Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Wheel face profile?

every wheel has different profiles. the “face” may be curved to clear the brake caliper or to deal with hi/low wheel offsets. this pic is my 16" (2007)

honda oem rim which is 16x6.5". the pic shows the dim from the outer face to the mounting flange. the hubcap touches the outer edge and you can see some rusty scuffs marks. my oem 15" (2015) rims are also 6.5" wide and the offset is pretty close. both tires are 1/2" from shock tower. but the 15" wheel lug surface is at least 3/4" less than the 16" wheel. any reason why? with the same rim width?

to confuse things, the 4 wheels are a stock photo. not my actual 15" wheels
the 15" wheels in pic are not new so i assume 2010? they seem to have a deep “face” curve like my 16" wheels
why? because i am trying to find oem 16" hubcaps and noticed the face profile differences and wondered why?


different set of 16". easier to see the face. compared to the 15" version
maybe both of the sets are for older wheels? even if i put up a pic of my 2015 rims it does not change the fact that the profile of my wheels is different. guess i have to deal with it

The “face” you describe is the back side not the face. The front has no bearing on brake clearance… except a steel wheel is close but still not a face. Where the drop in the rim for tire mounting is, is far more important.

Your measurement shown is not the number normally called out for wheels. The backspacing is more important and measure exactly opposite what you have shown. If you want to determine offset, or how far the centerline of the rim is shifted from the exact center of the wheel, you measure rear rim edge to the back side of the wheel that touches the hub and front rim edge to the back side that touches the hub. The offset is calculated back minus front. So deeper rear spacing than front is positive offset. And most cars these days have from 3/4’s to as much as 2 inches of positive offset. I can go into the “whys” but it is a bit involved.

I know this isn’t what concerns you given you want to install hubcaps but I hope this helps your understanding of the wheels in front of you. Hubcaps, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, don’t concern many people anymore.


these are honda pilot rims. the lug mounting surface is quite a bit lower than the outer face/center cap in this pic. but the face profile is also much different than the civic rims. the honda website folks say they think honda just wanted a different style hubcap so they changed the wheel profile to do this. my 15 and 16" rims are both 6.5" wide. i bet money the offset is the same as the clearance from the tire edge to the strut coil spring is also the same. but the curve of the rim is different. why? who knows

I used a web based wheel and tire vehicle compatibility calculator years ago. I don’t remember what it was called. My new 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse RS was very disappointing in the handling department with 195/65/15 POS Bridgestones. My 1990 Mazda RX7 that was being stored had 225/50/16 Toyos. I was quite surprised that they were compatible. I made the swap and the Eclipse became a different car in a very good way. Try searching for the site it is pretty amazing.


I’m pretty sure it won’t help with your hubcap issue, but take a look. Otherwise you end up taking your hubcap to a junk yard and using trial and error.


You’re surprised that truck/large SUV wheels are different design than econobox car wheels?

i can see the different profiles. both sets of wheels are the same width, 6.5".
my wheel is on the right. it is 2015.
my car is civic. set of 4 is advertised as civic wheels
dont know how old the set of 4 wheels is. different profiles? why?wheel

  1. To support a different appearance package design
    B. Continuous improvement- may be for cost or performance reasons
    III. Planned obsolescence

Take yer pick…

Because they can.

New supplier was $0.05 less expensive a wheel.