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Mustang Wheels - A Simple Buyer's Guide

Written By: Andrew Cilio

This guide breaks down the wheels we carry into four categories – year, style, color and size – so all you have to do is decide how you want to shop. Looking for different tire sizing calculations, or just want to see how much those new rims are going to throw off your speedometer? Our tire size calculator will help you solve fitment and spacing issues.

American Muscle

Mustang Wheel Sizes

One of the questions we get most often is: what size wheel will fit my car? It’s a good question to ask, and all of the wheels we carry are made specifically for Mustangs. As long as you purchase a rim meant for your year Mustang, it will fit. To see a list of tire sizes that fit on stock wheels click here.

  • 16 Inch: These rims are the standard stock size rim on most Mustangs. Purchasing these wheels will give you the same handling and ride quality you already have
  • 17 Inch: Going up to 17s will give you better handling without changing the ride quality of your car
  • 18 Inch: These rims will give you better handling than 17s, with only a very slight decrease in ride quality. The change in ride quality will be barely noticeable, if at all.
  • 19 Inch: Once you reach 19 inch territory, you start really messing with your speedometer readings. If you already have a tuner this is a non issue. The decrease in performance and ride quality is more noticeable with 19s, and are recommended for later model Mustangs which have more room in their wheel wells.
  • 20 Inch: Getting 20” rims is less about ride quality and more about looks. Putting a wheel this size on your Mustang will give your car the appearance of being lowered because the wheel well will be filled. However, you may experience poor handling and ride quality in exchange.
S197 Mustang with AM Wheels

Mustang Wheel Width

Increasing the rim size enhances your Mustang’s look, and the performance of the car. Buying a wheel wider than stock will increase the contact area the wheel has with the road, which provides better handling and cornering.

  • 8 Inch: Stock rims are generally 16x8” or 17x8”. If you are looking to replace your wheels, but want to keep the same size rim you already have, these would be the wheels to get

The biggest benefit to buying wheels the same size as stock is most of the time you will not have to buy new tires.

Foxbody Mustang with SC Style Rims
Foxbody Mustang with 17x8 Rims
  • 9 Inch: A slight upgrade in size won’t offer much of a change in drivability. Requires new tires – unless your Mustang came with 9” rims – but you can get a lower profile, more aggressive stance. Anything from a 245/45 to a 275/40 will fit
  • 10 Inch: Combine 10” rims with 9”s in the front to get a staggered look that makes your car look fierce and ready to rumble. Using 10” rims means you can put a 285/35 tire on your 1994-2004, or a 274/40 on your 2005 car, giving it a wider looking stance and better traction off the line

Note: Available in 18” and 20” rims, these can only be used on the rear of the Mustang. See below for the reason why

  • 10.5 Inch: Combine 10.5” rims with 9”s in the front for a staggered look that make people think twice about challenging you to a race. A 10.5” rim gives you the freedom to put a very wide tire on the back end of your car – anywhere from a 275 to a 315!

Note: Available in the 17” rim, and can only be used on the rear of the Mustang. See below for the reason why!

Project MMD Rear Quarter with MMD Rims

What About Wheel Spacers?

One of the number one reasons wheel spacers are so popular is cost. You get a surprising amount perks without having to shell out for an entire new set of rims with different spacing as your old ones. So what are these perks, and when do fellow Mustang owners use spacers?

First up is aesthetics. Pushing out your stock rims so the rims are in line with your Mustang's wheel arches gives your ride a more streamlined and aggressive look while drawing attention to your rims. If you already have a set of aftermarket rims (wider or not), wheel spacers can also correct backspacing issues so your aftermarket rims look their best. Wheel spacers can also make it so you can fit wider rims under the front of your Mustang without them turning and colliding into suspension components. You can even combine spacers with aftermarket suspension components to further increase your steering angle!

Before and After Shot of 1in Wheel Spacers on a Mustang

Further on the performance side of things wheel spacers are more for brake clearance than anything else. The beefier calipers in big brake kits don't always fit under the stock rims. Pushing the rims out an inch or so will give the calipers more room to breathe, and you don't have to worry about scarring the inside of your rims or the brand new calipers.

There are some things to keep in mind before slapping on a set of spacers and calling it a day. Too big of a spacer can actually hurt your Mustang more than the wider stance could help performance. Oversized spacers can negatively affect the scrub radius (imagine two lines: one through the center of the tires and another following the angle of the suspension. The difference between where those two lines meet and the road surface is the scrub radius). Ideally your scrub radius will be zero for optimal performance. Too large of spacers can move the scrub radius and overstrain suspension components (wheel bearings, ball joints, and tie rods), making them wear out faster. All considered, make sure you don't over shoot what you need.

Brembo 6-Piston Big Brake Kit for Mustangs
6-Piston Big Brake Kit

Why Can’t I Put a 10" or 10.5” Rim on the Front of a Mustang?

The front end of a Mustang is set up in a way that will fit at largest a 9” rim. The brakes, struts, A-arms, etc. are located in or around the wheel well, and the wheel and tire are used to hold them in place. Because of their location, it's impossible to use a wider wheel without a significant amount of rubbing on either the inside or outside.

