Fridays FAQ #2 Tire & Wheel Fitment

Backspace, Bigger Tires, and Clearances: 

We get a lot of questions about wheel choices.  This should hopefully clear up some of the confusion people have,  especially when dealing with IFS lifts.  The backspace and rim width are the two critical items when selecting a wheel to go with an aftermarket lift.  The backspacing will determine the clearance to the steering knuckle.  This is very important, because too much backspacing will put the rim in contact with suspension components, and will vary by the rim sizeOften times the factory rim will go back on after a kit is installed, but only with a stock tire.  You can see how much a tire overhangs the rim (tire bulge), this gets a lot worse when you go up to a 35 x 12.50 tire.  The factory width tire on most of trucks is 275mm, which translates to 10.8 inches wide.  Adding a 12.50 tire would decrease the clearance by almost 1 inch, and this is enough to make that combination not work.  This is why we specify a certain width wheel (to eliminate some of the tire bulge) and a certain backspacing (to guarantee clearance to steering components).

Too little backspacing will put the wheel outside of the wheel well really far.  This is great for suspension component clearance, but really bad for fender clearances.  When the tire sticks out it is likely to rub on the bumper and backside of the front fender while the wheel is turned.  Sometimes some creative trimming will fix this problem, but most people do not like to trim excessively on brand new trucks.  The other problem with a wheel that sticks out really far is it increases tire scrub.  This can cause issues with traction control systems as well as increase the wear on factory components. 

If you are in love with a certain wheel, contact us with the specifications, check with us before you order them.  We can let you know if you will have possible interference issues.  Don’t be too upset when we say that you should think about a different rim.  We have test fit lots of different rims and our listings represent the best specifications for getting the biggest tire on your truck.

31 comments on “Fridays FAQ #2 Tire & Wheel Fitment”

  1. Justin H Reply

    i have 2 inches of body lift already on my 2001 F150 and i was told i could fit 38’s after installing this kit, is this true if not what is the largest tire i can fit, the widest, and what wheel size is recommended?

  2. Zone Admin Reply

    @Justin H
    Which kit are you asking about, combining our 6” suspension lift with a 2” body? The max size is really dependent on the wheels and tires you select, the width and the wheel backspacing. Some 38’s measure out to be 36.5” actual height, so a flat answer to will 38’s fit gets a little tricky… A wider tire or smaller backspacing (stuck out farther) will be more likely to rub when turning. If you plan to run the stock fenders and stock bumpers I’d say a 37×13.50 is probably a safer bet to run with your setup. We haven’t tested combining the suspension/body lifts with that tire so we can’t guarantee their won’t be some trimming necessary, but I’d look for a 9-10” wide rim with 4.5-4.75” backspacing. Wheel diameter is up to you, the larger you go the more expensive the wheels/tires get.

  3. Nick Reply

    I am thinking about installing either your 4″ or 6″ suspension lift on my 2004 F150 4×4. I am currently running stock wheels (17″) with 285/70/17 Nitto Terra Grapplers. Would I run into any issues by staying with my current wheel/tire setup? Or would I need to buy an aftermarket wheel with different backspacing?

    • Zone Admin Reply

      Hey Nick, the stock 17s will not fit back on the truck after installing the lift do to clearance issues of the tie rod mounted to the new steering knuckles. We have more information on our website about recommended wheel/tire specs and feel free to call our tech support line for further clarification (888) 998-9663

  4. BeeRad Reply

    Hey there,

    I am considering your 6″ Suspension lift for my 2011 F-150 4×4. It has the 20″ wheel option, which I believe is 20 x 9.5″.

    Would I be able to continue to run the stock wheel and tire combination on this truck, and if so, what size wheel is ideal in either 18 x 9″ or 20 x 9.5″
    (offset / backspacing).

    I like the appearance of the wide lipped wheels but I realize these have huge backspace and thus, are generally not suitable in my application.

    I’m content with something like the PRO-Comp Diesel, but don’t know if any of their stock sizes are suitable for this kit.


