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Wheel Fitment: Understanding Vehicle Bolt Patterns

What is a Bolt Pattern?

The bolt pattern of a wheel is the layout of the mounting holes. A wheel’s bolt pattern is also commonly referred to as the “Bolt Circle” or “Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD)”. A vehicle’s bolt pattern consists of two components: the number of wheel studs and the centerline measurement of those wheel studs. A bolt pattern determines the number and position of the bolt holes on a wheel that line up with your vehicle’s studs on the mounting hubs. The bolt holes are evenly spaced around the bolt hole circle. The vehicle’s bolt pattern will determine which wheels of a given diameter will fit a vehicle and which wheels will not.

Measuring Bolt Patterns

The most common bolt patterns can range anywhere from 4-lug to 8-lug. A bolt circle of 5×114.3 would indicate a 5-lug pattern in a circle with a diameter of 114.3mm. There are a few options to measure the diameter depending on the number of lugs. If your vehicle has 4, 6 or 8 lugs, measure from the center of one wheel stud to the center of the opposing wheel stud. However, if you own a 5-lug vehicle, measure from the center of one stud to the outside of the farthest stud using a PCD gauge to get the most accurate measurement.

Measurement Conversions

A question we sometimes get asked is: “Is a 5×114.3 bolt pattern the same as a 5×4.5?” or “Will these 5×137.9 fit on my vehicle if the bolt pattern is 5×5.5?”. The short answer is yes. The metric unit is commonly used today by wheel and vehicle manufacturers. Though some companies may provide the measurement in inches, this was mostly used in the United States for classic cars and for some of the newer cars or trucks. To ensure that the difference in what you’re seeing is still correct, conversion charts are available with a quick google search or a call to your local shop.

Proper fitment is more than just PCD

Now that you’re on your way to understanding bolt pattern functionality and measurements, be sure to note that there are a few other elements included in proper wheel fitment for your vehicle. Wheel offset, backspacing, tire size and wheel size are very important factors in wheel fitment. Check with your local shop or fitment specialist to ensure that the wheels being purchased and installed are a perfect fit for your vehicle. 

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