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Backspacing and Spacers on F150

What Is Wheel Offset and Backspace?

By Maxxed F150Published 2 months ago 5 min read
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There's no shortage of aftermarket wheels for the 2004-2014 and the 2015-2022 F150s. A simple Google search exposes you to hundreds of eager buyers looking to sell wheels and tires at a steal. But when looks and style just don't cut it, you can always consider the offset and backspacing. However, doing so throws a spanner in the works and makes picking out a new set of F150 wheels near impossible.

If this describes your predicament, you're in the right company. Having answered many questions about backspacing and offsets, we're well-versed in this matter. Today, we'll be taking a deep dive into the different backspacing and offsets available for your truck. We'll tackle everything from what backspacing and offsets are to how backspacing and offsets affect your tire fitment.

Let's dive right in.

What Is Wheel Offset and Backspace?

Before we get to the crux of the matter, it's important first to establish what offset and backspace are and how their functionality is complementary.

Backspacing is the measure of the space between the back edge of the wheel and the hub mounting surface. Wheels with higher backspacing typically have the back edge of the wheel positioned closer to the back of the center bore. This means the tires are tucking more under the wheel well. On the other hand, wheels with lower backspacing have the back of the wheel positioned away from the back edge of the center bore and jut out further from the truck.

Backspacing is a tad easier to understand since it doesn't rely heavily on other aspects of the wheel. However, backspacing alone is enough to give you a rough estimate of the position of your wheel without suspension mods like UCAs or the knuckles on lift kits.

Offset is slightly different from backspacing in that it measures how far back or forward from the hub mounting surface your wheel centerline will sit. There are three types of offsets: positive offset, negative offset, and zero offsets.

Positive offset: This is when the hub mounting surface is placed in front of the wheel's centerline. This happens when the backspacing is less than half of the wheel width. This type of offset causes your F150's wheels to stick out from the body and move toward the street line.

Negative offset: On the flip side, a negative offset is when the hub mounting surface sits behind the wheel's centerline. This occurs when the backspacing is more than half the wheel width. Wheels with negative offsets tuck into your F150's body, making them look flush. The "deep dish" wheels are excellent examples of negative offsets.

Zero offset: As the name suggests, a zero offset is when the backspacing and wheel widths are equal. Zero offsets don't tuck in, sit flush or stick out from the body. They're typically seen in aftermarket wheels for F150s with stock suspensions, giving you more room for bigger tires without sticking out too far or too close to the body.

Like backspacing, wheels with higher offsets will have more tuck under the wheel. On the other hand, wheels with lower offsets will stick out more. However, since the offset is relative to the wheel's centerline, you'll have to know your wheel's width to figure out how far it'll stick out from the truck.

For instance, a 20x10" wheel with a +12mm offset has a 5.97" backspace but a 20x9" wheel with a +12mm offset has a backspace of about 5.47", giving them different clearances with your F150's wheel suspension and wells. This poses a potential problem when trying to fit larger tires on your F150.

How Do Offsets and Backspacing Work on the F150s?

Most F150 stock wheels have a high backspacing of about 6.5". Their offsets usually range from about 44mm to 55mm, depending on the wheel's width. Aftermarket F150s generally have less backspacing and offsets. As such, the wheels stick out from the body and wheel wells.

Why High Backspacing and Offsets Are Great for Your F150

There are a couple of reasons why you may want high backspacing and offsets on your F150. First, since the tires are tucked inside the wheel well, keeping your truck's sides and love handles clean is easier. Secondly, some states don't allow tires that jut out of the car's body. High backspacing ensures you stay in line with the law.

Why Low Backspacing and Offsets Are Great for Your F150

Low backspacing and offsets are also great, especially if you want to squeeze larger tires on your F150 without lifting it. Wheels with lower backspacing are the most popular choice for F150 owners, and here's why:

● Most states have laws regarding how far back your tires can stick out, and low backspacing help you stay within the limits.

● Low backspacing lets you use wide tires while still clearing suspension modifications

● Most suspension parts and tire installations require wide tires about 12.5" that are only compatible with low backspacing

How Do Backspacing and Offsets Affect Tire Fitment?

Backspacing and offsets affect tire fitment in two ways. First, backspacing is essential when choosing an aftermarket wheel, as it affects how far back the wheel will sit against the back of your F150's hub. Second, offsets determine how much clearance you have between your tires and the wheel wells.

Higher backspacing and offsets result in more clearance, while lower backspacing and offsets will make your tires stick out. This directly correlates to your tires' sizing, given that backspacing and offsets determine how much room you have in your F150's wheel wells. In other words, backspacing and offsets will determine what tires can fit on your F150.

Final Thoughts

Backspacing and offsets are simple concepts to grasp. We hope this article has helped you better understand backspacing and offsets and how they affect your F150's wheel fitment. Once you understand backspacing and offsets, you'll be able to make the perfect selection for tires, wheels and lift kits for your F150. Until then, happy wheel shopping.

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