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Decoding Bolt Pattern / PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter)


When selecting wheels, car owners often encounter a series of symbols and designations that can seem bewildering at first glance. Beyond just the radius and width, each parameter listed with the wheel holds significance in ensuring the right fit for your vehicle. Ignoring these cryptic codes can lead to the unfortunate scenario where a visually appealing wheel simply doesn't match your car's specifications, turning an exciting purchase into a source of frustration. This article demystifies one of these crucial values—the Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD) of the wheel, guiding you through its importance and how it affects your choice of wheels. 

Understanding PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter)

PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter) measures the diameter of an imaginary circle that passes through the center of all wheel bolts or studs. Also known as the 'bolt circle,' PCD is essential for aligning wheels accurately on the vehicle's hub.

The introduction of PCD in the automotive industry standardized wheel fitment across vehicles. This standardization ensures wheels are universally interchangeable, aligning precisely with the vehicle's hub for optimal safety and performance.

PCD & Wheel Components Overview
PCD & Wheel Components Overview

The variation in PCD and the number of holes is primarily due to the diverse requirements of vehicle designs, load capacities, and driving conditions. Manufacturers design different PCDs to accommodate the structural and performance needs of various vehicles, leading to a wide range of PCD measurements.

Bolt patterns typically feature 4, 5, 6, or 8 lug holes, catering to the majority of vehicles on the road. These common configurations support a wide range of cars, SUVs, and trucks, providing the necessary fitment for standard automotive applications. However, there are less common bolt patterns with 3, 7, or 10 lug holes, which accommodate specific vehicle designs or performance requirements.

Unified Bolt Patterns Table
Lug Count Bolt Patterns (Imperial and Metric) Vehicle Types
3 Lugs 3x100, 3x105, 3x112.5, 3x115, 3x120, 3x125, 3x150, 3x98 Compact, Lightweight vehicles
4 Lugs 4x4, 4x4.25, 4x4.5, 4x3.75 (Imperial) / 4x100, 4x101.6, 4x108, 4x110, 4x114.3, 4x115, 4x120, 4x130, 4x140, 4x150, 4x160, 4x170, 4x190, 4x95.25, 4x98 (Metric) Passenger cars
5 Lugs 5x4.25, 5x4.5, 5x4.75, 5x5, 5x5.5, 5x6.5 (Imperial) / 5x100, 5x105, 5x106, 5x108, 5x110, 5x112, 5x114.3, 5x115, 5x118, 5x120, 5x120.65, 5x127, 5x128, 5x130, 5x135, 5x139.7, 5x140, 5x150, 5x152.4, 5x154.94, 5x160, 5x165.1, 5x170, 5x190, 5x205, 5x98 (Metric) Sedans, SUVs, Trucks
6 Lugs 6x4.5, 6x5, 6x5.5, 6x8.75 (Imperial) / 6x114.3, 6x139.7, 6x127 (Metric) Full-sized trucks, SUVs
8 Lugs 8x6.5 (Imperial) / 8x165.1 (Metric) Heavy-duty trucks
10 Lugs 10x7.25 (Imperial) / 10x225 (Metric) Specialized heavy-duty vehicles

PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter) values are provided in both millimeters and inches, reflecting global automotive standards. The conversion between these units is essential for ensuring compatibility across different regions and vehicles. Below, we will show a table with a couple of examples to illustrate the correspondence between common PCD sizes in inches and their equivalents in millimeters. This table does not encompass all possible sizes but provides a clear example of how to perform these conversions.

Bolt Pattern Conversion Table: Inches to Millimeters
Bolt Pattern (Inches) Bolt Pattern (Millimeters)
4x4.5 4x114.3
4x3.75 4x95.25
5x4.5 5x114.3
5x5 5x127
6x5.5 6x139.7
8x6.5 8x165.1

  Bolt Pattern Cross Reference

Mastering PCD Measurement: A Practical Guide

To determine the Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD) of a wheel, various methods can be employed, each catering to different levels of precision and available resources. Below, we briefly outline the primary approaches to finding out PCD:

  1. Direct Measurement: Three straightforward approaches exist based on the bolt configuration. For even numbers, measure from the center of one bolt directly to the opposite. For odd numbers, measure from the center of one bolt to the edge of the opposite. Additionally, a universal method suitable for both even and odd numbers involves measuring from the hub center to a bolt center and then doubling. These methods offer the simplest way to determine PCD, allowing for the use of basic tools like a ruler.

  2. Specialized PCD Tools: There are tools designed specifically for measuring PCD, which can quickly and accurately gauge the bolt pattern without the need for manual calculations. These tools are particularly useful for automotive professionals and enthusiasts who require frequent measurements.

  3. Calculation Method: This approach involves measuring the distance between bolt holes and applying mathematical formulas based on the number of bolts. As described, different coefficients are used for configurations of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 10 bolts to calculate the PCD. This method is useful when direct measurement is not feasible or when seeking to double-check measurements for accuracy.

