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Mustang Wheels - Buyer's Guide to Sizing, Looks, & Performance

Written By: Andrew Cilio

Selecting new wheels for your Ford Mustang, it's important to understand wheel basics in order to get the appropriate wheel. This guide will cover wheel offsets, backspacing, and bolt patterns, giving you everything you need to pick out the perfect wheels for your Mustang. This guide also breaks down the wheels we carry into four categories – year, style, color and size – so you can 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 check out the chart below.

  • 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 (assuming you started with 16) will give you better handling without changing the ride quality of your car. Ideal for road courses or just to have a nicer set of rims. 17s may improve ride quality and handling depending on what size tires you run
  • 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. You also want to be aware of potential decreases in braking performance from the added weight
  • 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

Stock Mustang Tire Sizes by Year

YearTire Size
1983-1984205/70R14
1985-1986 SVO225/50R16
1985-1988

225/60R15

1989 5 lug235/45R17
1989225/50R15
1989-1990 4-cylinder195/75R14
1990 V8225/60R16
1991-1993 2.3L205/65R15
1991-1993 5 lug235/45R17
1991-1993 GT & LX225/55R16
1991-1993195/75R14
1993 Cobra245/45R17
1994-1999 Cobra & '96 Cobra Convertible255/45R17
1994-2000 GT & GT Convertible255/55R16 or 245/45R17
1994-2000205/65R15
1995 Saleen S351R & 1996-1999 Saleen S281245/40R18
1997-1998 Saleen SR255/35R18 (front) & 285/35R18 (rear)
2000 Cobra R265/40R18
2001 Bullitt245/45R17
2001-2002 Base & Convertible205/65R15 or 225/55R16
2001-2002 Cobra, Cobra Convertible, GT & GT Convertible245/45R17
2003-2004 Base & Convertible225/55R16
2003-2004 Cobra & Cobra Convertible275/40R17
2003-2004 GT, GT Convertible, & Mach 1245/45R17
2005 GT & GT Convertible235/55R17
2005-2009 Base & Convertible215/65R16
2006-2008 Pony Package235/55R17
2006-2009 GT & GT Convertible235/55R17 or 235/50R18
2006-2007 California Special235/50R18
2008 Bullitt235/50R18
2008-2009 Shelby GT500255/45R18 (front) and 285/40R18 (rear)
2010 Base & Convertible215/60R17 or 235/50R18
2010 Shelby GT500 & Convertible255/45R18 or 285/40R18
2010-2014 GT & GT Convertible235/50R18 or 245/45R19
2011 DUB Edition255/35R20
2011-2012 Shelby GT500 & Convertible255/40R19 (front) and 285/35R19 (rear)
2011-2014 Base & Convertible Automatics215/65R17 or 235/50R18
2011-2014 Base & Convertible Manuals225/60R17 or 235/50R18
2011-2014 Performance Package & GTs w/ Brembos255/40R19
2011-2014 GT & GT Convertibles235/50R18 or 245/45R18
2012-2013 Boss 302 & Laguna Seca255/40R19 (front) and 285/35R19 (rear)
2012-2014 California Special245/45R19
2013-2014 Shelby GT500 & Convertible265/40R19 (front) and 285/35R20 (rear)
2015-2018 EcoBoost Convertible, GT Fastback, & GT Convertible235/50R18 or 255/40R19 or 265/35R20
2015-2018 EcoBoost w/ Performane Pack255/40R19
2015-2018 EcoBoost Fastback235/55R17 or 235/50R18 or 255/40R19 or 265/35R20
2015-2018 GT w/ Performance Pack255/40R19 (front) and 275/40R19 (rear)
2015-2018 V6235/55R17 or 235/50R18
2015-2018 GT350 & GT350R295/35R19 (front) and 305/35R19 (rear)

Mustang Wheel Width

Increasing the rim size enhances your Mustang’s look and 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. Check out the chart below to see which wheel options came stock on your Mustang.

  • 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. 

  • 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 and more aggressive stance. Anything from a 245/45 to a 275/40 will fit
  • 10 Inch: Combine 10” rims with 9s 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
  • 10.5 Inch: Combine 10.5” rims with 9s 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: 9" and 10" wide wheels are available as 18" and 20" rims, but can only be fitted on the rear of your Mustang. The 10.5" wide variant is available as 17” rims, and also can only be used on the rear. See below for the reason why!

