Q: Do I need hub centric rings for my new wheels?
A: We recommend using hub centric rings on all aftermarket aluminum wheels that will accept them.
Hub centric rings fit in the center bore of the wheel and over the hub pilot on the axle. They fill the gap between the two surfaces. The rings can be made from metal or plastic.
How do they affect performance?
Hub centric rings keep the wheel centered on the axle during installation.
A wheel mounted slightly off-center will vibrate while driving. It’s possible to center the wheel by following proper installation technique.
However, hub centric rings make the job much easier.
Which wheels don’t need them?
- OEM wheels are made for a specific vehicle. They have a specific center bore diameter to fit a specific hub pilot diameter.
- Steel wheels have a thinner mounting surface. This makes them too thin to accommodate a hub centric ring.
- Any wheel that uses a push-through center cap will not accept hub centric rings.
- Any wheel with an “as cast” (non-machined) center bore, like the Cragar S/S, won’t accept hub centric rings.
How do I choose the right ones?
- Plastic rings are best for streetcars in areas where rain, snow and road salt are a concern. Metal rings can corrode, making it difficult to remove the wheel.
- Metal rings are better for race cars and other vehicles that get driven harder, creating more heat. Plastic rings can melt.
Hub centric rings are available in a variety of sizes to fit different wheel/vehicle combinations. You will need to know:
- The center bore diameter of the wheel, and
- The hub pilot diameter of the vehicle.
For most wheels, the center bore diameter is listed on the SummitRacing.com.
Measure the hub pilot on each hub with a set of dial calipers. Then, select the rings that most closely match the sizes of your wheel/vehicle combination.
This is another in a series of weekly Q&A Mailbag sessions with Summit Racing‘s tech department, in which there are hundreds more. Click here to see them all.
Shouldn’t the hub rings also provide a direct load path from the wheel to hub? Without a hub ring, we’re counting on clamping force and friction to put the wheel load into the hub – until they nuts loosen and the wheel bears directly on the studs. I don’t think the wheel studs are designed with shear load in mind because the OEMs use the hub pilot and OE wheel fit to put the load directly into the hub. Similarly, it’s my understanding that wheel spacers that are not hub centric can cause problems because of the way they load the wheel studs. This would be the same principle in that the subject wheels don’t load the hub directly. That being said – and I understand the concern about corrosion – wouldn’t metal (stainless or aluminum) hub rings be a better choice than plastic for the load? I know tire shops I’ve asked about spacers (for aesthetics)recommend checking your lug nut tightness regularly when you run wheel spacers.