Critiquing a build

Wheels & Tires


For many, the wheels that you choose for your car can make or break it’s overall look. Aside from being an essential part of helping the vehicle move, the style of a wheel itself can really complete a vehicle’s personality. Like any modification made to your car, the possibilities are practically endless.


When arriving at the wheel category of judging during a car show, there are a number of things that will be considered. Just like any modification done to your vehicle, the cleanliness and presentation of your wheels plays a major role in how they will be reviewed. There shouldn’t be dirt, grime, or dust anywhere on your wheels! Make sure the outer and inner barrels, centers, as well as nuts and bolts are all spotless.

In addition to wheel cleanliness, a heavy emphasis will be placed on the technical aspects of your wheels. The wheel offset and fitment on your vehicle will be thoroughly scrutinized. 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 widebody your car or add fender flares to it,  judges don’t 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 while maintaining function is next to impossible. Judges put a great deal of emphasis on functionality.

The rarity of the set of wheels you choose to put on your vehicle can greatly effect 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 over 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 pinstriping 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 extra credit. 

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


Stock tires are not going to cut it at a car show. If you upgrade your wheels, Judges expect you to upgrade your tires. When looking at your tires there are a few things that judges consider. Judges will make sure that the tire sizes 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 notice. If it fits and looks great, the judges will reward you for the effort and time you put into making it all work. 

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 notice. Judges also take into consideration if you go out of your way and import a set of tires. If you do import a set of ultra-rare tires for your ride, chances are your tire credit will reflect the extra effort. 

There are several ways to increase your score, but there are also ways to decrease your credit. If your tires are bald or have chunks missing the judges will deduct credit. Just because you have a set of rare tires, doesn’t mean that they can be falling apart. 

  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.