Wheel Offset vs. Backspacing

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You want to make your ride stand out? One of the easiest ways is to install a new set of rims.

But before you add the sweet wheels you’ve been eyeing to your shopping cart, make sure you understand two important actors:

Wheel Offset & Wheel Backspacing

Paying the due attention to these two measurements will guarantee that the wheels you order will fit your vehicle perfectly.


Wheel Offset

Wheel-Offset-diagram

A wheel’s offset is a measurement of the distance between the wheel’s center and the wheel’s mounting face.

When you have a higher offset, your wheels are mounted farther on the inside. This gives you more clearance between your tire’s outside edge and your fender. At the same time, you will have less clearance between your tire’s inside edge and your suspension.

When you have a lower offset, your wheels are mounted farther on the outside. To picture this, imagine a lifted truck with larger-than stock wheels and tires that stick out from the vehicle’s body.

A lower offset will give you less clearance between your tire’s outside edge and fender, and more clearance between your tires and your suspension.

In the case of our lifted truck mentioned above, the lower offset could be zero, or even negative to accommodate the supersized tires.

The bottom line?

Before choosing your new wheels, be clear on what look you want and what clearance you need to fit your driving needs.


Wheel Backspace

Wheel-backspace-diagram

A wheel’s backspace is a measurement of the distance between your wheel’s inside edge and its mounting face.

With more backspace, your wheel extends further into its well, moving closer to your vehicle’s suspension. This actually increases the risk of rubbing.

If you drive a lifted truck or SUV, your lift kit manufacturer has probably specified a maximum allowable backspace . Most trucks accept wheels with backspace which is less than 5”.

So be sure you know this value before shopping for wheels.

And the reason is that when backspace is lower, your wheel is not as extended into its well and the risk of rubbing is reduced.

Again, be clear on what look and clearance you want and need before ordering your new wheels.


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