Truck Wheels

Ford truck custom wheels

Understanding Offset, Backspacing, and Choosing the Right Design

When it comes to customizing trucks, selecting the right wheels is crucial, not just for aesthetics but also for performance and safety. Understanding the details of wheel sizing, including offset and backspacing, as well as the variety of designs and finishes available, can significantly impact your truck’s handling, appearance, and overall satisfaction with your ride. While our CTM sales team might know all of this information, we would like to inform our followers, supporters and customers who might find these points helpful. In this article we’ll break down the essentials of truck wheels, highlighting the importance of their specs, the variety of designs, and the differences between popular finishes.

The Significance of Wheel Sizing: Offset and Backspacing

Wheel sizing isn’t just about choosing the biggest or most eye-catching design; it’s about compatibility, performance, and safety. Two critical measurements in this regard are offset and backspacing.

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Offset refers to the distance between the wheel’s mounting surface and the centerline of the wheel. It’s measured in millimeters and can be positive, negative, or zero:

  • Positive Offset: The mounting surface is closer to the front (street side) of the wheel. Common in front-wheel-drive vehicles and many trucks, it helps in accommodating the vehicle’s suspension.
  • Negative Offset: The mounting surface is closer to the back (brake side) of the wheel, pushing the wheels outwards, giving trucks a more aggressive stance.
  • Zero Offset: The mounting surface aligns with the centerline, a balance between the two extremes.

Choosing the correct offset is very important for ensuring the wheel sits in the correct position relative to the suspension and body, preventing rubbing, and optimizing handling. In other words, being able to make a U-turn.


Backspacing measures the distance from the inside of the wheel’s mounting surface to the wheel’s back edge. It influences how the wheel fits over the vehicle’s components, such as the brakes, suspension, and inner fender. Like offset, proper backspacing ensures adequate clearance, preventing component wear and maintaining ride quality.

Understanding and selecting the right offset and backspacing are essential for compatibility with your truck’s make and model, ensuring that your vehicle performs optimally and safely.

Wheel Designs: Spokes and Finishes

Wheels come in an array of designs, from the number of spokes to the variety of finishes, each offering a unique look and feel for your truck.

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Spoke Designs

The number of spokes on a wheel can vary widely, from the classic five-spoke designs to intricate patterns featuring multiple spokes. The choice often depends on personal preference and the truck’s style. However, it’s not just aesthetics; the design can also affect the wheel’s strength and weight, impacting performance and fuel efficiency.

Finishes: Chrome, Polished, and Brushed

The finish of a wheel not only contributes to its appearance but also its maintenance needs and durability.

  • Chrome Wheels: Chrome offers a mirror-like, highly reflective finish. While they are visually striking, chrome wheels are susceptible to pitting and peeling, especially in harsh climates with salted roads or high humidity, which can lead to corrosion.
  • Polished Wheels: Polished wheels provide a similar shine to chrome but without the plating process, resulting in a less durable finish that requires regular maintenance to keep them from oxidizing.
  • Brushed Wheels: Brushed wheels offer a more subdued, matte finish that hides imperfections better than polished or chrome wheels. They’re easier to maintain and provide a modern, industrial look.

Finishes: Black & Milled vs. Machined

  • Black and milled: These wheels are characterized by their deep, black finish with milled accents—these are areas where the top layer of black paint has been precisely removed using a milling machine, revealing the bright metal underneath in specific patterns or designs, creating a striking contrast. 
  • Black and machined: These wheels also start with a black base but are highlighted by areas machined to a smooth, shiny finish, rather than being milled away to expose the metal beneath. This machining process tends to create a more polished appearance with sleek, reflective surfaces that contrast with the matte or gloss black.

Be sure to checkout our Forged Wheels page to learn the difference between cast wheels and forged wheels.

Chrome custom truck wheels

Making the Right Choice

When selecting wheels for your truck, consider the following tips:

  • Know Your Truck’s Specs & Suspension: Understand the recommended offset and backspacing for your specific model to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. If you decide to get a leveling kit or lift kit, most suspension manufacturers provide a suggested wheel and tire size for proper fitment and to avoid rubbing.
  • Consider Your Environment: Choose a wheel finish that can withstand your local climate and road conditions. For durability and ease of maintenance, polished or brushed finishes might be preferable over chrome, especially here in Florida.
  • Style vs. Functionality: Decide what’s more important for you. If you’re after performance, consider the weight and strength of the wheel design. For aesthetics, focus on the finish and spoke design that best matches your truck’s look.
  • Consult Professionals: Have no fear, CTM is here! Our sales and aftermarket specialists can provide valuable advice tailored to your needs and ensure that your choice enhances both the look and performance of your truck.
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In conclusion, selecting the right wheels for your truck involves a balance of technical knowledge, aesthetic preference, and practical considerations. By understanding the implications of offset and backspacing, choosing the right design and finish, and considering your specific needs and environment, you can significantly improve your truck’s appearance, performance, and durability. But if you are still struggling with understanding these aspects, then you are not alone. Here at CTM we have been dedicated for years to serving our customers and being as informative as possible to everyone whether you know exactly what you want/need or have no clue where to start. We also have a showroom at our shop in Stuart, FL with a wheel wall displaying a variety of designs, finishes and sizes. With all that information, if you are ready to get a new set of wheels head over to our shop, give us a call or click on THIS LINK to request a quote. 

Interested in joining the CTM Team? We need accessory installers and more!