In most cases, American automobile manufacturers used a five lug bolt pattern, starting in the late '20s. The five lug pattern remains a common trait for passenger cars and light trucks, even in modern automobile manufacturing, but every company has a different approach. For instance, General Motors wheels had two common bolt patterns, 5x4-3/4-inch and 5x5-inch. The smaller pattern is extremely common, as Camaro, Corvette, Chevelle and many more GM makes and models featured the 5x4-3/4-inch pattern. The larger pattern was used for light trucks, as well as many full size cars in the Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac lines.
When it comes to Ford wheels (including Mercury and Lincoln), it also comes down to two common five lug bolt patterns, 5x4-1/2 and 5x5-1/2, although Ford did produce a few passenger cars with 5x5-inch bolt pattern. The small pattern, again, was mainly used for mid-size and full size passenger cars starting in 1949, such as Fairlane, Galaxie, Torino and more, while the larger 5x5-1/2-inch pattern was used for light trucks. Also remember that the 5x5-1/2-inch pattern was common for early Fords, ranging from 1928 to 1948, with the exception of "wide 5" hubs, which were only available from 1936 to 1939. Wide 5 wheels are very easy to identify, because of the extremely large five lug bolt pattern--10-1/4 inches to be exact. Wide 5 wheels are pretty rare, and there are no reproductions of these wheels currently on the market.
Finally, we end this bolt pattern lesson with Mopar, which used 5x4-1/2-inch bolt patterns for many of its vehicles for quite some time. The only exception is the smaller 5x4-inch bolt pattern, which was used on smaller vehicles such as the Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart. One difference in typical Mopar wheels is the center hole is typically smaller than that of a Ford wheel, even though the bolt pattern is the same. Also, it is important to note that many Mopar applications from the '60s and '70s had left-hand-thread
and right-hand-thread lug nuts
for each side of the car.
So, how do you measure bolt pattern? A measuring tape, yard stick or even a ruler can be used as a measuring tool. For any even number lug bolt pattern (4, 6, 8, etc.) simply measure from the center of one stud, to the center of the stud across from it. And in the case of five lug patterns, you must measure from the center of the first stud to the outside edge of the stud furthest away from it. See our illustration for a more basic view of this process.
Coker Tire offers wheels for all four of the popular five-lug bolt patterns, as well as some six-lug
applications. Check out our full selection of wheels and be sure to do your homework before placing an order--you'll be glad you did!