People often refer to 4x4’s as beasts, workhorses, and all sorts of other powerful metaphors. That comes as no surprise, of course, since these kinds of vehicles are indeed very powerful. Plus, they can traverse the types of terrains that no regular passenger vehicles could, all the while carrying a heavy cargo in the back.
Even so, the most capable 4x4 is only as tough as the weakest rims and tyres you put on them. That's why plenty of drivers invest their hard-earned money to upgrade 4WD wheels whenever possible.
If you’re reading this article, then the chances are that you’re interested in doing the same, though you might not know where to start. That’s alright! You’ve come to the right place.
In this quick guide, we're going to go through essential considerations for choosing the best 4x4 wheels and tyres as your next upgrade. Once you understand these factors, you'll be in a much better position to decide which brands and models will suit your needs the best.
How Do I Choose the Right Rims and Tyres for my 4x4?
To keep things simple, we’re going to look at five factors or qualities that you’ll want to consider when shopping to upgrade 4x4 wheels. They include the materials they’re made of, their sizes, load ratings, stud patterns, and terrain types.
Sure, more advanced off-roaders will probably tell you that there are other considerations as well, but you can’t go wrong with these five as your starting point.
4x4 Wheels Materials: Alloy vs Steel
The first thing to consider when choosing new 4x4 wheels is the material that it’s made of. 4x4 rims will come in either alloy or steel types, both with unique benefits.
Alloy wheels are lighter, which improves your vehicle’s acceleration. They’re also much more robust, they get rid of heat a lot quicker, and to top it all, they’re shiny and really lovely to look at.
Unfortunately, they also come with a much larger price tag. While that might not be a problem for some people, you’ll need to think twice about alloy wheels if you plan on going off-road.
You see, alloy wheels are strong (and that’s great!), but that also makes them harder to fix, especially if you’re somewhere far from civilisation.
For metal wheels, on the other hand, you would only need a hammer to beat it back into shape if they ever get dented as you drive over a big rock or something similar.
Sizes for 4x4 Tyres and Wheels
Next, you'll need to take the size of those rims and tyres into consideration as well.
Here's one thing you need to be aware of – local rules and regulations about fitting 4x4 wheels and tyres are different depending on where you live. It's always best to check on those rules to know what is or isn't allowed.
Just a general rule of thumb: upgrading to tyres significantly larger or smaller than the stock wheels is usually a bad idea.
But don't let that scare you off from wanting to upgrade 4WD wheels on your truck! Just be sure to have a conversation with the seller that you plan on buying from. Typically, reputable sellers will know the ins and outs of the regulations in your state or territory and advise you accordingly.
Load Ratings for 4x4 Wheels
Load ratings are another crucial factor to consider, especially if you’re planning on doing any off-roading. Basically, the load rating will tell you how much weight any of those individual wheels can handle at a given time.
Why does that matter?
Well, when you're driving off-road, you'll occasionally find yourself in a position where the entire weight of the vehicle is borne by only one or two of your wheels. That might happen when you're trying to navigate over rocks or larger obstacles, for example.
So, to ensure that you’re upgrading to the correct wheels for your future adventures, be sure to consult the seller so they can point you to the right wheels to suit your needs. They’ll can factor in the weight of your vehicle and do the math for you, keeping things simple on your part.
Simply put, stud patterns tell you how many bolts you'll need to remove, to change each of your 4x4 wheels, and what arrangement (or pattern) they're in. On an average set of 4x4 wheels, you'll find five or six studs that hold them in place.
Besides that, you’ll also find that the distance between each of those bolt holes isn’t the same. Those holes are somewhat closer to some stud patterns, while others may have the holes an equal length opposite each other on the wheels.
Once you’ve got the correct type of rims, you’ll need to consider the type of tyre you’ll wrap around. When talking about 4x4 tyres, the most crucial consideration is what kind of terrain you plan on driving over.
Typically, you can choose from 4x4 tyre categories like Highway Terrain (H/T), Mud Terrain (M/T), and All-Terrain (A/T). Those names make things reasonably obvious: if you spend most of your time driving on paved roads, you’ll probably do better with H/T tyres and M/T tyres for going off on muddy terrain.
Those spending a fair bit of time on both will benefit from the versatility of A/T tyres that offer more balanced traction on almost any surface.
Where is the Best Place to Buy 4WD Rims and Tyres?
These days, you can get 4x4 rims and tyres as quickly online just as you would in a physical store. Now, if you’re not entirely sure of what you’re looking for, it may be better for you to walk into a physical store that sells 4x4 rims and tyres. That way, you can ask questions from the staff and learn as you go.
However, if you're confident that you know what you want, you can just buy them online for added convenience. Check out Carpart.com.au where you can browse the Marketplace for used parts and to find excellent deals. Better yet, you can use the Parts Finder to request the exact 4x4 rims and tyres that you need.
By Ray Hasbollah