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Wheel Offset Explained

By Twinset


Defination of Wheel Offset

The offset of a vehicle's wheel is the distance between the centerline of the wheel and the plane of the part of the wheel bolted to the hub. It can thus be either positive or negative, and is typically measured in millimeters.
Offset has a significant effect on many elements of a vehicle's suspension, including suspension geometry, clearance between the tire and suspension elements, the scrub radius of the steering system, and visually, the width of the wheel faces relative to the car's bodywork.

Zero Offset - The plane of the hub mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel.

Positive Offset - The plane of the hub mounting surface is shifted from the centerline toward the front or outside of the wheel, therefore giving a narrow wheelbase. Positive offset wheels are generally found on front wheel drive cars and newer rear wheel drive cars.

Negative Offset - The plane of the hub mounting surface is toward the back or brake side of the wheel's centerline. This makes the wheelbase wider.

With trucks it's a bit more of a pain, as each manufacturer usually either makes specifically for their truck, or for particular brands of truck (as hop ups)
With touring cars, the wheels all seem to be to the same dimensions, so everyone's 1mm offset wheel does the same as everyone elses.
What you really need to compare is the distance from the inner most bead to the hex boss.
If they're on the same plain, then that's gonna give you the extra width.
If the hex boss is deep inside the wheel, then the truck'll appear narrower.

You can tune offset a little by cutting the bead off - effectively offsetting the rim by about 1/4" although what you've really done is move the tyre over.
You can tell 'offset' to a degree by looking at the 'show' side of the wheel, and how deep within it the wheelnut face sits, but you really need to see the back side of the wheel to guage it effectively.

Here's two Traxxas fit rims (albeit front and rear) which show the offset quite well, the right one will not widen your track as much as the left one;

This is what you really need to compare though;

Both beads (inner and outer) trimmed off

And with the inner bead trimmed off, you can move the tyre outward

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