Wheel Offset vs Backspacing
Wheel offset measures the millimeters between the center of your wheel and surface of the wheel mount. Wheel offset can be positive, meaning the mounting surface is on the front of the wheel centerline, negative, meaning the mounting surface is towards the back of the wheel centerline, or zero, placing the mounting surface directly at the centerline.
As you increase the offset in comparison to the OEM wheel, the wheel mounts further inward on the vehicle. While this gives you more clearance between the outer edge of the tire and fender, it decreases the space between the tire and suspension. This is not conducive to off-roading. Decreasing the offset of the wheel will mount it further outward, increasing the space between the tire and the suspension and widening the stance of your vehicle. To increase this clearance from the suspension, you’ll want to apply a zero or negative offset. This is especially important when you’ve installed a lift kit.
Wheel backspacing measures the distance of the inner edge of the wheel from the mounting face. Decreasing your wheel backspacing will give you more clearance on the inside of the wheel. Reducing the amount of wheel in your wheel well prevents it from rubbing against the brakes and suspension. Increasing your wheel backspacing reduces your inside wheel clearance, putting your wheels at risk of rubbing against the breaks and suspension. When lifting your vehicle, be sure to pay attention to the backspacing specifications of the lift kit. Too much backspace will prevent your wheel form fitting.
It is also important to consider terrain when dealing with off-road wheels, lift kits, etc. If you are engaging solely in trail riding, mudding and rock-climbing activities, considering street safety isn’t as much of a concern. However, if you are driving your vehicle daily on public streets, you need to consider things like maneuvering and braking capabilities. If you are hauling heavy loads, you should also be aware that your vehicle will ride lower and should be adjusted accordingly.
For more information on wheel offset and backspacing, contact our wheel experts.