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Aftermarket S197 Mustang Wheel Guide

Written By: Glenn Cope II

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Aftermarket Mustang wheels not only perform and look better than stock rims, they give you the greatest ability to differentiate your car from the mundane heard of stock Mustangs on the road.

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Very few other mods change the look and personality of your car like a set of wheels and tires. There‘s a plethora of choices that can give your Mustang the right look.

American Muscle

Why Put Aftermarket Wheels on a Mustang?

Ford over the years has offered a variety of wheels and they have some really good looking designs. The fact is most of those wheels are a compromise between size and bold styling, and ease of production and cost. The OEM wheels also use a fairly aggressive offset, as much as 50mm on 8.5 inch wide wheels, to keep the wheels and tires tucked well inside the wheel opening. Most aftermarket wheels push the offset more to the outside resulting in a wider stance, improving both looks and handling.

  • Most stock Mustang wheels are a compromise between size, styling, ease of production, and cost
  • Many aftermarket wheels offer performance benefits over stock wheels
  • Aftermarket finishes come in virtually every color
  • Remember, wheel offset determines the backspace measurement
2005-2011 Mustang with a Foose Rim

Mustang Specific: Wheel Offset and Backspacing

Offset is how far the rim center is set one way or the other from the mounting flange of the wheel. Offset and backspacing are terms often interchanged, but offset determines what the backspace measurement is. And offset can be negative, meaning the rim center is offset to the outside of the wheel flange. Positive offset, of course, means the wheel is offset to the inside of the wheel flange and zero offset means the center of the rim is in line with the wheel mounting flange. As far as S197s are concerned, stock offset ranges from 35mm to 50mm. The 16x7 rims have a 35mm offset. The 17x8 rims have a 40mm offset except the Bullitt Mustang which has a 45mm offset. Finally, the 18x8.5 rims have a 50mm offset. Read the Mustang Wheel Guide for a complete understanding of backspacing and offset.

2006 GT Mustang Project Car at Cecil

Mustang Wheel Finishes

Most OEM Ford Mustang wheels come from the factory painted in varying shades of silver or black, although some are polished aluminum which is clear coated. A few styles even come chrome plated. Some of the painted wheels will have machined areas for contrasting look. Colors on aftermarket Mustang wheels run the gamut; most any color or metal finish can be had. Currently the black and matte charcoal colors seem to be the most popular amongst S-197 Mustang owners, but trends change and who knows what the next hot style will be.

Mustang Foose Chrome Wheel

2005-2014 Mustang Wheel Sizing

S197 Mustang OEM wheel sizes run anywhere from 17x7 on the base V6 cars, all the way up to 20x10 on the rear of the top of the line Mustang GT500. The wonderful thing is all S197 Mustangs have the same size wheel openings and offset requirements, so you can take those big 19 and 20 inch Boss and GT500 wheels and bolt them right onto your base V6 or GT. The only limitation as to the interchangeability of S197 Mustang wheels is whether they will fit over the brakes.

The Boss and GT500 and some GT's use large Brembo brakes and need a wheel with the clearance for the larger rotors and calipers. The minimum requirement to fit a set of Brembo brakes is an 18 inch wheel. Some beefier kits require a 19 inch at the least. Make sure to check the fitment on the set of brakes you're interested in to be certain your wheels (aftermarket or otherwise) will accommodate them. Even the base GT's now use a 13.2 inch rotor size, requiring at least an 18 inch wheel. Aftermarket wheels can be had in just about any diameter and width you can imagine and in many offsets making them easy to fit to your Mustang. The Wheel Buyer's Guide has a complete list of sizing and fitment information for all late model Mustangs. And they can be had with plenty of room for those big brakes.

Black Deep Dish Bullitt Wheel
Black Deep Dish Bullitt Wheel
Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, GT, V6, ShelbyGT500, Bullitt, Boss