Wheel Differences for Cars, Trucks, SUVs

A wheel rim, or outer edge that holds the tire in place, makes up the circular design of the wheel. Rim aesthetics are often discussed as a focal point of your vehicle’s style and OEM wheels are sometimes replaced with aftermarket wheels to enhance this style. However, the size of wheels on various vehicles is rarely discussed and replacing OEM wheels with alternate wheels can have some negative effects.

Wheel Size Variation

As you may guess, the wheel size for cars, SUVs, and trucks differs. Wheels are directly connected to the power transmission, giving your vehicle the traction to move. Power transmission is the movement of energy from where it is generated to where it performs. The different size of these wheels directly influences gearing. Therefore, vehicles that progress in size also progress in wheel size to account for the transmission requirements of each type of vehicle.

Bolt Pattern

A wheel’s bolt pattern dictates the amount and position of mounting holes that bolt the wheel to the hub of the vehicle. The number of bolts determines the pattern. Traditionally, smaller wheels have three bolts in their pattern. Wheels for SUV’s or compact vehicles usually have four bolts and larger trucks usually have six to ten bolts.


When someone increases the size of wheels on their vehicle for aesthetic reasons, they are effectively changing the gearing. When the gear ratio is reduced, the engine begins to operate below its power band, causing performance and fuel economy to suffer. Your driving experience can also suffer as inserting different wheels can cause significant vibrations while driving.

Knowing the wheel differences between vehicles is important for performance. Keeping the OEM wheels helps to maintain the vehicle’s optimum condition. If you have any questions about your OEM wheels or you’re looking for a specific OEM wheel, consult one of our experts today.

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