Your Jeep is like a blank canvas. There are dozens of different parts you can add to create the ideal version of your ride. One of the most effective ways to customize your Jeep is to add an after-market set of wheels to it.
New wheels are beneficial for two key reasons. They can make your Jeep look better and also help it drive better. This two-in-one functionality is key to why so many Jeep owners choose to install new wheels on their vehicles.
If you’re interested in purchasing a new set of Jeep wheels, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading to learn everything that you need to know about finding the best wheels for your Jeep.
A primer on Jeep wheels
There are many different brands and wheel models to choose from. Before you make a purchasing decision, it’s worth doing a little research to figure out what actually matters in a Jeep tire. With that in mind, here are a few of the most important factors to consider.
Basic Wheel Structure
Factory Jeep wheels are a single-piece design. That means there aren’t any moving parts in the wheel itself. When you purchase new wheels, they may be single-piece as well. However, they can also be what’s called multi-piece. These include bead locks and are composed of an inner lip, outer lip, central barrel, and a mounting plate/face.
What is a Jeep Wheel Offset?
Another factor to keep in mind as you shop is something called a wheel offset. This describes the distance of the mounted wheel as it relates to the inner components of your Jeep. This is important because your wheels’ offset will determine whether they sit tight against your Jeep, push outwards towards the street, or lie somewhere in the middle.
There aren’t necessarily any major performance advantages to offsetting your wheels in any of these positions. However, Jeep owners still care about this sometimes because of the stylistic impact offset wheels can have on their ride.
Of course, one of the most important decisions you’ll make when purchasing a new set of wheels is how large you want them to be. Generally speaking, factory Jeep wheels are 15” large. That’s also about the lowest size of wheels that you’ll find on the after-factory market.
Starting at 15”, Jeep wheels go up, inch-by-inch, all the way to 20”. To a large extent, the option that’s best for your needs will be based on your style preferences. However, some experts claim that larger tires are better for offroading. If that’s important to you, then you may want to find a larger complete wheel installation to match.
Jeep wheel rims
The rims you choose is one of the most important parts of purchasing a new set of wheels for your Jeep. As you consider your options, there are several key factors that you’re going to want to keep in mind.
The first is the rim’s bolt pattern. Every Jeep rim has a specific bolt pattern this is used to mount the rim to the wheel hub. Your factory Wrangler rim is probably either a 5x4.5 or a 5x5.
This just means that there are 5 lug wheels, which are spaced out evenly across the rim in a circle. You can use this guide to figure out which bolt pattern is best for your Jeep model.
You also need to consider rim size and width before buying. Part of creating a complete wheel system is matching the rims you want to the tires you want.
This is done by matching the diameter of each and following the manufacturer’s recommendations. That’s not to say you can’t bend those recommendations a bit. You just wouldn’t want to be too aggressive in creating a mismatch between the width of your rims and your tires.
What are the best wheels for a Jeep wrangler?
Ultimately, there isn’t a single best type of wheels for Jeep Wranglers. Instead, there are several different options that can be worth purchasing. Determining which one is right for you will require understanding what you need in a Jeep wheel.
For example, one decision you’ll need to make is between steel and alloy wheels. Alloy wheels offer a more attractive look and place less strain on your Jeep’s suspension. However, they aren’t as durable as steel wheels. If you plan on offroading often, then steel wheels, and their added strength, might be your best option.
Your style preferences will also play a large role in determining which wheels are the best option for your Wrangler. Most Jeep wheels offer similar functionality and design. Style is one of the only ways they can stand out from other options on the market.
Are all Jeep wheels the same?
Many wheels are marketed to owners with a specific Jeep model. However, these wheels are more interchangeable from model to model than you might imagine.
For example, Wrangler YJ and TJ wheel models are cross-compatible as are wheels built for Wrangler JK and JL models. That means you could purchase a set of wheels designed for one of these Jeeps and install it in the other without issue.
There are three major components that differentiate Jeep wheels from one another. These are their lug pattern, stud size, and hub center bore. Ensuring that a set of wheels will fit your Jeep requires knowing each of these numbers and how they compare to what your model of Jeep requires.
To make that process easier on yourself, consider checking out the information from this chart. It provides all of this data for a wide variety of Jeep models. As long as you’ve verified that the wheels you want to buy fit the numbers in this guide, you can go ahead and purchase them.
What to shop for when looking for Jeep wheels
These are five of the most important factors you need to keep in mind while shopping for a new set of Jeep wheels.
Strength determines how hard you can push the wheels without completely busting them. Steel wheels typically have the most strength out of any Jeep wheels on the market.
Aluminum and alloy wheels are still strong, but may not be a good fit if you’re going to be offroading in tough terrains weekly.
One factor that Jeep owners commonly prioritize is flexibility. A good set of wheels can work in combination with an after-market suspension to make your ride ultra-flexible. If flexibility is important to you, then you’ll want to find tires that will work well at a lower pressure and a rim set that will work with the suspension you want.
Bead-locked wheels are another feature that can add a ton of style to your Jeep. They work by clamping a tire’s bead between an inner and outer ring that gets attached to the wheel. There isn’t a ton of functionality to this, but it can make your Jeep really stand out from others on the road.
Alloy wheels are a viable option for your Jeep. They offer more style than other wheels, are lighter, and will let you accelerate and stop faster when driving your Jeep.
That being said, alloy wheels have the downside of not being quite as durable as their steel or aluminum counterparts. You may want to choose one of those options instead if you plan on offroading often.
The 5 best Jeep wheel brands
Pro Comp Alloys
Pro Comp Alloys is one of the best brands on the market. As their name suggests, the company specializes in Alloy wheels. For example, check out this stylish Series 33 Wheel. Pro Comp Alloys stands out due to its excellent products and affordable prices.
This is another brand that regularly finishes atop the rankings for alloy Jeep wheels. This product, their flagship BIG BLOCK Wheel, is incredibly unique. It offers a bead-locked design, sleek black finish, and comes in at a size of 20 inches.
Mayhem is a brand that most Jeep owners will already be familiar with. They manufacture a wide variety of wheels for just about any kind of Jeep model you may have.
Whether you prefer alloy, aluminum, or steel, Mayhem will have some great options for you to choose from. We like this aluminum wheel from them.
KMC Wheels is a wheel company that Jeep owners should be paying attention to. The company does it all and makes its products available at prices that just about anyone can afford. They recently released their XD Series wheels to industry acclaim. These wheels could be just what you’ve been searching for.