  5. Matt Reply

    I have a 98 f150 got the zone 6″ lift and also a leveling kit for the front. I want to do 20×12 -44 offset wheel is that possible? What size tires will I be able to fit nicely? Any ideas..

    • Zone Offroad Products Reply

      Being that it’s outside our recommended wheel/tire specs, we can’t guarantee fitment without some modifications being needed. You’ll likely want to stick to a 33-35” tall tire on there to allow fitment when turning lock-to-lock. An aftermarket front bumper or front bumper trimming will open up extra clearance as well.

  6. Jeff Reply

    My current tired are 38 13.50 18 toyos and I am thinking of going down to 35 but the width of the tires I like are 12.50 will that still fit on the rims?

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      That would depend on the width of the wheels you are currently running. Most tire companies have a recommended wheel width listing on their sites, depending on the tires its likely around an 8.5-11” wide wheel

  7. Austin Reply

    Hi, I have a 2008 silverado and am planning on doing the 4.5″ lift with 20×9 Fuel Vapor wheels with +1 offset. Ill be running 33×12.5 R20s on it. I was curious as to whether I would have any issue or if I should be ok. The offroad shop said it should all work fine.

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Austin,
      That setup work work great and is right within our recommended specs. The 20×9 (+1 offset) measure out to roughly 5″ backspacing.

  8. Scott Reply

    I have a 2014 Silverado 1500 planning on doing a 6.5 zone lift with cali off road twisted rims 0 offset 35×12.50×20. Do I need any back spacing?

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Scott, we spec our 6.5″ lift kit to fit 35×12.50×20 tires on 20×9 wheels with 5-5.75″ backspacing. Based on your message you seem to be a little confused on what backspacing is. Backspacing and offset are 2 ways to measure the wheel spec. Backspacing is a measurement from the wheel mounting surface to the backside of the wheel, measured in inches. Offset is the measurement of how far the wheel mounting surface is “offset” from the center of the wheel, measured in millimeter and relative to the width of the wheel. Without knowing how wide your 20″ Cali Offroad wheels are its difficult to say how 0 offset is.

  9. Chris Dunn Reply

    I have a 2009 Silverado Z71 Extended Cab. I’m going to order the 6.5″ lift. I want to stick with my factory 18″ wheels. I’m pretty sure they have back spacing of 5.7″ +31 offset. I currently have 285/65R18 Trail Grapplers but I’m worried they will look tiny after lift. I’m not wanting much outside fenders . Would like flush or less than a inch outside but would like a tire as tall as I can get. What size would you recommend and would the 285/65 look retarded if I kept them for time being. Also will I need spacers in the rear to even track width….? Tire sizes I was thing was 285/75 , 295/70 , 305/70 or if it would work a 315/70R18. If I need to trim a little plastic im good with that…I’m also not worried if I have a little rub on full lock turning. This is my weekend truck as I have a company truck as my daily driver. Thanks

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Chris,
      your 285/65r18 tires measure out to 32.5×11.50 when they were new. You’ll still have a fair amount of clearance in the fender opening running our 6.5″ lift. We recommend the 6.5″ kit to be used with aftermarket 18×9 wheels (w/ 5″ BSing) to increase the clearance between the steering knuckle and sidewall of the tire. If you want to run the stock wheels I’d recommend contacting our tech support department for their recommendations for tire size/clearance at (888) 998-9663 or

  10. Ken p Reply

    I have a 2500hd duramax, Im looking to do the 5in lift but want to keep my stock 18 inch wheels. Will I be able to if i put spacers and do a little trimming?

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Ken, while aftermarket 18s are recommended, the stock 18″ wheels can be used in combination with wheel spacers to achieve our recommended 4.5-5″ wheel backspacing. For more on the topic contact Zone sales/tech support at (888) 998-9663 or

  11. Andrew Reply

    I have a 2011 ford f150 4×4 with a 2.5 leveling kit. The wheels I want are 20×10 with -19 offset and 4.75 backspacing. Could I fit a 35×13.50r20 on my truck.