  4. Utilizing Tables with Pre-calculated Distances: For common wheel sizes and configurations, tables and charts with pre-calculated distances between bolt holes can be a quick reference. These tables eliminate the need for direct measurement or calculation, offering a convenient shortcut for identifying PCD.

  5. Custom Methods: Some individuals might employ custom methods, such as dividing or multiplying specific measurements or using homemade templates to determine PCD. While these methods can vary in accuracy, they may serve adequately for quick estimates or in situations where standard tools and calculations are not available.

Below, we'll delve into several methods for determining PCD, enhancing the explanation with detailed steps and adding new information for a comprehensive understanding.

Direct Measurement

The Direct Measurement method is an essential technique for accurately determining the PCD of a wheel. This approach is straightforward and does not require complex calculations, making it accessible for both professionals and enthusiasts.

PCD Direct Measurement Method
PCD Direct Measurement Method

Detailed Steps for Direct Measurement:

  1. For Wheels with an Even Number of Bolts (X): Directly measure the distance from the center of one bolt to the center of the directly opposite bolt. This method is highlighted for its simplicity and effectiveness in yielding accurate measurements due to the symmetrical arrangement of bolts.

  2. For Wheels with an Odd Number of Bolts (Y): Measuring directly from the center of one bolt to the edge of the opposite bolt is necessary to determine the PCD accurately. This approach is adopted because, unlike even-numbered configurations, there isn't a directly opposite bolt to measure from center to center.

Calculation Method

Moving on to the next method, we explore the Calculation Method for determining the Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD) of a wheel. This approach is particularly useful when a high degree of accuracy is required.

PCD Calculation Method
PCD Calculation Method

Here's how to proceed:

  1. Count the Bolts (Studs): Begin by counting the bolts or studs on the wheel. This step is essential as it directly influences the calculation formula you will use.

  2. Measure Between Adjacent Bolt Holes:

    • For Wheels with an Odd Number of Bolts (X): Measure the distance between the centers of two adjacent bolt holes. It's important to use a precision measuring tool, such as a caliper, for this step to ensure the measurement's accuracy.
    • For Wheels with an Even Number of Bolts: While the calculation method can be used for even-numbered configurations, similar to how it is applied for odd numbers, direct measurement from the center of one bolt to the opposite bolt's center is preferred for its simplicity and precision, making the calculation approach unnecessary.

  3. Apply the Formula: Utilize the corresponding coefficient from the PCD Coefficients Table based on the number of bolts to calculate the PCD. Ensure accuracy by double-checking the measured values and the applied coefficient.

PCD Coefficients Table
Hole Numbers Coefficient
3 1.155
5 1.701
7 2.236

Example Calculation:

For a wheel with five bolts, where the measured distance between the centers of adjacent bolt holes is 63.5 mm, you would apply the formula for five bolts: X*1.701. This calculation gives you a PCD of 108 mm.

This method, combining manual measurements with specific formulas, provides a systematic way to calculate PCD, ensuring you can identify the correct bolt pattern for wheel compatibility and vehicle safety. 

Utilizing Pre-calculated Distance Tables

We have compiled and united a table to simplify the process of measuring PCD for you. Pre-calculated distance tables for wheel sizes streamline PCD identification, eliminating the need for direct measurement or complex calculations. 

PCD Measurements for 3 and 5 Bolts/Studs
Bolt/Stud Count ‘X’ IN INCHES ‘X’ IN MM PCD
 3 Bolts / Studs 3.340 84.848 98mm
  3.409 86.580 100mm
  3.579 90.909 105mm
  3.835 97.403 112.5mm
  3.920 99.567 115mm
  4.090 103.896 120mm
  4.261 108.225 125mm
  5.113 129.870 150mm
 5 Bolts / Studs 2.314 58.779 100mm
  2.351 59.715 4”
  2.498 63.449 4.25”
  2.499 63.481 108mm
  2.591 65.832 112mm
  2.645 67.183 4.5” (114.3mm)
  2.777 70.535 120mm
  2.792 70.916 4.75” (120.65mm)
  2.939 74.650 5” (127mm)
  3.008 76.413 130mm
  3.233 82.118 5.5” (139.7mm)
  3.240 82.290 140mm
  3.457 87.850 150mm
  3.527 89.586 6”
  3.703 94.046 160mm
  3.820 97.028 6.5” (165.1mm)

Wheels with Double/Dual PCD

Wheels with Double PCD (Pitch Circle Diameter), also called Dual or Multi PCD, represent an innovative solution in the automotive industry, designed to offer flexibility and compatibility across different vehicle models. These wheels are characterized by having dual bolt patterns, allowing them to fit on hubs with two different PCD measurements. An example of such a wheel is one with 8 holes, designed to accommodate both 4x100mm and 4x108mm PCDs, essentially making it versatile for vehicles requiring either specification.

