If upgrading your car tires or wheels, it’s most likely because you’re either looking to improve your vehicles handling performance or its appearance. Besides making your car look better, positioning the wheels further out will mean your car is able to handle itself better.
What is wheel offset?
Wheel offset is simply the distance from the wheel centerline to the hub mounting surface. There are three types of wheel offset namely positive, zero and negative.
With positive offset, it means that the hub mounting surface is brought closer to the wheel center line. On the other hand, zero offset is when the hub mounting surface coincides with the center of the wheel. Finally, a negative offset means the hub mounting surface is closer to the inboard side.
Why does wheel offset matter?
Understanding the importance of wheel offset comes into play when you’re looking to buy new wheels. In most cases, car owners only take into consideration wheel patterns and look while forgetting that wheel offset is also a critical factor too in installation fit.
Let’s take a look at the following potential fitment issues often brought about by incorrect wheel offsetting.
First, when the offset is too high, the wheels of your vehicle are likely to hit the inner suspension components. On the other hand, when the offset is too low, these wheels will hit the fenders.
So, if thinking of getting wider wheels, do some research or consult a reputable mechanic for advice on how to adjust the existing wheel offset. Otherwise, you might end up disrupting the stability and handling capability of your vehicle.
How is my car affected by too much negative offset?
Well, too much negative offset causes additional stress to the suspension components thereby leading to poor handling. The car can get unstable especially when negotiating tough corners since your steering wheel easily flicks back and this can lead to nasty accidents.
How is my car affected by too much positive offset?
Too much positive offset can cause damage to the brake components and inner suspension from the inside lip. This often leads to poor handling which makes your car unstable, especially when cruising at high speeds. It could also increase chances of tire bursts if the rubbing occurs on the thin inner wall of the wheel.
Is it possible to change the wheel offset and not change the wheels?
To make it easier for you to change your wheel offset, a majority of manufacturers now sells wheel spacers of different sizes. These spacers help to lower positive offset by minimizing the distance from the hub to the center of the wheel. However, it’s important to take precautions here since spacers tend to make wheels loser as stock bolts do not thread all the way in. An effective way of solving this issue is to get longer bolts or change the bolt design to a stud design.
So, why should I bother changing my wheel offset?
There are several reasons why you may want to deviate from the manufacturer’s original offset. The most popular one is the desire to give your car a more aggressive and beasty look while also filling its stance better. Another reason is to provide proper clearance by pushing your wheels outwards to ensure that you can move the steering wheel fully without rubbing.
So, if you think these two reasons are legit to you, then go ahead and adjust your wheel offset; however, remember to do it professionally for a safe driving experience!