The Dual Importance Of Wheel Backspacing And Offset For Your Tampa Bay Wheels

Chances are, if you are reading this, you have a car or truck or off-road vehicle that you love.  You may spend plenty of time and cash on parts and accessories to personalize and customize your vehicle.  Aftermarket or custom wheels are a particularly popular way to create a new and individual look for your vehicle.  But not just any rims are going to work for your ride. In addition to the size and bolt pattern of the wheels, you also need to pay attention to the wheel backspacing and wheel offset measurements to ensure a proper fit.  Here we will discuss these terms so that you will get the best wheels in Tampa Bay for your car.

Understanding Offset

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When you are shopping for new wheels and tires in Tampa Bay, you need to think about what kind of wheels will fit your car.  Not just the height of the wheel! Will the wheels (with tires mounted) clear the car’s fenders? Will they clear the suspension?  Will they be too close to the calipers? These are issues that have to do with “offset”. Offset is simply how much distance the hub or pad (the mounting surface of the wheel) is away from the centerline of the wheel.  Imagine looking straight at a rim, not the side that shows when it is mounted on a car, but turned sideways, and then imagine a line bisecting the wheel, right down the middle. This is zero offset. If this imaginary line goes through the mounting pad, right in the center, the wheel has zero offset.  This can also be known as OEM (original equipment manufacturer) offset. Positive offset, also known as lower offset, is the instance where the hub or pad of the wheel is further away from the suspension, it has moved closer to the face of the wheel, the end closest to the curb, if you will. These types of rims are commonly used on passenger cars and also on performance vehicles.  Negative offset (or higher offset) is the situation where the mounting hub is closer to the suspension so that the wheel has a “deep dish” type of appearance. These types of wheels are more common on pickup trucks. Negative offset wheels will need more space in the wheel well to fit properly. LINE-X of South Tampa carries wheels for your trucks and off road vehicles and can assist you with choosing the perfect offset wheel for your needs, simply call or stop in and ask someone on our team about it!  Getting the right offset wheels of your vehicle will enhance the look, performance, and handling of your car. Having the wrong offset can lead to serious problems, however. If the positive offset is too great, these problems can arise:

  • Costly damage occurring when the inner tire or wheel lip comes in contact with suspension parts or fenders
  • Brake or caliper interference
  • Stress on tires
  • Handling can be compromised
  • Suspension instability
  • Wheel bearing damage

If the negative offset is too great, these problems can occur:

  • Potential for steering kickback increases
  • Suspension susceptibility to stress
  • Handling can be compromised
  • Wheel bearing damage
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Measuring for offset can be tricky.  Nearly all wheels will have the offset stamped or embossed somewhere on the wheel, the back of the wheel, on the hub, or possibly on a spoke.  It is commonly a number with the letters “ET” before or after the number. If the wheel’s offset is 45 (measured in millimeters, mm) then the offset measurement may look like “ET45” or “45ET”.  It is possible that there may not be a number at all, in which case you will have to measure for it. Here is a fairly easy explanation, “Technically, offset is the distance from the hub mounting flange to the centerline of the wheel between the mounting beads. Since you can’t measure between the beads with the tire on the wheel, here’s an easy way to find offset by measuring from the tire sidewall. Lay the wheel/tire assembly on the floor and place a straight edge across the tire. Measure the distance from the floor to the straight edge and write down that number. Divide that number by two to calculate the centerline of the wheel. Now measure from the hub flange to the straight edge. Subtract the smaller number from the larger number. That gives you the offset of the wheel. If the centerline number is smaller than the hub measurement, offset is positive.” When you are considering purchasing new wheels for your vehicle in Tampa, be sure to consider the offset!

All About The Backspace For Your Truck’s New Wheels In Tampa

While the term “backspace” is related to offset, it is not the same thing.  First, backspace is measured in inches instead of millimeters. Backspace is defined as the distance from the backside of the hub/pad (mounting surface) to the inside lip of the wheel.  To measure for backspace, you put your wheel on the ground with the outside of the wheel (the side you see when the wheel is mounted) facing down and the back of the wheel facing up towards you.  Lay a straight edge or yardstick right across the wheel so it lays flat on top. Then with a tape measure, measure from the surface of the hub (where the lug holes are) to the straight edge. This is your backspace measurement, again in inches.  Especially for trucks and 4×4’s, this is an important measurement when you are buying new wheels and tires in Tampa Bay. If you need any more information on these measurements or to buy wheels and tires for your 4×4, remember you can simply call up LINE-X in Tampa Bay and get all the help you need.  If a wheel has less backspace, that means that the wheel moves out and away from the brake and suspension parts, toward the fender.  If a wheel has more backspace, that means that the wheel moves closer toward the car, toward the suspension and brake parts. It’s important to know this backspace measurement so you know if your wheel well is large enough to accommodate more backspace so that no rubbing occurs between the wheel and suspension parts.  Trucks with lift kits will often need less backspace or the wheels will not fit. If you have an SUV or a lifted truck, be sure you know what kind of backspace you need before you buy new wheels and tires.

Now you know about offset and backspace you can be confident you are getting the best wheels in Tampa for your vehicle!