Toyota's TRD beadlock wheels look great, but are they actually a true beadlock design?
There’s been a lot of hype around beadlock wheels, especially among off-road enthusiasts. Tacoma owners have been interested in TRD beadlock wheels, especially for the unique look they offer the truck. What are these wheels, and where can you get them?
To help you understand more, I’ve done the research for you. I’ve even gone as far as speaking with a Toyota Tacoma owner with the TRD beadlock wheels so that I can guide you in the right direction.
What Are TRD Beadlock Wheels?
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, the company that makes these types of wheels. Yet, Toyota has discontinued the true beadlock wheel. Instead, the wheels are labeled as “beadlock-style.” I’ll talk more about that below.
For now, let’s review some basics of true beadlock wheels.
The beadlock wheel locks the bead of the tire to the wheel. The bead is the area that sits on the wheel’s rim. This unique design is primarily for off-road purposes, allowing users to drop the air pressure lower while increasing the tire’s contact patch.
A unique clamping force is generated from tightening down the bolts that thread into the wheel. These apply force to the beadlock ring to seal the outer bead to the rim.
How are these wheels made and assembled? Let’s examine each part in detail.
- Outer Beadlock Ring: This outer clamp locks the tire’s outer bead to the wheel. With a steel beadlock, it centers the tire.
- Inner Beadlock Ring: This machined surface centers the wheel and operates as a clamping side to lock the outer bead. Clamps are put through the threaded inserts to bundle the tire bead between the rim. Some rims also have knurls or steps to further hold the tire.
- Bolts: Outer beadlock rings are held with a 5/16-inch bolt, measuring 1 to 1-1/4 inches long. These bolts are typically Grade 8, but some wheels use Grade 5.
- Inner Safety Bead: High-quality wheels use two safety beads within an inch of the outer rim. A bump runs along the wheel’s circumference, about 3/4 of an inch in the rim. This bead keeps the bundle from slipping on the wheel.
- Rim: Typical wheels contain two rims. However, beadlocks have a rim inside the wheel unless the wheel utilizes dual beadlocks.
- Valve Stem: This standard valve stem allows you to put air into the tire, but it also seals the air in with a one-way Shrader valve.
What’s interesting about the inner ring is that it can be welded onto a standard wheel. When this is done, the wheel width increases anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2 inches. It can also be formed at the factory as part of the wheel.
The outer ring gets bolted to the inner ring with the tire bead clamped between them, as seen in the photos below.
Beadlock wheels typically use between 12 and 32 bolts tightened to around 10 ft-lb for the wheel circumference, ensuring that the clamp remains tight.
There are beadlock wheels made from either aluminum or steel, depending on the manufacturer. However, beadlock-style wheels are usually just alloy or aluminum alloy.
Benefits of Beadlock Wheels
What are some of the benefits of beadlock wheels? Here are a few to consider:
- Help with off-roading
- Allows you to reduce the tire pressure for increased traction
- Provides traction for driving over rocks, snow, and sand
- Stronger design
- Increases stability
- Prevents wheels from dismounting under pressure
- Aggressive look
While it’s fun to look at everything the beadlock wheels offer, it’s also important to consider some downsides. Here are a few I’ve heard about.
- Heavier because of the metal and equipment
- May not be street legal
- Tires can lose pressure quickly if the ring breaks
- Higher cost
- Some tire shops won’t work on beadlock wheels for legality reasons
If the tire shop won’t work on your wheels, you have to think about alignment, rotation, and balancing on your own. If you aren’t familiar with these maintenance tasks or don’t have the equipment, this could be difficult.
If you want to see a set of TRD beadlock-style wheels, I have a few fun pictures for you. It’s easy to see why so many people want these installed on their Tacomas.
True Beadlock? Or Not?
Sadly, Toyota doesn’t carry true TRD beadlock wheels. Instead, the automaker offers beadlock-style wheels. What’s the difference, you may ask? Here are some things to know about beadlock-style wheels.
- Lighter than typical beadlock wheels
- Known to dissipate heat well
- Inspired by off-road enthusiasts
- Contain a high strength-to-weight ratio
However, these wheels don’t provide the same capability as traditional beadlock wheels. They are mainly used to make the truck look cooler, and they do that well.
Available Sizes & Colors
Beadlock-style wheels can be purchased in 16-inch sizes. There are currently three colors to choose from, including:
- Flat Black
- Flat Bronze
- Flat Gray
It’s important to check fitment before purchasing a set of wheels. Depending on what you buy, the wheels will fit the Toyota Tacoma, but not every model year. Some wheels will also fit a few years of the 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, and Land Cruiser, but some modifications may be needed.
Based on information from the Toyota Parts online store, TRD beadlock-style wheels have an MSRP of $395 each.
You can purchase a set online from other retailers if you want to save a little money. However, the price isn’t that much lower and sometimes is higher. I found them on eBay, priced between $1,400 and $1,782 for a set of four. Plus, there’s a limited selection available.
Where to Buy
TRD beadlock-style wheels can be purchased directly from the Toyota Parts online store. You can also order a set from your local Toyota dealership.
There are other places to look for a set of Tacoma wheels, especially if you are okay with having a used set. Here are a couple of places you could look:
You can also ask around at some local tire shops. You never know what they can get their hands on.
The TRD beadlock-style wheels are cool to look at, making the Tacoma even more desirable. Yet, you must know that the style is about all these wheels offer. You don’t gain the same benefits as standard beadlock wheels. Still, they can be a lot of fun to have.
Aside from new wheels, there are plenty of other ways to modify your Tacoma truck. Pair the wheels with a lift kit or give it a unique paint job to help it stand out on the road.