The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Squealing Tire - Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

Wheel Offset and Backspace – How Do They Relate?

 Wheel Offset and Backspace Explained

Wheel Offset and backspace are essentially two different ways of looking at the same thing. They determine the location of the wheel and tire assembly when bolted to the vehicles hub (how far in – tucked, or how far out they will sit).

Wheel Offset is the measured distance between the hub mounting surface and the wheels center line.

With X being the determined offset, the hub mounting surface on positive offset wheels is X amount forward from the wheel center line. The hub mounting surface on negative offset wheels is X amount backwards from the wheel center line. The hub mounting surface on 0 offset wheels is the wheel center line.

Wheel Backspacing is the measurement from the hub mounting surface to the back edge of the wheel.

Typically speaking, the higher the offset/backspace, the more the wheel will tuck inward towards the suspension or away from the fender. The lower the offset/backspace, the more the wheel will push out away from the suspension or towards the fender.

For Example:

  • If the offset on a 9″ wide wheel is +12 mm, the hub mounting surface will be 12 mm forward from the wheels center line. Measuring from the hub mounting surface to the back edge of the wheel, the backspacing is 5.5″.
  • If the offset on a 9″ wide wheel is -12 mm, the hub mounting surface will be 12 mm towards the back of the wheel from the wheels center line. Measuring from the hub mounting surface to the back edge of the wheel, the backspacing is 4.5″.

Here’s how to calculate the backspacing using the rim width and offset:

First – add 1″ to the rim width and then divide by 2 to find the wheels center line (you have to account for the wheel flange which is why you add 1″ to the rim width). Second – convert the offset which is in millimeters into inches (there is 25.4 mm in 1 inch so divide the offset by 25.4). Lastly – add the converted offset to the wheels center line (if the offset is positive) for the correct backspacing or subtract the converted offset to the wheels center line (if the offset is negative) for the correct backspacing.

For Example:

17×9 +12 mm offset

  • 9″ rim width + 1″ = 10″
  • 10″/2 = 5″ (wheels center line)
  • +12 mm offset/25.4 = 0.47″ (0.50″ rounded up)
  • 0.50″ + 5″ = 5.50″ Backspace

17×9 -12 mm offset

  • 9″ rim width + 1″ = 10″
  • 10″/2 = 5″ (wheels center line)
  • -12 mm offset/25.4 = 0.47″ (0.50″ rounded up)
  • 0.50″ – 5″ = 4.50″ Backspace

*Please note that the wheels center line is the backspacing for 0 offset wheels*

 

 

Matt JohnsonAbout The Author: Matt Johnson (13 Posts)

I've been a Discount Tire Trusted Expert for 9 years now and an automotive enthusiast for most of my life. Whether it’s driven on the track, off-highway, or on the street, I’m interested! I particularly enjoy crunching numbers and finding truth in the technical details. Wheels and tires may seem like a simple thing but those that have tried to plus size any application know there’s a lot more to it than just rubber, steel and aluminum. Click the Author Profile Icon below to read more.