What is Rim Offset and Backspacing? How Do They Affect Fitment?

Thursday, June 26, 2014 by Cy Chowattukunnel

Have you been told your Honda needs a high offset wheel or that your new Jeep wheels must have the right backspacing?

Many drivers are familiar with rim diameter, bolt pattern and centerbore, but not offset and backspacing.

Offset is the distance between the mounting pad and rim's midpoint. The diagram to the right shows a wheel with a positive offset. Every contemporary Original Equipment wheel has a positive offset, however O.E. offset varies. For example, my old Honda Prelude SH has 16x6.5 wide, 55mm offset wheels while a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport comes with 16x7 44 mm offset wheels.

What happens when you get a new wheel with a different offset?  A higher offset results in the wheel and tire moving more in (towards the hub). A lower offset causes the wheel and tire to move out (towards the fender). 

What happens when you replace the 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport's 16x7 44 mm offset wheels with the 17x8 6 mm offset MAMBA MR1X wheels? The 38 mm offset difference pushes the outside edge 38 mm out towards the fender and the additional width adds another 12.7 mm. Therefore, compared to Original Equipment, the outside edge is 50.7 mm further out towards the fender. Relative to the O.E. wheel, the MAMBA MR1X provides 25.3 mm additional inside clearance.

Backspacing is the distance between the mounting pad and the back of the wheel. Offset and wheel width will be marked on the back of the original and aftermarket wheels, but backspacing needs to be measured.

What does this all mean to you? Since we have already checked to see what fits your vehicle, all listed wheels have a compatible offset and backspacing specification. If you've lowered your car or you're running an oversized custom fit tire size, a higher offset wheel will allow for better fender clearance and a lower offset wheel will create additional inside clearance.

Shop by vehicle to view the wheels that are available for your application.

New Wheel for Spring 2013: Verde Parallax

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 by Ben Rooney

The Verde Parallax has been added to our lineup of aftermarket wheels for 2013. This wheel has an attractive, clean five-spoke design, with each spoke divided into two parallel spokes. All Verde Parallax wheels feature a machined face with black accents. The machined spokes are highlighted against the black background, making them the visual focus of the design. 

Verde, established in 1981, has committed itself to excellence throughout the production process, from research and design through final production. This dedication has resulted in both ISO/TS16949 certification and recognition internationally via certification by the International Standards Organization. Their factory was built in 2002 as a fully integrated production line with R & D, tooling, casting, CNC machining, polishing, chrome plating, painting, packaging and warehouse logistics capabilities.

While this wheel is listed as new for the spring of 2013, there are already a few in stock. Pricing for the Parallax currently ranges between the $170 to $200*. The wheel is available in rim diameters of 19" and 20". You can shop by vehicle to view the offerings available for your car.

* Prices subject to change

Lightweight, Strong and Good Looking: Enkei Racing Series PF01

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by Marshall Wisler

Selecting wheels for a vehicle is subjective based upon one's taste and ultimately up to each individual customer. Here at Tire Rack, we offer many different brands to suit the various tastes of our customers.

While I'm frequently asked, "What wheel would look best on my car?", I must admit it's a very difficult question to answer. Even though I've been customizing cars for years and certainly have my thoughts as to how things should be done, my feelings don't always match that of the consumer. 

When I do weigh in, I try to recommend wheels that aren't overstated, of good quality and are as purposeful as possible. For customers looking for a wheel that is durable, good looking and extremely lightweight, one of my favorite choices is Enkei's PF01

Part of the Enkei Racing Series family, this product weighs as little as 10 lbs. in certain sizes and maintains a much lower price point than other high-end wheel manufacturers. The broad range of bolt patterns and sizing of this wheel allows it to be used on a wide variety of vehicles.

The 4x100 bolt pattern is a popular choice for Honda and Mazda Miata owners, while the 5x114 option has proven to be very popular on countless other makes and models. Besides the physical allure of this wheel, it's proven quite handy when trying to clear Big Brake Kits due to its large amount of spoke clearance.

When considering aftermarket wheels or aftermarket rims as they are commonly called, take a look at many of the various wheels from Enkei. With many wheels to chose from, your tastes doesn't have to exactly mirror my own.

Lowering Your Ford Mustang

Thursday, January 5, 2012 by Logan Woodworth
The late model Ford Mustang is fast becoming an extremely popular vehicle for both customizers and enthusiasts. This is partly due to the volume of aftermarket parts available and the demand from consumers to set their Mustang apart from the crowd and show off their personal style.

