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Wheel replacement for 1972 2002

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I recently acquired a 1972 BMW 2002 which has some 13" 8-spoke after market alloy wheels which I'm not fond of. I'm thinking about replacing these with some 14" wheels; and would like some recommendations as to which make, width, and style of wheels would be appropriate for this BMW (its color is Malaga). And where I might find these wheels. Also, I'm assuming that the speedometer and odometers would have to be re-calibrated for the wheel size change.


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Please start with the database we have here or the wheels that we know fit the 2002



Most people skip the 14s and go to 15" wheels. The speedometer accuracy will depend on the tire diameter. Getting something close to stock will give you good results.


Steve K

Get your 2002 FAQ merchandise from 2002FAQ Store




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Posted (edited)


I like your car since it looks a lot like the '73 I owned for 36 years.

I agree with Steve, look at the FAQ wheel database to get a better idea what style you are interested in.

To help you decide your preferred size and what, if any, your speedometer will be off, I have attached an analysis the late Curt Ingaram developed.  While some good tire brands and sizes are no longer available, more of them are for 15" wheels.  And a few, like Pirelli CN36, have renewed availability even if Tire Rack and Discount Tire choose not to show them.

Good luck and have fun searching!2002 wheel-tire fit from Curt 080424.xls



2002 before drive SMALL 090725.jpg

Edited by layers

Larry Ayers


’73 Malaga— first car, now gone

'74tii Malaga

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Recommend you spend some time in this thread to learn from those who have been there, done that.  For a 14X6.5 wheels (E30 basketweaves), 195/60-14 is recommended.  I had that size on 14X6 E30 bottlecaps for years with no issues before I went to 15X7 wheels. 


74 tii (many mods)
91 318i M42

07 4Runner

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It used to be that the E30 14x6 bottlecap wheel was the quick, dirty and inexpensive 14" upgrade for the 02. I have no clue how available and the price at which they are now. One consideration is the available tires. Very few performance tires in the 14" size. However, their are a number of 15" performance tires available in the 205/50-15 size that work with most 02s with 15x7 wheels with reasonable offsets. I can dig up specifics on offset if anyone is interested, although I would imagine this subject has been well covered on the FAQ.


Picture of my car, with a fake alpina Rota 15" wheelsside_50.thumb.jpg.f3ca9e5a04eb366c1f0231f9ef268e2f.jpg.




Chris B.

'73 ex-Malaga

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Posted (edited)

There are some good performance tires in 14” size, less than in 15 for sure but if you’re sticking to 14 there’s the Falken Azenis tires. 
No need to recalibrate as long as the over all tire diameter is same as before or close. That means getting a lower profile tire than you would on 13’s, less sidewall. 
I have 14’s on my 1972 and I think I’m running 195/50/14. I have e30 bottlecaps on mine now. They’re 14x6. See photo. Don’t judge the color, lol. I thought it would grow on me but hasn’t. Bottlecaps used to be free or nearly free as no one wanted them. You can still find them for around $200-$300 for a set though. 

I’m about to swap wheels though as I got some e30 steelies. I prefer the more vintage look of these. They’re 14x5.5 and I’ll run my same tires on them. See second photo (not my car). I haven’t installed them yet as I’m waiting on my new lug nuts. 
the e30 steelies can be bought new for about $360/set from Blunttech (they come black, you’d have to paint/powder coat them silver). I got mine used already silver for much cheaper than that but they rarely come up. Yeah, the steelies are heavier but will still be fun to drive the car. It’s a slow car anyway so not sure the marginal weight difference of the wheels is really going to make that big a difference. 

Also available are the e30 basketweaves. They’re more desired so even though they’re the same size as the bottlecaps, 14x6, people like them quite a bit. Their price reflects that with typical used prices around $800/set. I saw a set for sale for $500 the other day but that’s rare. If you go this route make sure they come with the center caps as those are $50/ea on their own. See my sons white e30 with basketweaves below. They do look really good on 2002’s but are very common and that is a negative in my opinion lol. 

Many go up to 15’s and I may eventually but not for a long time. The common 15” wheel is BBS RS wheel in 15x7. You can get clones/fakes from wheeloutletNJ.com for $800. Real ones will be much more. Again, you get a lower profile tire to keep the speedo close to accurate. Once you get to 15” wheels you have lots of options though. 

Personally I like 14’s on the car, at least for now. If you’re more performance oriented and intend to canyon or track drive the car hard 15’s might be better choice. 14’s are fine for that too though. 

and yes, you can blow an afternoon going through the stance thread and get an idea what all these wheels and more look like on cars. 

Mine with bottlecaps


e30 steelies


e30 basketweaves


BBS RS style 15” wheels on a friends car. 



forgot, the other wheel I really like is the Minilite style wheel. Rota makes a copy in 15x7 that looks really good on 2002’s. They’re $650 on Amazon right now. 


Rota Rewind, not the best photo. 





Edited by Pablo M

2003 e39 M5 (daily)

1986 e30 325es (sons car)

1972 2002tii (fun daily alternative)

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A couple of years ago I desperately needed new tires for my E30 318is--original basketweave 14x6 wheels--my Michelins were nearly worn out (and 11 years old), and I couldn't find a tire brand I had heard of in the factory 195/65x14 tire.  A fellow E30 owner told me about Maaxis tires; he put a set on his E30 325 and really liked 'em.  H rated, and he said they were good in both dry and wet. 


I sprung for a set, immediately drove about 600 miles--in the rain--to Ofest at Hilton Head--and back, and they were as advertised.  



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'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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One thing to remember is that the suspension design for our cars was on 13” rims with skinny 165 tires.

So by moving up to 14” or 15” adds more sprung weight with some disadvantages: wheel bearings wear faster, heavier steering/feedback and less compliant ride due to loss of sidewall.  195 or larger tires only add more weight.

That said, I’ve gone to 14” but have moved down to 185s. I’ve thought about 15x6 but given the poor roads in the Seattle area combined with urethane bushings, shorter springs and Bilsteins HDs, I’ll stick with more sidewall.

Just my opinion and YMMV.

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Colin K.

Malaga '72 tii

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I'm not sure who the manufacturer is of these 13" wheels, but maybe you can identify from the attached pictures. The tires on these, which have plenty of tread on them are Gajah Tungaal GTR-378 175/70 R13s (also pictured here).




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Those looks like the minilites I mentioned above. Since they’re 13’s they’re likely originals and not knock offs. If so they have some value! Check the back of the wheel for markings. Those look like cheap tires. 

2003 e39 M5 (daily)

1986 e30 325es (sons car)

1972 2002tii (fun daily alternative)

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Thanks for that. I'll check the back of the wheels. I also thought the tires were cheap, but when I looked them up on line they're radials made in Indonesia and sell for about $100 per tire (to my surprise).

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As mentioned in the initial posting, tire size obviously can affect speedometer/odometer error.  A good way to understand how much speedometer difference you can expect is to use a rev per mile calculator.  These are online from multiple sources.  I've posted one below that allows side-by-side comparison of two different size tires.


The original tire size on the earlier years was 165 R 13.  That was prior to aspect ratio being included on tire nomenclature, but the aspect ratio of those is generally considered to be 80.  So using the rev per mile calculator, a 165/80 R 13 yields 862 revs per mile.  Checking your current tire (175/70 R13) gives you 891 revs per mile.  So your speedometer/odometer should read around 3% high with your current tires (assuming the speedometer is accurate).    I assume that these calculators use the static loaded radius dimension for these calculations. 


One more thing:  I believe that free phone GPS speedometers are a reasonably accurate means of checking speedometer error. 



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