This allows the wheel to be produced with less aluminum, reducing weight but maintaining strength.
Keeping your wheels clean isn't just about fleeting good looks-it's about protecting your investment. Your brakes transfer heat to your car's wheels. This heat in turn can cause any dirt or brake dust to bake into the protective finish. If this happens, there's not a lot you can do besides having your wheels refinished or replaced.
Taking good care of your wheels is easy:
- Do not use household cleaners or other detergents to clean your wheels. The best wheel cleaning solution is the same mild soap and water solution you would trust on the paint of your car. Clean with a soft, un-abrasive cloth.
- Aluminum wheel polish is only suitable for polished wheels. If you use this polish on chrome, painted, or clear-coated wheels, you will only scratch or dull the finish.
- Do not use steam cleaners in automatic car washes.
- Do not let tire cleaning products get onto your wheels.
- Clean wheels when they are cool. Heat can affect the soap, causing it to dry on the wheel and become difficult to rinse off.
- Clean one wheel at a time. This also prevents the soap from drying onto the wheel.
- After your wheels are clean and dry, apply a coat of soft paste-style wax to them. This will create a moisture barrier and help ensure the finish lasts as long as possible.