In addition to custom paint jobs and aftermarket wheels (rims), many Mustang owners are opting to lower their cars for more aggressive handling and appearance. Due to the flexibility of the late model Mustang chassis, there are several ride height and stiffness options available.

Depending on the version of Mustang, there are several options for lowering from standard non-adjustable springs to fully adjustable coil-over kits. Coil-over kits offer the height and dampening adjustability that is not possible with a spring-only application.
Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-Over R2 Kit for 2011 Mustang GT
It's important to note that when changing a vehicle's ride height, alignment adjustments will be needed for your vehicle. For lowering, this typically includes reduction in camber to counter the camber increase caused by shorter springs. For the newer Mustang, a set of camber bolts will do the trick for the front and an adjustable panhard bar or trailing arm for the rear.

When you're looking for Mustang shocks, springs, coil-over kits or other suspension parts for your ride, be sure to shop by vehicle to find the parts that are a great fit.

Wheels & Tires for the 2011-2012 VW Jetta

Friday, November 4, 2011 by Cy Chowattukunnel
Despite what some automotive experts say, I really like the new Volkswagen Jetta. And, if the original Jetta tires and wheels are not to your liking, some aftermarket car rims and tires could really increase the vehicle's style.

As you try to envision how a given wheel will fit on your car, keep in mind that the offset spec effects the overall look. How would the 17x7.5 5-112 bolt pattern 45mm offset Bright Silver Enkei Tuning Fujin look on the car, even though your Original Equipment wheels are 16" in diameter and 6.5" with a 50mm offset? To help you gain a better picture of how these Enkei rims would sit on your vehicle, look at where your valve stems sit and picture them moving 17mm (roughly 3/4") out towards the fender.

Manufacturers will determine what sizes of wheels they'll make, as not all wheels come in all sizes. However, when you purchase wheels from Tire Rack, you can be assured the wheel you order is a perfect match for your vehicle. To see how we get the proper fitments for each vehicle, read "How We Know What Fits."

Since I am a big fan of the Jetta TDI let's use this application as an example. For 17" wheels you can choose Volkswagen tires in either 225/45-17 or 235/45-17. If I were picking tires to use here in Indiana, I'd get the 225/45-17 Michelin Primacy MXM4 for its combination of great steering response, wet grip and efficiency.

Since the new Jetta uses the indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System with ABS sensors, you don't need to get separate sensors. And when you're looking at our online tire prices for the Michelin Primacy, create a Tire & Wheel Package with the Enkei wheels for $1388* plus shipping.

17x7.5 Bright Silver Enkei Tuning Fujin
17x7.5 Bright Silver Enkei Tuning Fujin
225/45-17 Michelin Primacy MXM4
225/45-17 Michelin Primacy MXM4

Create the perfect Tire & Wheel Package for your Jetta today!

Aftermarket Wheels and O.E. Center Caps

Friday, January 28, 2011 by Chad Hocker
Aftermarket wheels designed to use the Original Equipment center cap are available at Tire Rack. Let the wheels from Bremmer Kraft, Breyton, ASA, Elbrus and O.Z. Racing give your vehicle that custom look while maintaining the factory edge. Take a look at a few options that will set your car apart from the rest:

Bremmer Kraft BR05 Black PaintedBreyton Race GTS-R Matte Grey w/Red StripeASA Type 8 Chrome Plated
Bremmer Kraft BR05Breyton Race GTS-RASA Type 8
Mercedes-BenzBMWMercedes-Benz

O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLT Blue PaintedElbrus I02 Silver PaintedO.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT Bright Silver Paint
O.Z. Racing Alleggerita HLTElbrus I02O.Z. Racing Ultraleggera HLT
PorscheBMW and Mercedes-BenzPorsche


Use our website to view exact fitment and availability as some wheels may not be compatible with certain makes and models.

Note:
Click the "Product Description" tab on the rim summary page to see if the wheel will accept the O.E. center cap. If available for the wheel selected, the O.E. center cap can be purchased from the "Optional Hardware" tab.
BMW Center CapPorsche Center CapMercedes Center Cap

Drive like a "rockstar" with these KMC Wheels.

Thursday, July 15, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
The 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe at right is a sleek and powerful vehicle. But when you add an equally impressive set of aftermarket Mustang rims, it's hard to believe, but the vehicle manages to look even sleeker.

The particular wheels you see at right are Rockstar Car wheels from KMC, so named because the brand gets its inspiration from an elite group of famous musicians and actors. The Rockstar Car is a new wheel at Tire Rack, and we're very excited about its aesthetics.