Stock Mustang Wheel Sizes by Year

Year:Factory Wheel SizingFactory Bolt PatternStud sizingCenter BoreOffsetMax Wheel Size
1979-1993 Foxbody14x5.5, 14x6, 15x7, 16x7, 17x7.5, 17x84"x108mm1/2"-2063.415-25mm (M)20 inches
1985-1993 Foxbody GT15x74"x108mm1/2"-2063.415-25mm (M)20 inches
1994-2004 Base, GT & Cobra15x7, 16x7.5, 17x8, 17x95"x114.3mm1/2"-20

70.335-50mm (H)22 inches
2005-2009 Base & GT16x7, 17x8, 18x8.55"x114.3mm1/2"-20

70.335-50mm (H)22 inches
2010-2014 Base & GT17x7, 18x8, 19x8.5, 19x95"x114.3mm1/2"-20

70.335-50mm (H)22 inches
2015-2018 (Ecoboost to Performance Pack)17x7.5, 18x8, 19x8.5, 19x9, 20x95"x114.3mmM14x1.5

70.335-52.5mm (H)22 inches

Mustang Wheel Compatibility Across the Years

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:

  • Foxbody Mustangs (1979-1993) can use 1994-2004 wheels provided the Mustang has been converted from a 4 lug setup to a 5 lug setup
  • 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
  • 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
2013-2014 Mustang with RTR Wheels

Why Can't I Fit 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.

A special mention for 1999-2004 Cobras: With the 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!

How Low Can I Drop My Car with 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”.

However, if you've modified the suspension from stock, (i.e, tubular k-member, air ride suspension, etc), these mods will heavily change wheel fitments and you'll have to do additional research with the manufactures of said products to determine how it changes wheel fitments.

MMD Mustang Lowered on Air Bags

What is a Staggered Wheel Setup?

Staggered is when the rear wheels are slightly wider than the front and will accommodate a wider tire (such as having 9" wide tire on the front and 10 inch wide tires on the rear). If you currently have a wheel you are happy with and would still like to have that staggered look than you can just purchase a new set of rims for the exact same style you currently have. There is very wide selection in style and size so pick one you think will compliment your ride the most.

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 by changing the gears if it is an older model Mustang.

Looking for different tire sizing calculations, or just want to see how much those new rims are going to throw off your speedometer? A tire size calculator will help you solve fitment and spacing issues as well as give you insight into measurements and differences between tires.

2010-2014 Mustang with 18x9 on the Front and 18x10 on the Rear
Staggered Setup: 18x9 on the Front and 18x10 on the Rear

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 entirely 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!

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 things considered, make sure you don't over shoot what you need.

Before & After 1in Mustang Wheel Spacers
Before/After Installing a 1in Wheel Spacer

Wheel Finish Options

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. While it will be impossible not to notice a Mustang rolling on clean a set of chrome wheels, chrome is much harder to keep clean than other finishes
  • Polished Wheels: Bare aluminum wheels that are polished. These wheels do not have a clear coat and are duller than chrome, but can also be difficult to keep clean
  • Painted Wheels: These wheels start with a base coat, 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 gray/silver in different lights

Note: Some of the above finishes are also offered with simulated rivets around the lip of the wheel.

If you’re curious as to how a certain wheel will look on your Mustang, some of our wheel pages host a section where you can enter the year, sub-model, and color of your Mustang. The images on the page will reflect those changes so you can see what wheels suit your Mustang best.

AmericanMuscle's Mustang Wheel Customization Tool

What is a Deep Dish Wheel? 

Deep dish wheels mean 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, all of which 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.

18x10 Deep Dish, Bullitt Style Rim on the Rear of a Mustang
18x10 Deep Dish, Bullitt Style Rim

Wheel Definitions & Common Terms

So far we’ve covered the basics, but we know there are a few people who want to know the more detailed, technical jargon. We've created this portion for you and filled it with the technical information regarding your Mustang's wheels.

We’ve all heard auto techs mention terms like “offset,” “backspacing,” and “bolt pattern” when talking to them about wheels. And we’ve all nodded our heads like we knew what they were talking about even when we didn’t. Here’s a secret for you: most Mustang owners don’t know everything about buying wheels for their Mustang.

What is Wheel Offset?

