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What Is Wheel Offset and Why Should You Care?

In many cases, that alien string of letters and numbers printed on the label of whatever you’re buying is for manufacturer use only, so many of us tend to ignore this “fine print.” When you’re in the market for a new set of Polaris RZR wheels, however, these numbers couldn’t be more relevant to your proper use of the product. 

The wheel offset in particular is an often misunderstood dimension, so there’s no shame in asking for a little clarification if you don’t know what exactly wheel offset is. The same goes for bolt patterns. 

Typically, when researching wheel sizing, you will see a figure similar to this:

14x7 4/156 – (4+3)

This is the exact sizing information for our Polaris RZR Hd6 14” Wheels, which come with STI’s high quality Roctane tires as well. In this snippet of numbers is included the size, offset, and bolt pattern. This guide will fully break down each of the three data points so you can make an informed purchasing decision.

Easiest First: Size

The “14 x 7” in our sample used above is the simplest to understand, so we’ll start there. This figure describes the overall dimensions of the wheel. The first number relates to diameter, and the second describes width, so these Polaris RZR wheels are fourteen inches around and seven inches wide—piece of cake. 

Wheel Offset

The (4+3) figure above is referencing this particular wheel’s offset level. Offset in this case is a measure of how much the wheel sticks out horizontally, either widening your stance or keeping it narrow. Specifically, offset is expressed as the relationship between the hub mounting location and the center line of the wheel. If the hub is mounted 4” away from the inner side and 3” away from the street side of the wheel, then you have a (4+3) offset, which will result in the wheel being tucked in slightly because the majority of the wheel’s width is on the inner side. 

This may sound like a petty distinction at first, but it bears great importance on the overall ride quality and appearance of your Polaris RZR. It’s also important to note that your offset figures will always equal the total width of your wheel, and that when the numbers are equal, which is to say the hub is perfectly central, then there is no offset. 

So, how exactly does this influence performance, you might be asking? Consider the following:

  • In the case of a (4+3) offset and especially in more dramatically tucked in offsets, like a 5 or 6 + 3, you gain the advantage of improved clearance all around your vehicle so you can squeak your Polaris RZR through/by tighter spots.
  • In the opposite case, where the first number is smaller than the second, you will sacrifice this improved clearance for improved stability, thanks to the wider stance. 
  • This kind of offset also enables you to run with larger tires if you so choose.
  • If you transition from your Polaris RZR factory wheels, which are usually offset, to a non-offset wheel, you will notice a difference in ride quality and clearance. Many assume that factory wheels are not offset, but this is not the case here.

Some brands like to measure using just a single metric that describes exactly how far out or in the tire is set. This is usually expressed in millimeters, and will use negative numbers for when the first number is smaller (so the wheel sticks out), and positive numbers in the opposite case. So, our example above is a positive offset of a certain amount of millimeters – it would then be expressed as “+10mm” or “+15mm,” etc., meaning that’s how far beyond the center line that the tire is tucked in. Of course, no offset would simply be expressed as zero.  

Whether you’re springing for a new set of tires or buying a new Polaris RZR altogether, it’s always helpful to know what kind of offset and size you’re running. You can determine what these dimensions are from your dealer, owner’s manual, or online. 

Bolt Patterns

That final figure, the 4/156 number, describes the bolt pattern of your wheel. The first number simply describes how many bolts there are, and the second number describes the distance between a pre-set measurement in millimeters. In our case, then, we’re looking at a 4-lug setup where the distance between two of the holes (located diagonally from each other) is 156mm. 

Bringing It All Together

To sum up, the figure 14x7 4/156 – (4+3) is a standardized way of expressing tire size (diameter x width), bolt pattern (number of lugs/space between pre-determined points) and offset (hub distance from inner tire surface + hub distance from street side of tire). Understanding these numbers will help you to ensure proper fitment, accommodate larger tires, improve clearance, service your tires with less hassle, and make more precise upgrade decisions.