In fact, we are so excited that we decided to carry it in a version made specifically for lifted trucks and SUVs, too. The Rockstar is part of KMC's XD line, which focuses on creating aggressive wheels that work on and off the road.

Shop by vehicle today to see if KMC can outfit your vehicle.

Ever wonder why aftermarket wheels are so great?

Thursday, June 17, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Visually speaking, the answer to that question is fairly obvious. But there's more to an aftermarket wheel than simply the good looks. Aftermarket alloy wheels produce a number of performance benefits for your vehicle, starting with reduced unsprung weight compared to steel wheels. What is unsprung weight? Any portion of your vehicle not supported by the suspension system. Without that support, those components get hit with road shock and cornering forces. To combat that, wheels make steering precise and improve "turning in" characteristics.

Aftermarket rims are also lighter than steel rims, which helps reduce the overall weight of your car. Clearly a lighter car handles much easier than one with significant weight to it. In addition, alloy wheels are quite strong. And strong wheels support your tires in the corner.

Finally, alloy wheels are made with metals that conduct heat most excellently. Heat is moved away from the brakes, which reduces brake fade. And often, alloy wheels are designed in a way that allows air to flow away from the brakes a little easier.

Still wonder why aftermarket wheels are so great? Let's go back to that visual note. Play around in the Upgrade Garage to see what some of Tire Rack's best aftermarket wheels look like on your vehicle. You just might find yourself sold on a particular set from one of our manufacturers. A list that includes BBS, moda, MSW and more.

We're not just another tire website.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Tire Rack is your complete source for all things auto tires and wheels. Aside from our collection of rims and tires online, you'll find first-hand product reviews from our sales specialists and Tire Rack consumers alike. We essentially don't hold anything back so that you can make the best purchase possible. And so that you can feel comfortable doing so.

In fact, now is most definitely the time to buy. With the onset of spring, we rolled out (pardon the pun) our biggest and best collection of aftermarket rims and tires to date...and a few other new things, too. Like car suspension products, a brake system upgrade and even a few engine tuning products.

Click here to see it all.

Looking for SUV rims? Go Platinum.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 by Tire Rack Team

We recently added Platinum Wheels to our list of premium aftermarket wheel brands. Produced by Ultra Wheel Company, these car and SUVrims will enhance the style and improve the performance of your vehicle.

Three styles—Apex, Saber and Widow—come in a variety of different finishes. Choose from hyper black with a machined lip, chrome plated or black with a machined lip and more. Take a look:

Apex Hyper Black with Machined Lip

Saber Chrome Plated
Widow Flat Black Painted

See all Platinum Wheels.



Aftermarket car rims on the clearance rack? You bet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Update your vehicle with a set of aftermarket car rims from our clearance rack. Act quick, though—this offer is only good while supplies last.

Search by vehicle and look for wheels with Closeout (blue) and/or Special (yellow) prices. And while you're at it, you may want to check out tires. Wheel prices this low make Tire & Wheel Packages even more affordable!

BMW Wheels and More

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Pretty cars need pretty wheels. Or, to take it from another perspective—high performance vehicles benefit from aftermarket wheels to enhance tire performance and handling. But still, they do make a car look really good. The 2009 135i Coupe below features 18" O.Z. Racing Allegerita HLT wheels in an anthracite finish. The following BMW wheels will look just as good:

ASA GT1 (Bright Silver Paint)
Breyton Race GTS-R (Black with Red Stripe)
moda MD7 (Machined with Anthracite Accent)

Now, search by vehicle in our Upgrade Garage to get a visual representation of what different BMW rims might look like on your vehicle. You'll also get the opportunity to see matching BMW tires.

And you might not want to stop there. The Upgrade Garage helps you search our entire inventory of suitable products, like BMW brake pads and BMW suspension upgrades. Are your BMW shock absorbers absorbing enough bounce? Feeling every bump in the road? New BMW shocks might be just what the doctor...or, mechanic...ordered.





You've got the Mustang, now get the Mustang rims.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Ford Mustangs have been rolling down our streets since 1964, impressing us all with their power and their style. Though Ford has made a few improvements over the years, it's as classic a car as ever. Why change a good thing, right? We only disagree with that statement when it comes to the Mustang wheels.

It's not that we dislike the Original Equipment, we only aim to exhibit how the installation of aftermarket Mustang wheels provides performance and aesthetic benefits. And there are a number of excellent aftermarket Mustang wheels.

