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Offset is basically the placement of the hub. It ensures clearance between the wheel, brakes and suspension. If offset is excessively positive, it will come into contact with the brakes and potentially even with suspension, which is even worse. If offset is excessively negative, then it will protrude beyond the tyre, which negatively impacts vehicle performance.
There are three categories of wheel constructions with respect to offset:
1) Zero offset – when the hub mounting surface is in line with the centerline of the wheel width.
2) Positive offset – when the hub mounting surface is closer to the front/face of the wheel.
3) Negative offset – when the hub mounting surface is behind the wheel centerline (closer to the back of the wheel).
Backspacing is the distance measured from inner kerb of the tire to the hub mounting surface. It is important to take this aspect into account when upgrading to wider wheels. Making an error pertaining to offset and backspacing may affect driving and passengers safety.