Does Alignment impact change wheels?

Is it compulsory to due alignment when I get new wheels? Or perhaps need an alignment when I change the wheel size? These are common questions popping up every time. And the answer is dependent on what you are doing.


The wheel alignment process focuses on getting the camber, caster, and toe aligned. So, you aren’t bothered about the wheel itself, but how the wheel is operating with the suspension and the steering.

The Camber is the angle of the wheel when viewed from the front of the vehicle. It’s measured in degrees.

If the wheel angles out from the vehicle, then you have positive camber. But if it angles in, you have negative camber. If it comes with no angle, then it’s a neutral or zero camber. If the camber isn’t adjusted properly, your tires won’t wear evenly. So, if your negative camber is too negative, the tires wear on the inside.

Caster is a bit more complex due to the fact that it refers to the angle of the steering pivot that’s attached to your suspension. When you turn your steering wheel, this steering pivot is what turns the wheels to the right or left accordingly.

When the top of the pivot rests on the rear of the car, the caster is positive. If the top of the pivot rests towards the front of the car, then the caster is negative. If the caster is out of adjustment, it can cause the vehicle to veer or pull to one side or the other. Everyone’s driven on a flat straight road and taken their hands off the wheel at some time. If you continue forward in a straight line, it’s because the caster is perfect. When you pull to the right or the left, it’s a good sign the caster may be off.

Now that you understand what is adjusted during an alignment, you can better understand the impact on changing wheels.


If you want to swap out your stock wheels for something with a higher power. Like Rolling Big Power or RBP. If you go with the RBP Glock in the 20” with a 10” or 12” diameter, you’ll get a wheel that looks like the figure shown below.

In summary, when you swap OEM for aftermarket and stay the same size as the wheel, you don’t need to be bothered about alignment.

You aren’t changing the geometry just by changing the wheels. And remember, from the alignment primer above, you aren’t adjusting the wheels when you adjust alignment.


Let’s assume you want even bigger wheels. Keep in mind that when you upsize your wheels, you downsize the tire’s standing height to keep is the same as the total diameter.

So, now you decide to go for something like this ATX Off-road Yukon wheel in a 20”. American Racing makes some of the most rugged wheels on the market, so it’s a very good choice.

And because you are upsizing the wheel and adjusting the tire’s standing height, you don’t need to worry about changing the overall geometry of the wheel.


So, let’s assume you want to change the appearance of the vehicle by changing the offset. You want to push those wheels further out or even bring them closer in to emulate a deeper dish.

This is where it gets confusing.

You shouldn’t need an alignment unless you are making an extreme change in the offset. Remember, wheel offset refers to the distance from the centerline of the hub. So, to start with, you shouldn’t be making drastic changes to the offset unless you are adjusting the suspension. Like you wouldn’t go from -10 to +30 offset without making other changes.

However, minor changes in the offset (like -10 to zero) aren’t changing the geometry and you don’t need an alignment.

Remember, the term wheel alignment is a misnomer. You aren’t aligning the wheels; you are aligning the suspension. Most times, changing the wheels doesn’t require a wheel alignment.

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