The 2010 Ford Mustang GT Coupe above features 20" Sport Muscle Tach wheels that are machined with an anthracite accent. Other Mustang wheels that would look just as good include:

Enkei Performance Series LS-5 (Black Painted)
Sport Edition KV5 (Silver)
TRMotorsports MT1 (Matte Grey)

Use our Upgrade Garage to see what these and other Mustang wheels would look like on your vehicle. You'll also get access to Mustang tires, Mustang brake pads and Mustang suspension products, including Mustang shocks.


 

Aftermarket Rims vs. Aftermarket Wheels: Is There a Difference?

Monday, January 11, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Many people use these two terms—"aftermarket rims" and "aftermarket wheels"—interchangeably. Same goes for "car rims" and "car wheels." But technically speaking, "aftermarket wheels" and "car wheels" stand correct.

A rim is actually one of three parts to a wheel, including the hub and spokes. Sometimes these parts will be one piece, and other times two or three pieces. The hub is obviously the center, and it keeps the wheel attached to the car via the suspension system. The spokes come out of the hub, attaching to the wheel's rim. 

It is the rim that keeps the tire attached to the wheel, which is why many people refer to wheels as "rims."

Read more about wheel construction.



Engineering: How it Applies to Shopping for Aftermarket Car Rims

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 by Tire Rack Team
You can pick a certain look for your vehicle and hope for a perfect fit when you buy aftermarket car rims (more accurately referred to as wheels) or you can use the "Shop by Vehicle" tool on our site. Here's why:

Though wheel size, offset and/or bolt pattern are all important, they alone cannot ensure an exact fit. To avoid vibration, wheel/tire interference and unbalanced handling, you'll need to measure a few other critical wheel components. At Tire Rack, we do this with sophisticated electronic tools so that our fitment engineers can get extremely accurate measurements. Vehicles are measured as well, enabling us to compare the two sets of numbers in order to determine precise fitments. (Read more.)

All you need to really know is that it helps us help you find the perfect wheels—just search by vehicle, and we'll show you.

 


You say rim, I say wheel; you say tomato...

Monday, August 31, 2009 by David Horvath
One of my pet peeves is the modern usage of the term "rim"  to describe aftermarket alloy wheels.  Perhaps this is one of those long standing debates that will never be resolved but it's important to use the correct terminology when discussing parts. 

The rim is the outer barrel portion of the wheel where the tire is mounted. 

The term wheel applies to the entire assembly so anyone who says they are going to purchase some rims for their car is not using the correct terminology.

If they intend to purchase an entire assembly, they should say they are purchasing wheels, not rims.

It's a small point but it still bugs me when I hear it used incorrectly.


Perhaps looking at the origin of the word rim would help clear things up.

I believe a lot of the confusion goes back to the very early days of automotive history when it was common for cars to use something called detachable rims.  These early vehicles had wooden wheel centers much like what you would have seen on a horse drawn wagon.

yellow wheel

Mounted to the outside of the wooden center was a removable assembly made up of the steel rim, a rubber tire and a rubber inner tube.

This design was intended to make it easy to dismount the rim and tire as a complete unit.  The rim itself was secured to the wooden wheel center using retainer bolts threaded into the wood. as seen in this close-up.
rim bolt

When you got a flat tire, it was a 'simple' matter of pulling over and switching out the rim and tire assembly. Here's a nice series of vintage photos showing the process:

Here's the damaged flat tire on the steel rim. You can make out the dark rim retainers along the edge of the wooden wheel rim. These would be un-bolted with a wrench.

w

Here's a nice close-up of the rim retainers. The nut 'floated' in the seat of the retainer so they could spin freely. When tightened, they clamped the edge of the steel rim down against the wooden wheel center:

retainers

Once they were removed, the entire rim and tire assembly could be lifted off of the wooden center. 
rim removed

Then it was time to slip the new tire and rim assembly back on the wooden center. It was so easy you could wear your Sunday best coat and gloves!

repair

Many multi-piece alloy wheels are still constructed from separate rim sections and center discs like this O.Z. Racing three-piece wheel:




The centers drop into the rim sections and are bolted in place from the front of the wheel.

glove

So in reality, you purchase wheels, not rims

I want to send out a special thanks to Mr. John M. Daly for allowing me to use some  detailed photos from his website, the  E-M-F 30 Homepage.


For more info about detachable wheels and to learn about the history of the E-M-F 30, check out his organization's website:


emfauto.org/index.php


It's a wealth of information about this fascinating vehicle and its history.