A positive offset is when the hub mounting surface is in front of the centerline of the wheel. Most wheels on front-wheel-drive cars and newer rear-drive vehicles have positive offset, meaning the hub itself is mounted farther forward on the vehicle than the axle.
Some people enjoy positive offset because it allows their tires to clear obstacles in their ways, such as curbs and parking spaces.
However, others like negative offset because it makes for better cornering capability since it places the weight closer to the axle.
Positive offset does not make a vehicle more stable or handle better; it simply gives a driver more clearance as he or she turns.
The negative offset can make a vehicle much less stable, but it can make it handle better by giving a car more stability at high speeds. The weight distribution has a lot more effect on handling than wheel offset does.”
What is offset on a wheel?
Three types (measured in millimeters).
- Zero Offset: The center line of the wheel results more of the wheels center section extends outward, away from the vehicle.
- Negative Offset: The hub mounting surface is toward the back or brake side of the centerline of the wheel.
- Positive Offset: The hub mounting surface is toward the front or wheel side of the wheel’s centerline.
The offset of a wheel can also be expressed as “backspacing“. Backspacing is measured as the distance between the hub mounting surface and the inside lip of the wheel. A negative offset has less backspacing than a positive offset.
The centerline of a wheel is an imaginary line that runs through the middle, dividing it into two halves. Most wheels have an even number of holes for lug nuts and some have an odd number (like five).
Spokes also run out from this imaginary line, so you can use them as a reference point when measuring offset on five-lug wheels.
What does a negative offset mean on a tire?
The negative offset means the hub mounting surface is toward the back or brake side of the centerline of the wheel. This pushes the wheel out and away from the suspension.
The amount of offset is typically measured in millimeters and results in what is known as “backspacing” on a wheel.
Backspacing is basically how much room there is between tire sidewall and suspension components such as control arms, springs, shocks, struts, and axles.
The most common reason to use a negative offset wheel is to provide more stability by increasing track width, which increases both grip and cornering ability.
Most aftermarket wheels are designed with a positive offset because they are primarily intended for street use. Street wheels often have less material which reduces weight and rotational mass for better acceleration and braking performance.
The negative offset is relative to the centerline of the rim. A positive offset will move the wheel and tire further out from the suspension and a negative offset will move the wheel and tire closer to the suspension.
What happens if you don’t offset your wheels properly?
If you don’t offset your wheels properly, you could find yourself with problems.
The easiest way to demonstrate this is to use a set of alloy wheels we got some time ago.
These were originally mounted on the front of a car, but they were being transferred to the rear.
As you can see from the picture above, the wheels are already pretty close to the suspension. That’s because they have a negative offset.
Now, if you fit them to the rear of a car, that could be problematic for two reasons. One is that there isn’t much space between them and the suspension. The other is that there isn’t much space between them and the bodywork.
When you don’t offset your wheels properly, they can stick out too far beyond the fenders. This causes several problems. Firstly, it looks bad and ruins the look of your car.
More importantly, though, it can also be dangerous to you and others if the wheels stick out in such a way that people could get injured by them.
What does +50mm offset mean?
+50mm offset means a change of the point where the wheel touches the ground by 50 millimeters.
If you have a positive offset, it means that the mounting face of your wheel is closer to the inside edge of your vehicle. This usually results in wheels that are more tucked in than out.
If you have a negative offset, it means that the mounting face of your wheel is closer to the outside edge of your vehicle. This usually results in wheels that are more protruding than tucked in or flush with your vehicle’s fenders.
Fifty millimeters is a typical offset for an aggressive fitment on a large wheel. This means that the center of the wheel is shifted 50 mm inwards from its default position. There are other levels of offsets (e.g. +30mm or +45mm) that provide a less aggressive look.
Most wheels on front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicles have a positive offset. Wheels with a zero or negative offset are generally found on rear-wheel-drive vehicles.
Are offset wheels better?
On many vehicles, an increased offset will help the wheels tuck in better (closer to the suspension) and avoid rubbing issues. But on many others, it will cause more rubbing than less offset. There isn’t a single answer here.
In addition to the rim width, caliper size, brake pad material, and suspension setup, you must also consider the backspacing of the wheel. This is the distance between the mounting surface of the wheel to the back of the wheel.
If this dimension is too large, you may have problems with the wheel hitting inner suspension components (spring perches and such).
If this dimension is too small, then you may have issues with brake rotors or calipers impacting the inside of the wheel.
