Wheels, Tires and Brakes FAQ - Honda Civic Forum

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Wheels, Tires and Brakes FAQ

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Old 02-10-2004
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Post Wheels, Tires and Brakes FAQ

Ok, not really, but now that you're in here, please read it.
... Your Neighborhood Friendly Moderators

Provided by Boilermaker1

Now here's why.

Factory Honda lugnuts are Ball Nosed (spherical ended). Why? Who the hell knows. Probably because they're better for use with steelies, but thats what they use.
No aftermarket wheels that I am aware of require the ball nose nuts.
Most, if not all aftermarket wheels use a Conical (cone-shaped) taper. The shape of the nut usually gives it it's nickname, the acorn lugnut. Most common is the 60 degree taper. The only wheels I'm aware of that don't use a 60 degree taper are Mugens (45 deg).
Since its basically required that you need new lugnuts, you still have a couple of things to figure out.
Tuner or Standard Nuts?
This is dependent on the wheel. If the design of the wheel has deep holes for the lugnuts, and they're small holes (as if they wanted to hide them), then you probably will need tuner nuts.

The alternative is the standard lugnut. They have the hex pattern on the outside of the nut like a regular nut does.

The other choice you may have is long shank or short shank. If you have extended studs, you need long shank ones. But even with the stock studs, if you like the look of the long ones, then they can be used. Most racing nuts are available with open ends, its often required by racing bodies that they be that way, I don't know why.

Final number that you need to know is the thread pitch of the lugnut... its 12x1.5mm. There is no choice in that... thats what Honda says it is.

What happens if you don't get new ones?
Think of the round peg in a square hole thing your mom told you as a kid.
You stuff a round end in a conical hole, its going to put all the load on a very thin ring where the spherical lugnut end actually contacts the taper. Then you'll torque it down and make an impression in the aluminum. Then you'll drive around, continually stressing that thin ring of contact. Eventually, you'll crack the seat in the wheel. Now if you used the right lugnut, you'd distribute ther force over the whole conical area like its designed to, and nothing happens to the lugnut seats.

How much do my rims weigh?

mySportscar.com (for wheel weights) - will tell you the weight of most popular rims in a variety of sizes.

Stock Steelies are 18-19 lbs

99-00 Si Rims are 16.5 lbs (03 EX 2 Dr., same wheels)
GS-R Hammerheads are 16 lbs
GS-R Swirlies are 16 lbs
LS Webs (I don't know, someone tell me)
2002 Si Rims are 20 lbs

HX rims are 12 lbs

Sizing info for 7th Generation Civics

Bolt Pattern: 4x100

Offset: +45 mm (But remember they're only 6" wide)

Centerbore: 56.1mm

Lug Nuts : 12x1.5

Stock rim is 14x5.5 (LX/DX) and 15x6 (EX)

Info about swapping other Honda wheels...

You can swap other Civic factory wheels and older Integra (NOT RSX) wheels except for the DC2 Type R.

Accord rims have a 4x114.3 bolt pattern, the S2000, Accord V6 and all new Acuras have 5 lug hubs and will not fit.

Q: What is inertia and what does it do?

A: Inertia is the energy required to get your wheels moving. The larger the rim, the harder it will be to turn at first because the weight is concentrated farther from the center of rotation (the wheel hub). Bigger rims also tend to be heavier and the combination of increased weight and inertia is not helpful if you're trying to go fast. However, larger rims (to a point) with lower profile tires are beneficial for cornering, as there will be less roll under of the tire due to the smaller side wall.

Q: What's a good size for my needs?

A: Well, if you want to drag race, a smaller rim will mean faster starts (less inertia, less energy needed to start moving)

For Autocross/Road course, no more than 17". 17s will give you the ability to run with bigger brakes (AEM, Wilwood, etc…) and give you smaller profile tires to run with, minimizing tire roll. Be advised that brakes larger than stock will take you out of Stock and STS... you will move into SM or another more open class.

All show, no go, the biggest I've heard is 19's, I don't think dubs will fit, nor do I know of any with 4 lug patterns.

Q: The offset on the rims I want is different than stock, will it work?

