If a car owner would like to exchange his stock wheels for an aftermarket type, there are many factors to consider. A couple of these that can affect the installation and drive of the vehicle are the offset and backspacing.
Every aftermarket wheel is designed differently. The hub-mounting surface, or where the wheel attaches to the car, can be placed either closer to the inside of the wheel well, in the middle, or farther outside the wheel well for differing styles.
A zero-offset wheel design has the mounting surface in line with the middle, or center line, of the wheel. This places an even load across the wheel and tire assembly. The backspace term refers to the measurement between the mounting surface and the back of the wheel, typically 4.75 inches for a zero-offset wheel with a 8.5-inch overall wheel width.
Offsets can also be positive and negative from the middle of the wheel center line. But, the more extreme the offset, the more it will affect the ride of a vehicle, as well as the handling.
- Photo Credit retro car, wheel image by strokine from Fotolia.com