What Is Wheel Offset?

Whether this is your first time buying a set of wheels, or you're just wondering what all of the numbers on the back of a wheel mean, you're in the right place. We'll cover what all of the numbers on wheels mean as well as what wheel offset and backspacing mean.

Understanding Wheel Offset

First and foremost, let's get straight into what is wheel offset. Offset is the distance between the hub mounting surface and the centerline of the wheel. But what does that actually mean to you? Let's take a look at how it affects your wheel fitment and the overall look of your vehicle.

What is the Centerline of a Wheel?

The centerline that we referred to before is found on the barrel of the wheel. To find the centerline, aftermarket wheel companies measure the distance between each bead seat; the part of the wheel that the edge of your tire attaches to (not the lip of the wheel). The midpoint between these two bead seats becomes the centerline of the wheel.

How is Offset Calculated?

Another way to understand what wheel offset is by understanding how to calculate it or what number it represents. The offset of a wheel is calculated by measuring the distance between the centerline and the hub mounting surface, or the backpad of the wheel. It is measured in millimeters. If the backpad is lined up with the centerline of the wheel, then the offset is 0.

What Does Positive Offset Mean?

If the backpad is in front of the centerline of the wheel, towards the face of the wheel, the offset is positive. So a wheel that has the backpad 23mm in front of the centerline of the wheel, the offset becomes +23.

When it comes to answering the question, "what is offset?", we need to know what impact positive offset has on your truck. Too much positive offset could result in your wheels not clearing your suspension or brake parts, causing a lot of damage. Make sure that you take extra time to dial in the correct offset for your build.

What Does Negative Offset Mean?

It's not uncommon for most aftermarket wheels on trucks to be negative offset wheels. Similar to measuring positive, negative offset is how far behind the centerline of the wheel the backpad sits. If the backpad is 44mm behind the centerline, the offset is -44. Like too much positive offset, even too much negative offset can pose risks. It may cause improper handling and more stress on the suspension.

Does Offset Change the Look of a Wheel?

Offset plays a big part in how a wheel looks. Wheels that have a low or negative offset often make the surface of the wheel more concave and, depending on how aggressive the wheel is, create a deep lip. Offset doesn't only affect how the wheel will fit on a vehicle but plays a major part in how the wheel is styled as well.

What is Backspacing?

While not nearly as common as it was 10 years ago, backspacing is pretty similar to offset. Instead of measuring from the centerline of the wheel, backspacing is the distance between the hub mounting surface and the backside of the wheel.

Is Offset Better Than Backspacing?

There is no definitive answer to which method is better for measuring wheel fitment, but offset is a lot more common and easier to understand than backspacing. When you're looking for wheels you'll most likely find offset being used as the measurement.

It would be a good idea to examine the backspacing factor if you're considering opting for a set of wheels that are much wider than before or what your vehicle came with. Especially if you're going for new wheels that look great and perform well, then do consider both, the offset and backspacing measurments.

Where Can I Find the Offset of a Wheel?

When you're searching for a new set of wheels, you can find offset as the last number in the wheel sizing description. Let's use an ARKON OFF-ROAD Lincoln as an example.

If we look at the underlined numbers, we can break down exactly what each one means. The "24" is the diameter of the wheel in inches. So this wheel is 24 inches tall.

The second number, "14", is the wheel width or side of the wheel in inches. This wheel is 14 inches wide.

Finally, the last number, "-81" is the offset. The hub mounting surface of this wheel is 81mm behind the centerline, which is why we see it have a large lip and concave face.

How Do I Know What Wheels Fit My Truck?

We hope our article made it easier to understand what wheel offset is. Getting a new set of wheels can be fun and exciting for automobile or truck lovers. However, besides other vital considerations, it's important to first correctly answer the question "What is the wheel offset that would be perfect for my truck?" Be sure to get the offset right as the wrong offset can lower your vehicle's stability. And getting it right can be tricky without the help of a professional or calculator for the same.

We have a calculator designed to find exactly what fits your ride so you can take all of the guesswork out of finding the correct fitment. The Fitment Calculator will give you detailed specs in a numbered format, limiting the amount of time you’re out in the driveway measuring your setup.

Also, check out the Custom Offsets gallery. It’s the largest gallery of custom trucks in the world and is full of thousands of trucks that are all running aftermarket wheel and tire packages. You'll be able to see exactly what fits your truck and how it will look before you make a decision. You can even buy the exact setup you're looking at directly from the gallery page.

This is by far the best tool for finding the look you want for your truck while providing all of the measurements you could ever want.

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