A: It depends. If there is not enough offset, you'll have trouble with the brakes fitting in. There are also some rims with very wide lips ("Deep Dish") that are intended for RWD cars that may not work. The offset is the distance (in mm) from the centerline of the rim to the mounting face on the rim. Positive offsets will bring the wheel further into the fenderwell, Negative will push them out. Anything in the 37-44 range should work no problem, but it also depends on how wide the new rim is. Remember that the offset of the new rim is relative to that rim, NOT the stock one. Assuming positive offsets (you shouldn't use negatives, the car will be bowlegged): If the new wheel has less offset (lower number), add the offset difference to 1/2 the difference in width between the 2 rims. If the new wheel has more offset, subtract the offset difference. Less than stock will push the rim further out, more than stock will pull it in.
Offset Calculator - It's a little cheesy, but it works... it's an excel spread sheet so just open it when it asks.

Q: How were my wheels made?

A: Some companies will tell you what manufacturing process was used in the construction of the rim, here is the explainations:


Considered to be the best manufacturing technique, forging allows for the compression of an aluminum billet (one solid piece of aluminum) into an aluminum wheel using over 13 million pounds of pressure combined with heat. This produces a wheel that is both stronger and lighter then your standard aluminum wheel. A subset of forging is called roll forging. In this process, a metal blank is run through rollers with impressions sunk in to their surface giving the wheel its final shape. This allows the wheel to be produced with less aluminum, reducing weight but maintaining strength.

Low Pressure Casting

This is the most common form of rim manufacturing. Much like a casting, liquid metal is poured into a mold and allowed to harden until the finished wheel is cool enough to be taken out of the casting.

Counter Pressure Casting

Opposite to low pressure casting, the liquid metal is not poured, rather it is sucked into the mold using a vacuum. This reduces impurities making the wheel much stronger than a low pressure cast rim.

How to care for your rims:

Treat them like the paint. If you don't clean your paint with it, don't clean the wheels with it. Use car wash or mild soap, dry them with a soft rag, and apply a coat of paste wax when you wax your car. You just spent $1000 or more on your wheels, take good care of them and they'll keep you looking good too.

That's all I can think of now, if theres more, I'll add it later, or someone can just toss more in. Hope this helped you out.

Provided by Zzyzx
There are a lot of misinformation and Buzz words flying around about brakes so I did a little research and foun some good articles on Brakes.

First thing first though, Dispelling one HUGE myth....... your brakes are not what stops your car....... Your tires do.

any way These are good articles to read.
Braking Systems In plain English

Those Poor Rotors, Myths and Misconseptions.
StopTech Articles

Info on Brake Fluids...... what may be your weakest link

and Finally Brake Ducting..... Cool off them Rotors!

Have fun, heres a quick summery:

1. Cross drilled rotors DO NOTHING to improve braking or Reduceing Brake Fade.
2. Cryogenically Treating Rotors does nothing.
3. Changing the rear drums to Disks may actually Hinder braking.
4. Big Brake Kits in the front (Only) may also Hinder Braking.
5. Big brake kits can wreak havoc on ABS systems causing a measurable increase in stoping distance.
6. your tires may be the most important part of your braking system (After all you can only stop as quickly as your tires will let you).


Provided by Hondaluver
Im sorry but i just have to vent about what people think they can do with their brakes.

Every other day somebody posts how to do the rear disc brakes. People just do not search, it makes me so mad.

here are some facts about our brakes.

1. to do a rear disc brake conversion you need from ONLY a US 02-03 si: 1. calipers 2. discs 3. spindles(knuckel) 4. e-brake cables from a rsx or si 5. dust covers. (picture below)

2. You cannot move the front rotors to the back.

3. The front si brakes are the same as our front

4. Stop asking what is needed, i already posted everything

5. The rear disc swap is straight up, no cutting what so ever

6. If i just had brakes on a non-ex, I would first upgrade my cars tires, then add a ABS system, then disc pads, then rear discs. With this you will never even need to upgrade ur rotors, unless you just wanna look cool, the bigger calipers will problem make u lose your braking ability.

Currently I have Parada spec 2 tires with 215/40/18(23.5 pounds each) rubber on centerline rims 18x7(14.5 pounds each), a total of 38 pounds, 2 pounds lighter than stock rims and tires.

I have ABS(ainti-lock brakes system) which has saved me from a million accidents and does not make my rims lock up, which would lead me into a uncontrolled slide. I have rear disc brakes from a si. and i have AEM pads all around. i have slammed on my brakes and i have stopped as soon as i needed them. i think i might even compete with a porche in braking. Remember the 2 main things that will stop you are pads and tires; abs will just help the situation. these little mods are the only things i think any civic owner needs. no big brakes are going to ever going to be needed, well unless you wanna look cool. o yea, ventilation to ur calipers will help not over heating ur pads which is what most big brakes claims to stop... which can be easily solved by getting bigger rims that have good ventilation.

if i had to chose what i would do to my car it would be get 16's with some Azenis, and better brake pads... that would be all i would ever need

I will answer no more questions about what is needed for rear brakes ever again.

