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The measurement of wheel offset is the distance between the mounting surface and the wheel’s centerline. We’ve got a complete guide to wheel anatomy and a dictionary of wheel terms you can refer to if you get lost. The centerline is basically the middle of the wheel barrel. The centerline can be defined as the line drawn in an imaginary direction from the center of your wheel. The distance and direction of the difference in centerline and mounting surface are called wheel offset.

Zero offset is when the mounting surface is at the centerline. It doesn’t matter what the offset of the wheel is. This is not something you will encounter often. You should be more concerned about whether the offset is negative or positive. If the wheel offset of positive is greater, the mounting surface of the wheel is in the front of the wheel and forward of the centerline. If the wheel offset of a negative value, the mounting surface of the wheel is towards the front of the wheel, forward of the centerline.


The wheel offset will determine whether the wheel will fit your vehicle. The general rule of thumb is: Most front-wheel drive vehicles have a positive offset. You will need to lower the offset if you plan to install wider wheels than OEM. You reduce the offset by bringing the wheel inward a little more so that it doesn’t go too far and affect the vehicle’s handling. You might notice the wheels scraping or bumping into things if you put larger wheels on your car. The offset of a front-wheel-drive vehicle can be changed to change the scrub radius, steering, acceleration, and braking.

You would, however, find it more often. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a negative offset. The offset can be changed to alter the steering wheel and scrub radius. The acceleration is not affected, and the brakes aren’t affected unless you do something really bad and hit the brake calipers.


Positive offset wheels are classified as HPO and MED. These mysterious categories are for high or medium positive offset. It seems so simple, right? High positive offsets make it possible to create eye-popping designs.

The positive offset fills the wheel to the tee and leaves plenty of space for brake calipers. You can opt for a more aggressive fitment if you prefer a staggered design.


On lifted or off-road vehicles, negative offset wheels are common. The more aggressive the position, the greater the negative offset. Negative offsets can result in a concave or convex wheel.


It’s not difficult to find the correct offset. To find the offset, you can check the markings on your current wheels.

This post was written by a wheel and tire expert at Tennessee Tire. Tennessee Tire & Wheel is Clarksville Tennessee and Fort Campbell Kentucky’s leading tire and custom wheel shop. We proudly offer Southern Hospitality combined with the lowest prices in town! Come see us, call us, or message us for a quote today. You won’t be sorry you did. Click Here to learn more!


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