Mustang Wheel Tech Guide

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We’ve all heard auto techs mention terms like “offset” and “backspacing” and “bolt pattern” when talking to them about mustang wheels. And we’ve all nodded our heads like we knew what they were talking about, even when we didn’t. Here’s a secret for you: most Mustang owners don’t know everything about buying wheels for their mustang. Looking for different tire sizing calculations, or just want to see how much those new rims are going to throw off your speedometer? A tire size calculator will help you solve fitment and spacing issues, as well as give you insight into measurements and differences between tires.

Mustang Wheel Basics - Backspacing, Offset & More

Mustang Wheel Diagram  

We’ve covered the basics and taken the guess work out of buying mustang wheels in our Mustang Wheel Buying Guide.

 

But we know that there are a few people out there that do want to know what their technician is talking about. For you, we have created this guide, filled with the technical information that you don’t really need to know.

Mustang Wheel Offset

The offset on a Mustang's wheel is the distance from the hub mounting surface to the centerline of the mustang wheel. It is very important to purchase a wheel with the correct offset for your year Mustang. If the offset is not right for your mustang, the suspension, steering and handling will be affected.

 

There are three types of offset:

  • 1. Zero Offset

    Mustang wheels with zero offset means that the hub mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel.

  • 2. Positive Offset

    The hub mounting surface on your Mustang's wheel is toward the front (face or "wheel side") of the wheel. Positive offset wheels are generally found on front wheel drive cars, as well as on newer rear-wheel drive cars.

  • 3. Negative Offset

    Having negative offset on your Mustang's wheels means that the hub mounting surface is toward the back (or brake side) of the wheel’s centerline.

Mustang Wheel backspacing Diagram  

Mustang Wheel Backspacing

Backspacing is distance from the back edge of a wheel's rim to the back of the center section. Measured in inches, backspacing is closely related to offset. This measurement is important because it determines the clearance of the wheel in the well, and the amount the wheel will stick out.

 

You can measure a wheel’s backspacing by running a straight edge across the rim bead and dropping another straight edge down to the wheel face, measuring that distance.

Mustang Bolt Pattern:

Year: Factory Wheel Sizing Factory Bolt Pattern Stud sizing Center Bore Offset Max Wheel Size
1979-1993 Mustang 14"x6 4"x108mm 1/2"x20mm 63.4 15-25mm (M) 20 inches
1985-1993 Mustang GT 15-16" 4"x108mm 1/2"x20mm 63.4 15-25mm (M) 20 inches
1994-1998 Mustang, Mustang GT & Cobra 15-18" 5"x114.3mm 1/2"x20mm 70.3 35-50mm (H) 22 inches
1999-2004 Mustang, Mustang GT & Cobra 15-17" 5"x114.3mm 1/2"x20mm 70.3 35-50mm (H) 22 inches
2005-2009 Mustang & Mustang GT 16-18" 5"x114.3mm 1/2"x20mm 70.3 35-50mm (H) 22 inches
2010-2014 Mustang & Mustang GT 17-19" 5"x114.3mm 1/2"x20mm 70.3 35-50mm (H) 22 inches

The bolt pattern is the diameter of the circle made by the centers of the wheel lugs. So, for our 5-lug wheels, a bolt pattern of 5 x 4.5 inches means that the lug pattern falls on a circle that is 4.5 inches in diameter.

TIP: 5x4.5 inches is 5x114.3 mm

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