The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Squealing Tire - Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Skinny on Hub Centric Rings

The Skinny on Hub Centric Rings

We frequently see questions regarding hub centric rings so we decided to put this article together to help answer some of your questions.

First, some terms you will need to know.

  • “Hub Pilot” – Hub Pilot refers to the center of your vehicle’s axle in which your wheel rotates around.
  • “Hub Centric Wheels” – Hub centric wheels have a center bore that matches the vehicle’s hub pilot.
  • “Non Hub Centric Wheels” – Non hub centric wheels have a larger center bore than the vehicles hub pilot.

What are hub centric rings?

Hub centric rings, typically made of plastic or metal, are designed and used to fill the gap between the hub pilot of the vehicle and the center bore of the wheel.

Here’s what the hub pilot, the center bore of a wheel, and hub centric rings look like:

What purpose do hub centric rings serve?

A hub centric ring’s sole purpose is to help align and center the wheel and tire assembly on the vehicle’s hub pilot.  Once the wheel assembly is torqued, the hub centric ring’s job is complete.  Hub rings help reduce and can eliminate wheel and tire vibrations caused during installation. Hub rings do not carry any load.

Do all wheels need hub centric rings?

No, not all wheels need hub centric rings.

Wheels that are “Hub Centric” for the vehicle will fit over the vehicles hub pilot without any gap.  All original equipment and some aftermarket wheels are hub centric but most aftermarket wheels are not hub centric.

Wheels that are “Non Hub Centric” can be mounted without hub rings if the proper time and care it taken to center the wheel on the vehicle’s hub during installation.

I read that you have to run hub centric rings on non hub centric wheels or the lug nuts/studs will break do to extra load. Is this true?

This is not the case.  The vehicle’s hub pilot, studs, and lug nuts are not load bearing.  What actually holds a wheel on the vehicle is the clamping force that is created once the lug nuts are torqued to specifications set by the vehicle manufacturer.

How are hub centric rings sized?

Hub centric rings are sized by the outer diameter to inner diameter.  The outer diameter is the hub bore of the wheel and the inner diameter is the hub pilot on the vehicle.

Here’s an example:

The hub pilot on a 2000 Nissan Altima is 66.1mm. The hub bore on the 17×7 Konig Unknown (a popular wheel for this application) is 73.1mm.  From looking at the hub pilot and hub bore specs, we know there is a 7mm. gap. To fill this gap a hub centric ring is used.  The correct ring size for this particular application is 73.1(Outer Diameter) to 66.1(Inner Diameter).

Which material is better, aluminum or plastic?

There is a lot of debate on which material is best and there are Pros and Cons to both. Here’s our take on the subject.

If you live in an area where snow and road salt is present, or in an area around the ocean, plastic rings are best used.  Unlike the metal aluminum rings, the plastic rings will not oxidize and corrode.

If you push your vehicle to the limits and are constantly on the brakes, like when road racing for example, a metal hub centric ring is best used.  Contrary to what you may read, under heavy braking or racing situations, plastic rings can deteriorate from the heat being generated.  The heat can break down the plastic material making it brittle which can ultimately lead to the ring braking.  Although very rare and only under very extreme conditions, the plastic ring can melt and deform.

If your vehicle is mainly used as a daily driver, pick one and go with it, either one will get the job done.

 

Matt Johnson
Discount Tire Co.

Matt JohnsonAbout The Author: Matt Johnson (13 Posts)

I've been a Discount Tire Trusted Expert for 9 years now and an automotive enthusiast for most of my life. Whether it’s driven on the track, off-highway, or on the street, I’m interested! I particularly enjoy crunching numbers and finding truth in the technical details. Wheels and tires may seem like a simple thing but those that have tried to plus size any application know there’s a lot more to it than just rubber, steel and aluminum. Click the Author Profile Icon below to read more.


  • John L. says:

    Nice explanation, especially how it helps to center the wheel at installation time. Answers my question right on.

  • Joshua Childers says:

    If running a non hub centric wheel without the hub centric rings, will this cause the wheel to seat improperly and cause the wheel studs to oval the stud holes on the wheel? Or prevent the lug nuts from being torqued properly?

    • Travis Comfort

      Travis Comfort says:

      Hello Josh. You can run non hub centric wheels without hub rings but it can be more difficult to center them on the hub. Installation without hub rings will not prevent the lugs from being properly torqued and with proper torque the wheel should not move on the hub and cause any damage to the studs or stud holes.

  • Bill Rising says:

    Can tell me what the hub pilot measurement on a Mustang !!. My car is a 37 Ford with a Mustang II front clip and I just purchased a new set of American Racing wheels and I get some shimmy in the front and the dealer who sold me the wheels said that I need to install a set of Hubcentric spacers to eliminate the shimmy problem. I need to know what the hub pilot is on a Mustang II, I believe the measurement is the same for all years the Mustang II was made. Your help would be greatly appreciated