The offset on a Mustang's wheel is the distance from the hub-mounting surface (read also where your rotors mount to your Mustang's hubs) to the centerline of the wheel. Imagine two vertical planes: one that's flush with the wheel's mounting surface and the second that's in line with the wheel's vertical center (while it's mounted to your Mustang, not the center cap. The center cap would be the horizontal center). The distance between those two planes dictates offset. It is very important to purchase a wheel with the correct offset for your year Mustang. If the offset is not right for your Mustang, the suspension, steering, and handling will be affected.

There are three types of offset:

  • Zero Offset: Mustang wheels with zero offset means the hub-mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel (there's no distance between the two imaginary planes)
  • Positive Offset: The hub-mounting surface on your Mustang's wheel is toward the front (face or "wheel side") of the wheel. Positive offset wheels are generally found on front wheel drive cars as well as on newer rear-wheel drive cars (the imaginary plane through the wheel's vertical center is behind the mounting surface plane)
  • Negative Offset: Having negative offset on your Mustang's wheels means the hub mounting surface is toward the back (or brake side) of the wheel’s centerline (the imaginary plane through the wheel's vertical center is in front of the mounting surface plane)
Mustang Wheel Offset Illustration

What is Wheel Backspacing?

Backspacing is the distance from the back edge of a wheel's rim to the mounting surface of the center hub. Measured in inches, backspacing is closely related to offset in that changing one affects the other. The offset is the hub surface to the centerline, and backspacing is back of the wheel to the hub surface.

This measurement is important because it determines the clearance of the wheel in the well and how much the wheel will stick out. You can measure a wheel’s backspacing by running a straight edge across the rim bead and dropping another straight edge down to the wheel face, measuring that distance.

Mustang Wheel Backspacing Illustration

What is a Wheel's Center Bore?

The center bore of a wheel is the area of the ​wheel that mounts directly onto the hub of the vehicle. This allows for complete secureness when tightening down lug nuts on the wheel studs.

How do I Read Wheel Bolt Patterns?

The bolt pattern is the diameter of the circle made by the centers of the wheel lugs. So for our 5-lug wheels, a bolt pattern of 5 x 4.5 inches means that the 5 lug pattern falls on a circle that is 4.5 inches in diameter. Bolt Pattern numbers do not have tolerance amounts. For example, a 5 x 4.75 pattern wheel would not fit on a 5x4.5 hub. There are adapters that can be utilized to change the spacing, however.

How do Wheels Affect Performance?

Not only are wheels extremely important for appearance, but certain wheels actually offer some performance benefits over others. No, a set of wheels will not add any horsepower so to speak, but they can definitely lower your track times. Increasing your rim diameter (16 to 17 for example) will reduce the amount of tire sidewall which in turn reduces tire flex. Perfect for corner carving Mustangs. Increasing rim width gives you a larger traction pad for takeoffs and gives you more room to increase your Mustang’s horsepower.

Aside from the tons of wheel companies out there making aftermarket wheels, there are a couple areas where most Mustang wheels can be grouped. Staggering wheel sets, for example, will add performance benefits like better grip off the line and improved handling through the corners, lower E.T.s, and also add to a unique look. Weight is the second category. Some wheels are heralded for being light weight and you can safely assume shedding pounds off your pony will help your lap times. A general rule of thumb is every 100 pounds you diet off your Mustang, you shed 1/10th of a second of your quarter mile time. Remember, it’s a general rule. Not hard fact. There are calculators out on the web that have more involved equations for more accurate numbers.

Foxbody About to Rip Down the Drag Track

Reduce Wheel Weight for More Speed

  • Reduce the overall weight of the car
  • Reduce unsprung weight
  • Reduce the rotating weight

Not only will these improve acceleration, but they will also help reduce stopping distance. A lower weight wheel will perform better than a heavier wheel across the board whether it's in drag racing or road racing.

Reducing overall weight is a plus because it's less weight for your Mustang to haul around while slightly increasing your power to weight ratio. Unsprung weight is the mass of the suspension, wheels, and other components that aren’t supported by the springs. Unsprung weight affects handling because it cannot be countered by the suspension, so we like to keep this number low when possible. It will also affect ride comfort. Reducing the rotational weight will help acceleration and deceleration, especially when paired with a lightweight flywheel and driveshaft. This will allow more of the energy, or power, being made by your engine to reach the back tires.

15x4 Front Drag Tires on a Foxbody
Foxbody with 15x4 on the Front

What Wheels are Best for Drag Racing?

