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Wheel offset: Everything you need to know

4x4 Wheels

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Wheel offset is a really important consideration when you’re choosing new wheels for your 4×4 or van. Get it right, and you’ll have the stance and performance you want without compromising the way your vehicle handles, steers or rides. Get it wrong, and you’re likely to end up with suspension and steering problems.

Unlike other wheel measurements like PCD and stud pattern (which is much harder to get wrong because the wheels simply won’t fit onto the hubs), doing your homework on offsets is essential if you want your vehicle to drive properly. Read on for advice from the experts at 4×4 Tyres.


Looking for a deeper dish look for your 4×4?

On everything from Series 2 Land Rovers to Amaroks and Rangers, a deeper dish can really look the business and improve handling and grip. You just need to know what will work and what won’t. To get a deeper dish look, choose a wheel with a more negative offset than your standard wheels. Just be sure to get some good advice on what will fit your vehicle and what modifications you might need. Our experts can help – just ask.

Land Rover Defender wheel offset
Left image: 0 offset.
Middle image: a more positive offset pulls the tyre towards the vehicle.
Right image: a more negative offset pushes the tyre away from the vehicle and gives a deeper dish look.

What is wheel offset?

Wheel offset is the measurement of the distance from the centre line of the wheel to the hub of the vehicle. A more negative offset will push your wheels out away from the chassis (the wheel has a deeper dish). A more positive offset will set your wheels further in to the wheel arches (the wheel has less of a dish).


What does ET mean in wheel offset?

ET comes from the German phrase for offset – Einpress Tiefe. You’ll usually see an offset stated like this: ET35 (in this case meaning a positive offset of 35mm).


How is wheel offset measured?

Wheel offset is measured from the centre line of the wheel as you look at it end-on. A measurement of 0 offset means that the wheel hub will be on the centre line of the width of the wheel.

The measurement is made in millimetres, even though the wheel width is stated in inches. So for a wheel with an offset of ET-50 (50mm negative offset), the wheel hub would sit about 2 inches back from the centre line of the wheel.


What wheel offset do I need?

Because wheel offset varies between manufacturers, there’s no industry standard for it. The offset you need will depend on what you want to use your vehicle for, or if you want to move away from the factory look.


How to find the offset of your existing wheels

It’s pretty important to know what the factory offset is for your vehicle as a starting point. On steel wheels, it’s usually stamped into the metal on the back of the wheel. On alloy wheels, the offset is cast into the wheel rather than stamped.


Conclusion

Going for a different wheel offset is a great way to modify the stance of your vehicle and improve the way it handles on and off the road. Just make sure you get the right advice before you pick a new offset for your 4×4, truck or van. We’re here to help if you need any advice.