What’s Going On With This Wheel?

What’s Going On With This Wheel?

A reader named Jeff spotted this in the parking lot of his local library, and as with many things spotted in library parking lots, he found it confusing and a little unsettling. Because the library was in Boulder, Colorado, this wheel was on a Subaru. That’s not the weird part. The weird part is with the bolt pattern on that wheel, and how it relates to the spokes. They’re, uh, fighting? There’s something wrong here.

I mean, what’s wrong is that this is a six-spoke wheel with a five-lug pattern, and there’s not a good way to make those two things work together.

I checked to see if this was — somehow — a standard Subaru wheel, this madness, but it looks like it’s not quite:

Photo: Subaru

That wheel, on a 2018 Forrester, is similar in design to that six-spoked mutant, but, having five spokes, the lug pattern actually fits.

So what’s going on with that wheel? Did it come that way? Was that OK to some wheel-maker? That looked fine?

I know people sometimes drill new bolt patterns for wheels, that’s a known, honorable thing, as you can see here:

… but I’ve never seen a “blank” wheel for sale, that one could just drill all the bolt holes in, though I’m not ready to say those don’t exist. And if they do, is that what we see at the library there?

Photo: Jeff G

And if that is the case, how is that easier or better than just getting the original five-spoke Subaru wheels with the holes that don’t look all wonky?

I feel like I’m missing something here, something important, but I’m not sure what it is. So I’m coming to all of you, because you’re smart, right? Of course you are.


What’s going on with that wheel?