Double PCD Wheels
Double PCD Wheels

Why Do Wheels with Double PCD Exist?

The primary reason for the existence of wheels with double PCD is to increase compatibility. This design addresses the challenge of non-standardized wheel fitments across various car makes and models. Manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers create these wheels to cater to a broader audience, allowing car owners more flexibility in wheel selection without being limited to a specific PCD fitting.

Who Uses Them?

Wheels with double PCD are particularly popular among automotive enthusiasts who enjoy customizing their vehicles. They are also favored by owners of multiple vehicles who prefer to have interchangeable wheels to reduce the cost and storage requirements of owning separate sets for each car. Additionally, auto repair shops and used car dealerships appreciate the versatility of double PCD wheels for fitting onto different vehicles, enhancing the appeal and utility of their inventory.

Wheels with Double PCD: Pros and Cons
Advantages Disadvantages
Versatility Aesthetics
Fits various vehicle models, eliminating the need for different sets of wheels. Extra bolt holes may detract from the wheel's appearance.
Cost-Effectiveness Structural Integrity
Reduces expenses for owners of multiple cars by using one set of wheels. Potential compromise in structural integrity due to additional holes.
Increased Resale Value Selection Limitations
Compatibility with more models could lead to higher resale value. More limited range of designs and sizes compared to standard wheels.
Convenience for Businesses Installation Confusion and Safety Risks
Simplifies inventory for automotive businesses with a one-size-fits-all solution. Risk of safety issues from incorrect installation or PCD misunderstanding.

The Risks of Incorrect PCD in Wheel Fitting

An incorrect PCD creates a misalignment between the wheel and the vehicle's hub. This misalignment can significantly impact the vehicle's handling and stability, leading to a range of issues.

When wheels that don't perfectly match the vehicle's PCD specifications are mounted, they may seem secure at first. However, even small variances can lead to uneven tire wear, which not only necessitates premature tire replacement but also affects the vehicle's handling. Poor handling increases the risk of accidents, especially in conditions requiring precise maneuverability.

Moreover, an improper PCD fit can cause the wheels to detach from the vehicle while in motion. This extreme but real risk poses a direct threat to the safety of the vehicle's occupants and other road users. The detachment of a wheel at high speeds can lead to loss of control, putting lives at risk.

Vehicle manufacturers design each model with a specific PCD to ensure that the wheels fit perfectly onto the hub, maintaining the vehicle's engineered balance and performance. Ignoring these specifications can also strain the vehicle's suspension and steering systems. Over time, this undue stress can wear down critical components, leading to expensive repairs and potentially catastrophic failure during operation.

Risks of Incorrect PCD in Wheel Fitting
Risk Factor Description Potential Consequences
Uneven Tire Wear Minor PCD discrepancies cause misalignment, leading to uneven pressure on tires. Premature tire replacement, reduced safety.
Poor Handling Improper fit affects vehicle dynamics and steering precision. Increased risk of accidents, reduced control.
Wheel Detachment A significant mismatch can lead to wheels becoming loose and detaching. Immediate loss of control, high accident risk.
Suspension Stress Incorrect PCD puts additional strain on suspension components due to misalignment. Wear and tear on suspension, costly repairs.
Steering Component Wear The steering system may experience undue stress, affecting responsiveness. Steering failure, increased maintenance costs.


Most frequently asked questions about wheel PCD:

  • Q: Role of PCD in vehicle customization?
    A: PCD is key for customization, allowing for changes in the vehicle’s appearance and performance through aftermarket wheels.
  • Q: Can mismatched PCD cause damage to my vehicle?
    A: Yes, using wheels with a PCD that doesn't match your vehicle's specifications can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling, and even damage to the wheel and hub assembly over time.
  • Q: Is PCD important for wheel spacers?
    A: Absolutely. When using wheel spacers, they must match the PCD of both the wheel and the vehicle hub to ensure a proper fit and maintain vehicle safety and performance.
  • Q: Does changing the PCD affect the warranty of my vehicle?
    A: It can. Modifications that alter the wheel setup, including changing the PCD beyond manufacturer specifications, may void the warranty on certain parts of the vehicle. It's best to check with your dealer or warranty documentation.


Correct PCD selection is crucial for vehicle safety and performance. Mismatches in PCD and errors in mounting not only compromise your safety but can also negatively impact your vehicle's performance. Precision in measurements and compatibility checks are essential, often requiring expert consultation to ensure accurate wheel fitment. This careful approach ensures that new wheels not only enhance your vehicle aesthetically but also support its functionality. Therefore, when considering vehicle modifications, it's vital to balance the desire for customization with the importance of safety. Opt for modifications that maintain safety standards, possibly exploring safer tuning options that do not risk compromising vehicle integrity.

For a more extensive understanding of car safety and maintenance, we invite you to explore our website, where a range of articles awaits to offer you thorough insights and professional advice.