Majestic Honda - Parts List Provided by RiceBurner
1073309 007 1 CALIPER SUB-ASSY., R. RR. 154.51
1073310 008 1 CALIPER SUB-ASSY., L. RR. 154.51
1082874 006 2 DISK, RR. BRAKE 35.66
1095008 028 1 MUDGUARD, R. RR. 15.83
1095009 029 1 MUDGUARD, L. RR. 15.83
1082874 006 2 DISK, RR. BRAKE 35.66
1073334 001 1 KNUCKLE, R. RR. 143.28
1073335 002 1 KNUCKLE, L. RR. 143.28
1095011 005 1 WIRE B, R. PARKING BRAKE 25.54
1095012 008 1 WIRE B, L. PARKING BRAKE 24.08


Provided by Blk4blk2k1
Speed Ratings
Speed ratings signify the safe top speed of a tire under perfect conditions.

1.) Listed inside the size of the tire before the "R" Example: 195/65HR15, the preceding size is an "H" speed rated tire.

2.) Listed in the comparison header at the top of a description page of a tire. (To the right of the picture of the tire.)

NOTE: The speed rating of a tire has nothing to do with the actual size of the tire. So a 195/65HR15 tire can be substituted for a 195/65SR15 tire. However, to maintain the performance characteristics of the vehicle it is recommended that a higher speed rating be substituted.

Common speed ratings are:
Q=99 MPH, 160km/h
S=112 MPH, 180km/h
T=118 MPH, 190km/h
U=124 MPH, 200km/h
H=130 MPH, 210km/h
V=149 MPH, 240km/h
W=168 MPH, 270km/h
Y=186 MPH, 300km/h
Z=149 MPH, 240km/h and over

Uniform Tire Quality Grading - UTQG Ratings
The Department of Transportation requires each manufacturer to grade its tires under the Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) labeling system and establish ratings for treadwear, traction, and temerature resistance. These tests are conducted independently by each manufacturer following goverment guidelines to assign values that represent a comparison between the tested tire and a control tire. While traction and temperature resistance ratings are specific performace levels, the treadwear ratings are assigned by the manufacturers following field testing and are most accurate when comparing tires of the same brand.

Treadwear receives a comparative rating based on wear rate of the the tire in field testing following a goverment specified course. For example, a tire grade of 150 wears 1.5 times longer than a tire graded 100. Actual performance of the tire can vary significantly depending on conditions, driving habits, care, road characteristics, and climate.

Straight-a-head wet braking traction has been represented by a grade of A, B, or C with A being the highest. In 1997 a new top rating of "AA" has been introduced to indicate even greater wet braking traction. However, due to its newness, this grade will probably be applied initially to new tire lines as they are introduced and later to existing lines which excel in wet braking, but had been limited to the previous top grade of "A". Traction grades do not indicate wet cornering ability.

Temperature resistance is graded A, B or C. It represents the tire's resistance to the heat generated by running at high speed. Grade C is the minimum level of performance for all passenger car tires as set under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This grade is established for a tire that is properly inflated and not overloaded.

Note:UTQG ratings are not required on winter and light truck sized tires

Mounting and Balancing
A tire is balanced when the mass of the mounted tire is evenly distributed around the car's axle. Out of balance tires can have negative effects on both you and your car. While you simply don't enjoy the vibration you hear and/or feel, the life of your tires can be decreased, as well as the life of the bearings, shocks and other suspension components when subjected to prolonged vibration.

There are two main causes of vibration in your vehicle. If it is speed dependent, increasing as your speed increases, and becoming especially noticeable around 40-45 mph, it is most likely a balance-related vibration. The second possible cause of vibration is that the tire and the wheel assemble isn't exactly round. When the high spots on the tire and the wheel match to each other, it doubles the amount of runout , or "hop." If there is a hop the vibration will not end when you rebalance your tires. A hop can often be fixed by simply loosening the tire on the wheel and turning it 180 degrees, reinflating the tire after relubricating the bead. If the problem persists, rotate the tire another 90 degrees, and again 180 degrees if there is still vibration. Doing this allows for the high spot to be tried at each quarter of the wheel, and at one of the points, the tire should be round. From here, rebalance the tire and test drive to check for remaining vibration. If you still feel it, the problem is either in the tire itself of elsewhere in the vehicle.

