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3 Tips for Fitting Custom Wheels

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Aftermarket tire and wheel combinations provide the performance and appearance drivers want, but the customizations can lead to serious wheel fit problems if not done properly. Tire Rack Inc. outlined three of the most common challenges for Modern Tire Dealer.

 Number one is aggressive offsets. Domestic sedans like Buicks have original equipment wheels with a conservative fit, meaning the wheels clear the plumb line of the fender by several inches. More sporty vehicles, such as the Mustang GT, show a more aggressive fit straight from the factory.

 The wheels are pushed out more to fill the wheel well. It’s that sporty look with a lower offset that reigns in the wheel aftermarket, but it’s not limited to performance vehicles, says Woody Rogers, Tire Rack’s product information specialist.

 Adjusting the offset to an extreme can affect how the car handles, says Rogers.

“I’m beginning to alter the handling characteristics of the car, maybe not from an unsafe standpoint, but it sure is going to start driving funny at some point,” Rogers says. “The steering feel is no longer the same as it was tuned from the factory. That can have a negative impact for the consumer.

“They may not realize what is happening, or what’s the root cause. They may blame it on the tires. They may live with it, but over time they’ll say it’s just not right. Not everyone perceives things right away, but given enough time even the least attentive driver will pick up on small details.”

The delayed recognition causes trouble down the line for the consumer, and for the tire or wheel dealer.

What else should technicians watch for when customers want to dress up their rides? To find out, see “3 problematic wheel fits” online, or in the November 2015 digital or print edition of Modern Tire Dealer.

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