Critiquing a build

Wheels & Tires


For many, the wheels chosen to live on a car can make or break it’s overall look. Aside from being an essential part in allowing a vehicle to move, the style of a wheel itself can really complete a vehicle’s personality. Like any modification made to your car, the possibilities are endless.


When arriving at the wheel category of judging during a show, there are a number of things that judges will consider. Like any modification done to your vehicle, both the cleanliness and presentation of your wheels will play major roles in how they will be judged. There shouldn’t be dirt, grime, or dust anywhere on your wheels, that includes on the outer and inner barrels, centers, or lug nuts.

In addition to cleanliness, a heavy emphasis will be placed on the technical aspects of your wheels. Whether you’ve chosen a wheel style that is meant for Time Attack, Stance, etc., the specifications including, size, offset, and overall fitment will be scrutinized accordingly. How well do they sit in your car’s wheel wells? Do they flow with the body lines, surface finish, and color of your vehicle? 

If you decide to make your car wider than factory or add fender flares to it, for example, judges will not want to see it rolling on a wheel with a small width or diameter. The opposite can be detrimental to a vehicle’s score as well. Trying to “comfortably” fit a 13-inch wide wheel on a vehicle with stock body panels and suspension all while maintaining functionality is next to impossible and will have a negative impact on the overall score. No matter what style of modification you go for, you ultimately have to be able to drive the car.

The rarity of the set of wheels you choose to put on your car can greatly affect how it’s evaluated. If you are driving on a set that no one else has, or a wheel that a judge has never seen before, you’ll likely receive a better evaluation then for a set of wheels that almost anyone can purchase. Judges also like seeing a custom-built wheel with a custom flair added to it. Just like pin-striping a car, for example, personal touches like painting, anodizing, or polishing your lips, centers, and/or lug nuts can be done to your wheels and could also score you additional recognition. 

Remember, the most important thing with wheels is that they compliment the overall look of the vehicle.


Depending on the nature of your build, stock tires might not cut it at a car show. In many cases, upgraded wheels demand upgraded tires as well. 

When critiquing your vehicle’s tires, there are a few things that judges consider depending on the build style you go for. For instance, if your car build is Time Attack themed, then judges will expect the tire sizes to, at a minimum, match up with the widths of your wheels. If you are running the incorrect tire sizes and your tires don’t look like they fit your wheels, the judges will deduct accordingly.

Judges will also take into consideration if you are running a performance tire compared to an all-purpose tire. Once again, the theme of your car comes into play. If you are building a performance machine and your car is equipped with snow tires, the judges will deduct accordingly. Judges will also take into consideration the lengths you’ve gone to acquire a tire. For instance, if you imported a set of ultra-rare tires for your ride, chances are your tire credit will reflect the extra effort. 

Finally, cleanliness and presentation are important as well...yes, even with tires! If your tires are bald or have chunks missing the judges will deduct credit. They also expect them to be cleaned like any other part of your vehicle, so tire shine is an absolute must. 

  Copyright 2019 by NCCA. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, translated, transcribed, or stored in a retrieval system in any form electronically, mechanically, or through photocopying without the prior written permission of NCCA.     

Randy Clark's 1972 Chevy Nova - Photo by John Machaqueiro

Randy Clark's 1972 Chevy Nova - Photo by John Machaqueiro