Buyer's Guides

Reader help – How do I choose Suzuki Grand Vitara wheels?

Wheels and tyres for 4x4s are the number one ‘how do I change’ question…

QUESTION:

I need some advice about 17-inch alloy wheels for a Suzuki Grand Vitara 3.2L. I’m not interested in steel wheels. The reason for the change is I can’t find any good all-terrain tyres for my current 18-inch wheels. (I don’t consider the default Dunlop GrandTrek AT20s as good AT tyres.)

The tyre size for the original Suzuki 17″ wheel is 225/65R17. The wheel specs are:

wheel width & diameter = 6.5×17, offset = 45, PCD = 5×114.3

I can find wheels that match these specs pretty well, but mostly wider (eg. 7×17). Examples of wheels I can find that fit: CSA Motorvatr, ROH Mantis. I’m trying to stick as close to the OEM wheel offset as possible.

What else do I need to consider when choosing aftermarket wheels assuming they satisfy Australian standard AS1638?

Thanks for any help you can provide me.

ANSWER:

I would look at 16 not 17-inch wheels if you’re considering offroad use, as the more sidewall the better. The sidewall is the amount of tyre between the ground and the wheel. We have fitted 225/75/16s to our Grand Vitara and they work well, and they’re 17mm taller than stock so around 8mm more ground clearance – see title photo above. We went cheap and selected secondhand Hyundai wheels which fitted the criteria below.

When choosing wheels you have already identified most of the key specifications which are:

  • Diameter – 17-inch in your case, but as above suggest 16s, 17 inch tyres are ok for larger vehicles but the Grand Vitara is smaller and runs smaller diameter tyres, so the rim size should decrease in proportion.
  • Width – the wheel width is dependent on the tyre width and aspect ratio of the tyre. The bigger the wheel (eg 18, 19 inch) the greater the wheel has to be relative to the tyre. Consult the tyre chart for your chosen tyre and it will tell you how wide or narrow the wheel can be.
  • Offset – this is how off-centre the mounting point of the wheel is. If you are keeping the stock wheels or close to it keep the offset the same. If you are going for significantly wider tyres then you need to adjust the offset, but be aware that will have negative effects on steering and increase stress on the hubs. Tyres that poke out of the guards are also not legal so you’ll need flares.
  • PCD – pitch circle diameter. The number of studs (bolts) to fix the wheel and the diameter of a circle made by drawing an arc through the centre of each stud. In your case that’s 5 studs and 114.3mm diameter, so 5×114.3.
  • load rating – each wheel has a minimum load rating, like a tyre. Ensure the wheel you buy or source has that rating at a minimum. It’ll be stamped on the rim. That’s the only one you missed.

Once you have the wheel specs then look for manufacturers, and only buy quality wheels which are designed and warranted for offroad use. You will probably also need new wheelnuts.

Agree about steel wheels. They are heavy, reduce airflow to the brakes and while they can be belted back into shape with a hammer unlike alloys, you find you need to do that more often. Modern alloy wheels are strong enough for offroading, particularly if you choose high-profile tyres like 225/75/16 instead of 225/60/18.

Read more – complete guide to choosing a 4×4 tyre.

Old and new tyres – Cooper STT Pro 225/75/16s are a bit taller than the standard 225/60/18s, and a lot more offroad-ready!


Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is the editor of PM4x4, an offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com

  • Swee

    Thanks, Robert for the informative article. I found these alphanumeric letters stamped on the back of my Suzuki 18″ wheels: 79KO-870. Am I right to assume 870 is the load rating of the wheel in kg? So if I get a wheel with a load rating equal or higher than that I should be fine?