Explained: What is a Wheel Offset?

Explained: What is a Wheel Offset?

Aftermarket wheel sales generate $3.2 billion each year. It’s one of the biggest sectors in the aftermarket vehicle customization arena. You have countless options when it comes to choosing the right wheels for your ride. However, you can’t pick just anything and throw it on your car. You need to make sure they’ll fit your particular model. There are so many different numbers and sizes on the wheels that may confuse you, especially if it’s your first time buying a new set of wheels. This time, we will introduce to you what offset and backspace is.

Knowing and understanding wheel offset will help make your decision much easier. Read this guide before you get started shopping.

Why Care About Offset?

You need to make sure that your new set of wheels has the right amount of clearance. You don’t want them to rub against the suspensions, brakes, or vehicle body. Having the right offset will also maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s intended safety level. The wrong offset can interfere with the effectiveness of your brakes and reduce the vehicle’s stability.

Offset is important for your car’s quality in driving. We need to look for the right wheels in the right measurement that would fit our vehicles properly, otherwise you may have issues or major problems in the future.

What Is Wheel Offset?

Offset is the name for how your vehicle’s wheels and tires sit in the wheel well. There is a wheel diameter, wheel width, and a “positive”, a “negative” or a”zero” offset.

So, what is the offset? Offset refers to the distance from the wheel hub (the position where the wheel bolts are fixed on the vehicle) to the true center of the wheel, in millimeters (mm)


If the hub mounting surface is behind the wheel’s centerline, then you have a negative offset. Wheels that are known as “deep dish” wheels often have a negative offset.


Zero offset is when the mounting surface of the wheel hub is in a straight line with the centerline of the wheel.


The surface of the hub is mounted on the front side of the wheel. The front side of the wheel is the side that faces the street.


You cannot look at offset on its own. Backspacing is similar to offset, the difference is where we’re going to start measuring. Instead of measuring the “centerline”, it’s measured from the back edge of the mounting surface.

You need to consider offset measurements in conjunction with backspacing. This is the distance your tire and wheel package needs to accommodate both the offset and the wheel width.

Too Positive of an Offset

If your offset is too positive, then you can expect to create some expensive damage to the body and suspension of your vehicle. The inner edge of the wheel and tire will rub on the other car components.

You also risk brake and tire failure. Then there is the poor handling and unstable performance of your vehicle.

Too Negative of an Offset

If your offset is too negative, then you’ll experience a kickback in the steering wheel. You’ll also increase the stress on the entire suspension. Plus you’ll have poor handling.

Choosing the Right Offset Tips

If you want to change the offset of your current wheels, don’t deviate more than 5 millimeters from the stock offset. This will reduce the risk of having degraded handling.

If you want wider and bigger wheels, you need to factor in backspacing. This will ensure you don’t overly adjust the offset without realizing it.

Upgrade Your Wheels Today

When you’re picking out a new set of wheels for your ride, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the different options. However, you need to think about the performance and fitment details such as wheel offset.

If you are new to shopping for aftermarket wheels, the best thing you can do is speak to a professional. Our team at Audio City USA can help you find the right set for your ride.

Shop aftermarket wheels and give your ride an upgrade today!