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Old 03-23-2008, 11:04 PM   #1
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Use these wheels or send them back?

According to this web page,

Ford Focus Wheel & Tire Information

the "Suggested Aftermarket Wheel Offset" for the Ford Focus is 40 - 49 mm. What will happen if I try to use wheels with an offset of less than 40?

The reason I'm asking is, I just bought a set of 16x7 wheels on eBay for my 2003 Focus ZTS. The wheels were advertised as having a 40 mm offset, so I felt comfortable ordering them because 40 is within that "suggested" range of 40 - 49 mm. But when they arrived on my doorstep, it clearly says "Offset: 35 mm" on the box.

Is this 35 mm offset going to be a problem? Should I attempt to get the eBay seller to take these wheels back? The shipping alone cost $150. Since the seller mistakenly listed these wheels as having a 40 mm offset, I think he should eat all the shipping costs (but you know what they say, "good luck with that").

Here are my considerations:
  • I haven't lowered the suspension.
  • I've always bought size 205/50/16 tires for my Focus, and I'm not interested in experimenting with other tire sizes.
  • I'm not a "tuner" and am not too concerned about how these wheels will look; I'm only concerned about whether they will cause rubbing, degrade the handling, or cause a safety problem. (Or some other problem I haven't even anticipated.)
Thanks for any advice.

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Old 03-24-2008, 12:13 AM   #2
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Ok, lets see if I can explain this and not confuse you. When you reduce the positive offset from the recommended offset you change the steering geometry and the term called the scrub radius. If you can imagine a line drawn through your strut as you face the front of the car and also draw a line through the center of the tire, where the two lines intersect is your scrub radius. Now that said, the point at which these two lines intersect should be as close to the road surface as possible. When you mess with this too much your car become harder to handle than drunken pig.

I think the problem you may have will be the wheel rubbing on the brake calibur or the tire rubbing on inside sidewall because your moving the whole wheel into the wheelwell by 5mm. I know it doesn't sound like much but it may be JUST enough.

HTH, Rick

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Old 03-24-2008, 10:16 AM   #3
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The lower the offset is, the closer you move the tire and wheel assembly outward or towards the fender lip. As you do so you reduce wheel/suspension travel. Most rubbing occurs between the edge of the tire and either the fender liner or the lip itself. Fender lip rubbing is much more serious than fender liner rubbing as the lip can cut the tire. I would not gamble with a 35 offset or even a 40mm offset for that matter. The safest offsets for aftermarket wheels are between 45 and 49mm. You'll rarely find a rubbing complaint on these pages with offsets in the bracket. Double check the inside of the wheel. The offset is usually embossed on the wheel rim or the back of a spoke. It will usually appear with the letters "et" in front of the offset measurement.

I like Tirerack's very simple explanation found here:
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:24 AM   #4
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my guess is that they will rub on your fender/wheel well (lower offset = wheel/tire gets pushed further outside on the vehicle); i suggest you attempt to get the ebay selling to take them back, and refund your shipping price on the basis of a misrepresented product.
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