2013-2014 Mustang with RTR Wheels on the Front

Why Can’t I Put a 17x10.5” Rim on the Rear of my 99-04 Cobra?

The 99-04 Cobras have an independent rear suspension (IRS). Using a larger wheel means the tire’s sidewall will rub the rear IRS subframe-mounting bolt.

However, by changing out the stock half-inch factory IRS subframe bolt with a shorter one, you can use 17x10.5” rims. As mentioned above, a 10.5" rim can handle up to 315mm wide tires!

2003 Cobra Terminator Mustang

Mustang Wheel Finishes

Almost as important as size and width is the color wheel you choose. Choosing the right color means giving your car the perfect look and adding class at the same time.

  • Chrome Wheels: Our best selling wheel. They are triple-plated with a clear coat finish. Extremely shiny and reflective, these wheels add class to any Mustang
  • Polished Wheels: Bare aluminum wheels that are polished. These wheels do not have a clear coat
  • Painted Wheels: These wheels start with a basecoat, followed by multiple layers of automotive grade paint, and are finished with clear coat. The painted wheels we carry are our silver, black, anthracite, and white
  • Machined Wheels: These are painted wheels with portions of the aluminum wheel machined down so that it looks like bare aluminum before clear coat is added. Only the face of the wheel is machined. Machined wheels can be identified by the thin lines cut into the aluminum surface during the processing of the wheel – it looks almost like a CD, but is very hard to detect
  • Hypercoated Wheels: Sometimes referred to as “black chrome,” “liquid metal,” or “gun metal.” They are painted, polished and finished with a metallic clear coat. These wheels change shades of grey/silver in different lights

Note: chrome and polished wheels require more attention to cleaning to maintain the integrity of the finish.

How much can I lower my car if I get larger wheels? A Mustang shouldn’t be lowered more than 1.5” – 1.75” to maintain good handling and ride quality. The springs we sell will not lower the car more than 1.5” in the rear and 1.75” in the front. As long as you use the best tire fitment for your wheels, then you should not have any issues with lowering your car 1.5” – 1.75”.

Mustang GT with Chrome Wheels

What is a Deep Dish Wheel? 

Deep dish wheels mean that the outside lip is deeper than the lip on a standard wheel, with the face of the wheel set back from the outer edge. Many Mustang owners give their rides a staggered look, putting wider, deep dish wheels in the rear. This gives the car an aggressive look, while also providing more traction during acceleration.

We have deep dish rims in 9”, 10” and 10.5” widths, and all have a 2” lip. In the pictures below, you can see that the non-deep dish rim has spokes that are almost at the edge of the wheel. With the deep dish rim, the spokes are set back 2” from the outer edge.

Black Bullitt Mustang Wheel 18x8
Non Deep Dish Black Bullitt Wheel
Deep Dish Black Bullitt Mustang Wheel
Deep Dish Black Bullitt Wheel

Different Year Mustangs & Wheel Compatibility

From the years of 1994-2014, the bolt pattern for wheels remains the same, 5x114.3. As a result, by the book, 2010 Mustang wheels will fit on a 1994 Mustang and vice versa. However, it is not as simple as it would appear. While the wheels would bolt up, the offsets and backspacing on the wheels may differ. In layman's terms, this is where the hub of the wheel will be in relation to the overall width of the wheel.

For example, if a wheel was 9 inches wide, the hub could be manufactured to be 6 inches inside the wheel, which leaves only 3 inches on the other side of the wheel. While this combination could work on a 1999 Mustang and fit inside the wheel well; the same combination on a 2007 GT500 would result in the wheels sticking outside the wheel well. These can be fixed with wheel spacers, depending on what year wheel is going on what year Mustang.

It can be summarized in this small list:

  • SN95 Mustangs (1994-2004) can use 2005-2014 wheels; they will be tucked inside the wheel well and require a spacer
  • S197 Mustangs (2005-2014) can use SN95 model wheels, but they will stick outside of the wheel well
  • SN95 wheels can be utilized on a 1979-1993 model provided the Fox Body has been converted from a 4 lug setup to a 5 lug setup
  • All wheels will fit 2015 Mustangs, however they need different lug nuts for proper fitment
  • 2015 Models also will accommodate 2005-2014 models without the need for a spacer

How Do Larger Wheels and Tires Affect My Speedo?

A speedometer determines the output by reading how quickly a wheel rotates around. The computer has a fixed size of calculations for determining said rotating speed. As a result, larger wheels or tires will have the speedometer read higher than the actual speed. Larger wheels or tires take longer to rotate around, but the computer continues to think the wheels are spinning at the smaller size it is calibrated for. A quick tune can fix this issue, or changing the gears if it is an older model mustang.

Are Aftermarket Lug Nuts Different Than Stock?

6 spline lug nuts are generally also known as locking lug nuts. As a result, they can be harder to remove without the proper key. This can deter theives from stealing wheels. Acorn lug nuts are the non locking type of lug nuts. They use a simple socket size that is not unique to secure the wheels to the rotors.

Fitment includes: 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, GT, V6, Cobra, ShelbyGT500, Mach1, Bullitt, Boss, LX, SVO, EcoBoost