Air Pressure
Proper air pressure makes tires wear evenly, prevents tire failure and increases handling and traction. While air pressure is responsible for the great task of supporting the weight of your vehicle, it is an easy aspect of your vehicle to maintain.

Inflation pressure is affected by changes in temperature. Because of this, the most critical times to check your pressure are in the fall and early winter months. For every ten degree Fahrenheit decrease in temperature, your tire's inflation pressure will decrease by approximately one psi (pound per square inch). Similarly, a ten degree increase will cause a pressure increase of one psi.

Since tires generally lose about one psi per month, it is important to check them regularly and often. You should be able to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle in the owner's manual or on your tire information sticker. Keep in mind that the tire pressure listed is a "cold" pressure. This means it should be checked in the morning before the car has been driven. Also, remember if you check your pressure inside an attached or heated garage, you will lose pressure when you enter the colder air outside the garage. Add 1 psi for every ten degree difference in advance to account for the temperature change.

Tire Rotation
Tire rotation is an important part of vehicle maintenance. Rotating your high performance tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles as recommended can provide performance advantages, even out tire wear and preserve balanced handling and traction of the tires.

Wear on the tires of performance vehicles is usually greater than on touring or luxury vehicles. Individual wheel positions can have different wear rates and may cause different types of wear on each tire. This is why rotating your tires at the recommended times, even if they don't show signs of wear, is necessary.

Tire wear reduces the tread depth of a tire. When all four tires wear evenly, the wear helps maintain handling, increasing the cornering traction and allows the tires to quickly respond to the driver.

Following the tire rotation advice we've given you will be helpful not only to you now, but also when the tire comes to purchase new tires. When you replace tires in complete sets, you can maintain the original handling balance. If you replace only some of the tires, the tread depth will vary and handling may not be optimum. In addition, when you replace tires in sets you have the option of improving your tires. Tire manufacturers are constantly adding new features and introducing new tires to the market. You can take advantage of the new products when you replace all four tires at a time, rather than trying to find a match for the tires you already have on your vehicle.

While beneficial in many ways, tire rotation cannot correct mechanical problems or problems caused by incorrect tire inflation.
* On front wheel drive cars, rotate the tires in a forward cross pattern (fig. A) or the alternative X pattern (fig. B)

* On rear wheel or four wheel drive vehicles, rotate the tires in a rearward cross pattern (fig. C) or the alternative X pattern (fig. B)

* If your car has directional wheels or tires, rotate them as shown in fig D.

* If your car has non-directional tires that are a different size from front to rear, rotate them as shown in fig. E.

Image courtesy of Vulcan Tire

Preventive maintenance is the key when considering wheel alignments. Keeping your wheels aligned will save you tread ware, which saves you money. You will get the best performance and wear from your tires when you routinely align your wheels. Poor alignment is a result of the suspension and steering systems being out of adjustment. This usually results in abnormal treadware. If you notice unusual wear on your tires, check the inflation pressure of your tires, and have your alignment checked.

There are three types of wheel alignments: front-end, thrust angle and four-wheel alignment. The most complete method of alignment is four-wheel alignment. Four-wheel alignment combines front-end with thrust angle and includes a check on the rear wheels as well. Front-end alignments check only the front tires. Thrust angle checks that the wheels are "squared" to each other, preventing your car from going sideways on the road.

Caster, camber and toe are the measurements that must be checked during an alignment. High-speed stability and low speed steering efforts are balanced by caster settings. If you increase your positive caster, you will increase low speed steering efforts and improve high-speed stability.

The amount the tire is tilted away from the vertical is camber. When set properly, camber will allow the tire to function optimally without putting too much of its force on the inner edge while moving in a straight line. Tire wear and handling are affected by camber. Negative camber is when the top of the tire leans toward the center of the vehicle. Decreasing negative camber gives very even wear, but will normally reduce cornering abilities. A tire has positive camber when the top of the tire is leaned outward from the center of the vehicle. The camber angle should be adjusted so that the tire is vertical under cornering load.

Toe is the difference in distance between the front and the rear of the tires. Toe-out is the term used to describe the event that the distance is greater between the front than in the rear. Toe-in, or pigeon-toed, describes the distance between the tires is less in the front.


Last edited by Derek-CEO; 09-07-2005 at 11:46 PM.
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