The wheel impact test evaluates wheel structural performance for a typical lateral curb impact event occurring in passenger cars and light trucks. This test which is as per SAE J -175 standard has a striker dropped from a specified height on to a fixture mounted wheel-tire assembly. This impact test performance is critical to meeting overall structural performance for the wheel. There are many processes and methods available to simulate impact tests using FE analysis and in this study, certain existing methods are fine tuned to facilitate improved correlation with aforementioned lab test. Abaqus explicit is used in the simulation process and FE analysis-test correlation is achieved within 3% (strain gauge measurements). The improved method closely captures the behavior of the wheel during and after impact including capturing the variation of bolt pretension during the impact test. The wheel width before and after impact is another parameter used to compare analysis and test results. Further, the contribution of impact load between the wheel and tire is studied, to support the modeling strategy used in this new method.