As a vehicle owner, there are many things you need to know about your automotive. You shouldn’t spend the whole time driving something you absolutely know a little or nothing about.
Equipping yourself with the right knowledge pays so that when issues arise, you know what to do, or what to check. In that case, you should get familiar with wheel spacers.
Your car won’t look all great without some important features holding it together – the wheel spacer is one of them. However, you should try to know: “are wheel spacers safe or not?” Does this feature contribute to the entire safety of your car or it’s just there to improve aesthetic value? Find out below.
How Do Wheel Spacers Work?
Over the past few years, wheel spacers became a thing for most vehicles, and not everyone really knows why but they play a huge role in ensuring seamless driving.
Wheel spacers are attached components to the wheel studs to make sure that the tires are far apart from the wheels. That means, it is the extra space needed to keep the wheels and tires from colliding with each other or other components, such as brakes, well liners, or suspension system.
On how a wheel spacer works, it is set between two positions – the hub and the wheel flange. By setting this component, the wheels are pushed outward, ensuring there is enough space to prevent a collision.
For the wheel flange, there are two areas you might consider depending on your wheel size – the front axle or rear axle. You only need to find what is appropriate for your vehicle.
More so, a staggered wheel needs spacers – improper wheel offset does not.
How Wheel Spacers Help Improve Handling?
Installing wheel spacers does have its benefits – for instance, they ensure proper wheel fitment and improve the appearance of a car. However, one significant benefit they are known to provide is improving the performance of a vehicle by increasing the handling.
With wheel spacers installed between the hub and the wheel, the track widens, increasing the grip of your car’s tires. And with an increased grip or traction comes enhanced performance around corners, such that your car’s handling becomes balanced and you can enjoy fast cornering.
However, the position of the wheel spacer may influence handling. Spacers at the back ensure more handling than those at the front.
Difference Between Hub-Centric Spacers and Lug Centric Spacers
Wheel spacers are effective as previously mentioned, and it is no surprise that they are available in different types based on their designs. Ideally, the two types available are: Hub centric wheel spacers and Lug centric wheel spacers.
However, each of these wheel spacers comes in independent designs either as a bolt-on or slip-on wheel spacers.
Bolt on vs. Slip on Wheel Spacers
Bolt on spacers is the best fitment spacers because they are tight and do not necessarily need longer or shorter wheel studs – 20mm or higher adjustment. These are spacers that mesh-up and bolt directly to the hub, while the wheels bolt up to the spacers.
Slip-on spacers are the most direct choices because they can easily slide over existing studs while keeping them on. The only task using these spacers is attaching your wheel and replacing the lug nuts. It is safer.
That being said, check out the two type wheel spacers below.
Hub-centric slip-on spacers have a unique design where the spacers slide over existing lug nuts but there are grooves to connect them to the vehicle’s hub flange.
The role of these grooves is to successfully transfer torque to the hub, making sure the wheel studs are free. However, longer studs are required to connect to the lug nuts from proper thread engagement.
Hub-centric bolt-on spacers slide over the wheel studs and have a design where they bolt to the hub. This spacer type also comes with a lip that encloses the wheel hub so that it provides enough pressure on this area being the strongest. They are safer options.
Lug-centric slip-on spacers are spacers that attach directly to the lug nuts, thereby dispersing the vehicle’s weight. This spacer type doesn’t have notches, which therefore puts a lot of stress on the studs. They are inherently dangerous.
Lug-centric bolt-on spacers, on the other hand, bolt to a vehicle’s wheel studs and also provide lug nuts for such a vehicle to mount to. Unfortunately, they do not come with a lip that puts torque on the wheel hub.
Does a wheel spacer cause problems?
For increased aesthetic value and better handling, wheel spacers are the right choices but there are some demerits which is why they cause problems.
For instance, they can cause an accelerated pattern of wear on the suspension system and wheel hub components. The reason is that they can put torque on different parts, causing stress and ultimately, total failure. These parts include wheel bearings, axles, lug nuts, hubs, and so on.
Also, consistent use of wheel spacers may cause the steering to become heavier – thus, difficult to turn. However, this only happens to wheel spacers of some sizes.
Are wheel studs (or spacers) safe for daily driving?
Keeping your car perfectly safe is a huge responsibility – meaning, you have to consider many things to ensure the ultimate safety.
Wheel spacers are definitely one of the things you need, especially if you are a daily driver. They are safe and more reliable.
Besides, wheel spacers are used for aesthetic purposes because they are visually appealing for daily driving.
Wheel Spacers Safe on Trucks?
Ideally, wheel spacers were designed for smaller cars; however, they have extended uses – for instance, on trucks.
Considering the vehicle’s weight, you might need to choose a spacer that can handle the truck without improper offset or damage. In that case, a hub-centric spacer is a go-to option because it provides additional space and handles the extra weight.
Safe for Racing Too?
Many car enthusiasts often find themselves choosing car accessories or pieces of equipment that will make driving fun and easy. However, the same goes for people who love to race on a track.
Since wheel spacers are perfect for daily driving, are they also good for racing?
The answer is Yes. Hub-centric wheel spacers are great for racing because when torqued properly, turning on a racecourse or track won’t be difficult. As a matter of fact, there are no risks involved compared to lug-centric wheel spacers.
Do Wheel Spacers Affect Alignment?
Installing wheel spacers comes with a lot of considerations. The reason you have to do this is so that the wheels do not have any cause to be damaged or faulty.
Wheel spacers may affect alignment if they are not the right options – likewise, wheels with improper offset. Such fitment issues may affect suspension warranty, and ultimately, vehicle performance.
Top Rules For Wheel Spacers And Adapters:
When installing spacers, you need wheel adapters and other tools such as torque wrench, new studs, nuts, and so on.
A wheel adapter changes a bolt pattern to fit a vehicle’s wheels to the hub of another vehicle. In short, it is perfect to adapt or fit aftermarket tires from one stud to another.
However, there are rules guiding the use of wheel spacers and wheel adapters on a vehicle:
First, wheel adapters come in different forms depending on the wheels of a vehicle, and that means changing bolt patterns. They include 4-lug adapters, 5-lug adapters, 6-lug adapters, custom adapters, lug-centric adapters.
As you recall, wheel spacers come as hub-centric, lug-centric, as well as slip-on and bolt-on options.
Therefore, your choice of wheel adapters must be the same as your wheel spacers to ensure proper fitment.
Secondly, wheel spacers and adapters need to be installed correctly to ensure safety.
Wheel spacers have legal status in the United States. They are not regulated under the current legislation of the Department of Transport.
Will Wheel Spacers Void Your Warranty?
Wheel spacers manufacturers cannot void the warranty unless the manufacturer can prove that you made certain modifications that made the lug nuts or wheel bearings go out.
That being said, you should get high-quality wheel spacers (with included instructions) from a reputable wheel shop to be safe.
Are wheel spacers safe?
From this article, it is quite easy to say that using a spacer does a lot more good to a car than harm. It creates appropriate tension and using an adapter, can help change a bolt pattern to install custom wheels.
The automotive community has strongly approved the use of billet aluminum wheel spacers because of their impressive value to vehicles.
These components, even though they come in different types of styles, make driving seamless and easy.
Hence, it is important that motorists choose high-quality wheel spacers and have them installed appropriately in less than no time.