Wheel Tech – Wheel Offset

Wheel Offset – There has always been a problem of figuring out just how large a custom rim and tire can be stuffed into a wheel well of your car, truck or SUV without rubbing on the inner or outer fender. Offset is the location of the flat mounting surface of a wheel as it relates to the wheel’s centerline.

Brake Caliper Clearance Diagram

Negative Offset – Zero Offset – Positive Offset

Negative Offset means that the mounting surface of the wheel is toward the center of the car. Negative offset is usually found on older vehicles.

Positive Offset means that it is toward the outside of the car, or the wheel is pulled in toward the center. Positive offset wheels are usually found on front wheel drive cars and some small trucks.

Zero Offsets means the measurement to both outer rims are equal.

1932 Ford with Wheel Offset
1932 Ford – Wheel Tech – Wheel Offset

The offset of a wheel affects many things other than whether the wheel has the appearance of sticking out past the fender. The wrong offset can cause rubbing problems when the suspension is compressed or the wheel is turned. Offset affects the steering radius and possibly leading to other problems.

Offset also affects the suspension’s motion ratio, which directly determines the effective spring and damper rates. What this means is you will potentially have wheel bearing failure on a vehicle with improper offset. This especially true with trucks rather than small cars. As you can see it is very important that the proper offset wheels be used.

1955 Chevy Bel Air 2 Door Sedan

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air