An offset wheel can be an improvement over the standard factory wheels if you’re looking for better handling, performance, and styling.
However, the advantages of an offset wheel are only realized if the car is lowered. If a Honda Civic is lowered with a set of wheels that have a big offset, it will look silly, because the tire will stick out from under the fender too much.
What does +35 offset mean?
The +35 offset means that the wheel has an extra 35mm of space between the mounting surface and the centerline of the wheel.
The offset can be one of three types (measured in millimeters). Zero, positive, or negative.
Zero offset means that the hub mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel. A positive offset means that the hub mounting surface is in front (more toward the street side) of the centerline of the wheel.
Negative offset means that the hub mounting surface is behind (more toward the brake side) the centerline of the wheel.
The higher or lower number does not indicate a better or worse fitment. The only thing that matters when trying to determine if your wheels and tires will fit is whether or not there is enough clearance for them to fit on your car without rubbing somewhere.
What is the offset of a tire?
A tire’s offset is the distance between the centerline of the wheel and the mounting surface of the wheel. This measurement is important to know when ordering custom wheels or buying a new set of factory wheels for your car.
Depending on how you want your wheels positioned in your wheel well, you may need a different offset than what came on your vehicle from the factory.
1. Positive Offset
Wheels with positive offset have their mounting surfaces nearer to the front or outside of the rim. The more positive an offset is, the more it will stick out from your vehicle. A positive offset is generally found on front-wheel drive vehicles and newer rear-drive vehicles.
2. Negative Offset
Wheels with negative offset have their mounting surfaces nearer to the back or inside of the rim. A negative offset is generally found on rear-drive vehicles, older cars, and some trucks and SUVs.
3. Zero Offset
Zero offsets are when a wheel’s mounting surface is in line with its centerline. Zero offset wheels are usually found on rear-wheel-drive cars and some trucks and SUVs if they have a high positive offset from the factory.
How much offset difference is OK?
The answer to this question depends on how good you want your car to look.
The further the wheel is offset the closer it comes to the hub assembly and the more it will poke out of or be tucked in your fender.
A wheel with less offset than the factory spec will stick out. For example, a wheel with a 25mm offset will push out 2.5cm (1″) farther than one with a 45mm offset.
A wheel with more offset than stock will sit closer to the suspension and could cause some rubbing issues as well as make your wheels look smaller because they are tucked into the fender.
For example, a wheel with a 45mm offset will sit about 2.5cm (1″) closer to the suspension than one with a 25mm offset.
One solution is to reduce the offset for the front tires and increase the offset for the rear tires. If you’re running a 50mm offset on the front and a 42mm on the rear, for instance, try dropping to a 38mm or 35mm offset upfront (if it’s possible) with a 38mm or 35mm offset in the back.
That will make the overall track width of the car slightly narrower but will have less effect on handling than if you put wider wheels all around.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is negative offset good?
A negative offset is when the mounting surface of the wheel is behind the true centerline of the rim/tire assembly.
In other words, the mounting pad (where the hub mounts to the wheel) will stick out further than the inside lip of the wheel. This may be good or bad, depending on your application.
2. Is 10mm offset a big difference?
The offset is the measurement of the distance between the mounting face of the wheel and the centerline of the wheel. 10 mm is about 1/2″ or just over 3/8″.
I would think it would make a noticeable difference. If you like the way it looks after you put them on and you are happy with the way they ride then that’s all that matters.
3. How do I know what offset to get?
The offset is what determines how far in or out from your vehicle’s bodywork your wheels will sit. It also affects how much room there will be between your wheels and your vehicle’s fenders.
A negative offset will cause your wheels to stick outwards from your vehicle, while a positive offset causes them to sit closer to the bodywork. Most stock vehicles have a positive offset.
4. Do positive offset wheels stick out?
Most positive offset wheels will stick out away from the fender because the hub is pushed out, which pushes the wheel out.
If you have a truck or SUV with a high amount of suspension travel, your wheels must be pushed in towards the fender as much as possible to maximize clearance. A negative offset wheel will move the tire out further than a positive offset wheel.
A positive offset is common on front-wheel-drive cars and newer rear-drive vehicles. Most wheels have a positive offset, meaning the hub mounting surface, or flange is located in front of the centerline of the wheel.
On a three-teeth-and-a-half-inch rim, this means that the wheel is 23.5 degrees from vertical or 1.85 inches forward of the centerline of the wheel.
A negative offset is when the hub mounting surface (which is attached to the car’s axle) is situated behind the centerline of the wheel.