For the dragstrip, I would recommend a set of drag lites also referred to as “fats and skinnies.” These wheels are usually very narrow up front and wide in the back. A 15-16 inch rim is used in the rear to allow for a tire with a taller sidewall, producing greater grip off the line. The added sidewall will cause the tire to collapse when launching which will not create any tire spin, granting you instant traction depending on what kind of tire you choose. Keep in mind, the narrow wheel up front is designed to save weight and will not do well around turns. This gain from the added traction and the light weight of the wheels themselves will lower your track times.

As far as width goes, the factory wheel width is just not enough sometimes. Spinning the tires unintentionally can seriously hurt your launches. By upgrading to a wider rim in the back, you will be able to run a wider tire. This will allow more for a larger contact area between the tire and the ground, and if you use a quality tire it will result in an increase in traction. Make sure you choose a rim width that is compatible with the tire you wish to run. Increasing the amount of traction will allow you to launch harder as well as shift harder and smoother without breaking the tires loose.

V6 Mustang at the Drag Strip

What Wheels are Best for Autocross & Track Use?

If you’re more into autocross there are plenty of wheel options out there for you as well. Just like selecting a set of wheels for drag racing, you want to choose something both lightweight and durable enough to endure the abuse at the track. With autocross wheels you want to make sure the width of the wheels is the same. However, if you do decide on a staggered setup, you have to confirm the correct offset and backspacing in order for the wheels to fit properly. You already know how larger diameter rims reduce flex (bonus!), but keep in mind a small sidewall tire offers less protection of the rim when driving on the street.

2011 V6 Mustang Slaloming Through Cones

Are Authentic/High-End Mustang Wheels Worth the Cost?

A set of authentic wheels will undoubtedly turn heads wherever you are. A set of wheels by a Ford affiliated company are highly prized, mainly because of their popular names and of course the higher price tag. When people buy a Roush or Saleen Mustang, the wheels that come standard on those models are stamped with their logo and are worth more than other reproductions.

Aside from the Mustang performance companies, there is a list of other wheel companies. These companies will actually custom make a set of wheels for your particular application. They can make a set to the exact size and color you want, and consumers will do nearly anything to get their hands on a set.

If prominence and bragging rights are what you’re after, or you have a Roush, Saleen, Foose Mustang, etc. then a set of authentically produced wheels may be for you. If you are just after the looks and performance aspect, you might be more interested in a set of reproduction style wheels.

Video: Foose Outcast Wheels Review

Are Mustang Reproduction Style Wheels Worth Buying?

Getting a set of reproduction wheels is very common among the Mustang community. They allow you to get the wheels and style you’ve always wanted at an affordable cost. This is a perfect alternative for someone who is building a car on a budget but still wants a new set of wheels, or those who aren’t interested in the name brand allure of the more expensive wheels. Some of the most popular wheel styles are Saleen, Cobra, Bullitt, FR500, and Cobra R. They all cost about the same price so you don’t have to worry about the cost varying to each style. Keep in mind 18" wheels may cost a little bit more than 17" wheels, and you will find the cost of tires will go up as well.

Performance Differences Between Name Brand and Reproduction Wheels?

From a performance standpoint, you will see little to no variation between the two. Certain styles may have weight differences between them, but when comparing identical styles, you seldom see a difference in the make or quality of the wheels. Performance is usually not a factor when selecting between the two types of Mustang wheels.

Popular Mustang Wheel Accessories

After matching the set of wheels you’ve always wanted to your Mustang, you can even further customize them with select wheel accessories. You can change the center caps, lug nuts, and valve stem caps to add a personalized touch to your new wheels and can better compliment your Mustang. Caliper covers and wheel bands can be installed to add some color to your setup. If your wheels don’t quite sit where you want them to you can purchase wheel spacers that will push the wheels out a little bit further.

2015-2017 Mustang with Caliper Covers

Center Cap Fitment

This is in regards to the size and difference between our AmericanMuscle center caps and the Ford Racing center caps. Both of these center caps are 2.5 inches in diameter, but they are NOT the same and are not interchangeable. Specifically:

  • The outside diameter of the tabs is different
  • The depth of the tabs is different
  • This is the reason Ford Racing center caps cannot be used on our AmericanMuscle wheels and the AmericanMuscle center caps cannot be used in OEM Ford wheels


Mustang Center Caps: AmericanMuscle vs Ford Racing

Basics of Aftermarket Wheel Care

As we’ve established, there are stark differences between wheel finishes besides looks. Your local roads, weather, and how much time you have will determine which finish is best for you. The first rule in caring for any automotive wheels, regardless of finish, is keeping them clean. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind when cleaning your wheels.