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      That wheel/tire combo will require some fender trimming to fit with just 2.5″ of lift. Ideally you would have 6″ of lift to fit that tire/wheel combo on the ’09-14 Ford F150 trucks.

  12. Jimmy Reply

    I have the zone 8 inch lift from stage three motor sports. I’m wanting to put a 20×12 wheel. And a 37 x 13.5 nitto mud. Will that work? My truck is a 2012 f 150.

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Jimmy, that setup is outside of our recommend specs for the F150 being that our kit is designed as a 6″ IFS lift system so we can’t guarantee fitment without any trimming being needed.37×13.50 tires on 20×12 wheels should fit comfortably on there with 8″ of lift for daily driving, however some trimming may be needed especially if used offroad.

  13. JOSH Nelson Reply

    I got your uca 3″ adventure series lift for a 07 gmc sierra 2500hd classic id like to put the 20×10 fuel vapor wheel with -18 offset with a 4.75 backspacing with 33×12.50r20 or 35s (if possible) would that work? If not would wheel spacers help?

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Josh,
      Our recommended specs for that 3″ UCA lift kit are to fit 33×12.50 tires on 9″ wide wheels with 5″ backspacing. That said a 20×10 wheel with 4.75″ BSing can be installed, however are more likely to require some trimming to clear at full turn, especially in offroad situations where the suspension may be flexed. Wheel spacers wouldn’t help with clearance, they would actually make it tire clearance worse when the wheels are turned.

  14. Heath Reply

    I have a 2014 Ram 1500 with stock 20” wheels. My plan is to install a MaxTrack 4.5 inch lift, (4.5 inch front, 1.5 inch rear) then go with 35x 12.5 20s (BFG All Terrain KO2) and stay with the STOCK wheels. If I use 1.5 inch wheel spacers, will this combination work without any trimming or rubbing? Thanks in advance

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Heath, being a suspension manufacturer ourselves its difficult to offer recommendations on another company’s kit without knowing their kit specifics, track width changes and wheel/tire recommendations. The Zone Offroad 4″ kit doesn’t increase track width and allows fitment of 35×12.50 tires when used with 20×9 wheels using a 4.5-5″ backspacing. Most of the factory 20″ RAM wheels are 20×8 w/ 5.25-5.5″ BSing so you’ll want to use around 1-1.5″ wheel spacer.

  15. Paul Sangineto Reply

    Hi peops, Im lookin to get your 5.5 lift kit for my 15 GMC Canyone SLE All Terrain 4×4, your recommended max tire size is 295/70 r17, my wheel is Moto metal 984 17×9, -12 offset, 4.53 bs, your listed wheel is 17×8 with 4.5 bs. Will my wider wheel be cool here, if I have to trim a little plastic inside the wheel well, my installer is cool with minimal trimming. MANY THANX…

  16. Paul Sangineto Reply

    I forgot to mention, if that set up doesnt work, would it help to drop down to a 295/65/17 or285/65/17 which is my linit, I’m even open to a 285/65/18×9 Raceline wheel, let me know my options . I aprecise your expertise, I just wanna get this right the first time…Later ,THX…

  17. Charles Reply

    I have a 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 with 18inch factory wheels. I want to get the 4.5inch lift but want to keep the factory wheels. Online it says cannot reuse 17 or 18″ wheels. Is that true and if so can I reuse with a spacer on front wheels and if so what size spacer

    • Carter @ Zone Offroad Reply

      Hey Charles, thanks for reaching out and for your interest in Zone Offroad. To answer your question the stock 17-17″ wheels can’t be reinstalled with our 4.5″ kit due to the large backspacing causing clearance issues with the new suspension components. If wheel spacers were installed to achieve our recommended backspacing measurements then you would be fine to reinstall the factory wheels. The size of spacer would depend on your particular wheel, but likely around a 1″ spacer for the front.

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