  • For best results it's important to keep wheels clean, not allowing road film, contaminants, and brake dust (all of which retain moisture) to accumulate and sit on the surface
  • Generally speaking, from week to week during your car wash cycle, it’s best to clean them with a soft brush, soap, and/or mild degreaser or quality spray-on wheel cleaner
  • Be careful in selecting wheel cleaning products—select products that are safe for the finish of your wheels
  • If you live in a harsh winter climate where salt and chemicals are used during the winter, regular cleaning is even more important
  • Avoid harsh or abrasive cleaners. Some cleaners are harsh and could damage your wheel finish
  • Also be aware many car washes use strong chemicals to clean wheels and tires that could damage your wheel finish and/or your paint
  • NEVER CLEAN HOT WHEELS! Allow wheels to cool, or cool them with running water
  • Another important step is to seal your Mustang's wheels with a sealant that will reduce static and resist brake dust
  • PROTECT YOUR WHEELS BY CLEANING THEM REGULARLY!

Caring for Chrome Wheels

Aluminum or steel wheels plated with chrome are beautiful and can significantly change the appearance of your Mustang. If maintained, the chrome finish will produce a brilliant shine. To reflect light, which produces the attractive brilliant finish, the wheels must be cleaned regularly.

  • It’s best to clean them with a soft brush, soap, and water
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • After cleaning your wheels do not allow soap, chemicals, or water to sit on the surface and produce water spots
  • Dry your wheels with a soft, non-abrasive towel

Periodically, polish your chrome wheels with some quality non-abrasive chrome polish. For best results and to reduce cleaning efforts in the future, after polishing and/or cleaning, apply wax to seal the surface—this should help avoid problems in the future and will reduce static so your wheels are more resistant to brake dust. 

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Chrome Bullitt Wheels on an S197 Mustang

Caring for Polished Aluminum Wheels

Polished aluminum wheels are very popular, particularly with racing, off-road, and hot rod enthusiasts. However, they do require more periodic maintenance than other finishes depending upon the climate, road conditions, and your car care practices in general.

Polished aluminum wheels require the highest degree of maintenance and a certain amount of oxidation is to be expected as the wheels naturally oxidize with age. Polished wheels can be re-polished commercially or by hand after many years of use, effectively restoring them to an almost factory original condition.

  • When new, coat your polished wheels with a quality, hand-applied sealant wax. This coating will assist in preventative maintenance by resisting brake dust and other contaminants
  • When your polished aluminum wheels begin to lose their shine or are dirty with road film or brake dust, begin by cleaning them as instructed above
  • If you use a brush, be careful to avoid scratching the uncoated, polished aluminum alloy by using only a SOFT brush
  • Follow up by polishing them by hand with a quality metal or wheel polish
  • After polishing, coat them with a top-quality wheel wax according to instructions. If they are in bad condition, this will take some time, and polishing wheels is never an easy task

Special Mention - Power Mini-Polisher: For faster and perhaps easier results, use a Dremel type tool mini-polisher with the correct polishing mini-pads. Just swab on some polish, then buff them with the polishing tool. Mini power tool polishers will clean up and polish your wheels quickly, saving time and producing a brilliant shine.

If your wheels have deeply embedded brake dust or other contaminants from lack of maintenance, you can try an aggressive spray-on wheel cleaner (be careful. Some contain acid) with a brush, BUT DO NOT ALLOW IT TO SIT ON THE SURFACE AND ETCH THE POLISHED SURFACE. Rinse your wheels thoroughly and dry with soft, non-abrasive cloth. Polished wheels look great, but do require regular maintenance.

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1994-2004 Mustang Aluminum 17x10.5 Deep Dish Wheel

Caring for Clear-Coated Wheels

Clear-coated wheels should require only soap (or a quality wheel cleaner product), water, and a soft brush. Once your wheels are clean, a coat of hand-applied quality, non-carnauba, non-abrasive polymer sealant-quality wax will enhance resistance to brake dust and contaminants. Waxing works well and will save you cleaning time in the future. ALL chrome and replica wheels from AmericanMuscle have been clear-coated.

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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, 2017, 2018, GT, V6, ShelbyGT500, Mach1, Boss, Bullitt, LX, SVO, EcoBoost, ShelbyGT350