Before I answer how wheel spacers work, first I want to tell you. What are wheel spacers? Wheel spacers are aftermarket parts used to change the bolt pattern of a wheel and widen the wheel offset.
Wheel spacers adapters are used when the wheel offset is not ideal for the final handling you want. You may have heard a lot of talk about using wheel spacers being dangerous, but how many people are actually experiencing problems due to wheel spacers? Read on and you'll see if you need to install wheel spacers.
What do wheel spacers do?
Wheel spacers are mounted on the wheel assembly and allow the wheel to move farther out by increasing the distance between the hub assembly and the wheel itself.
The wheel spacers have bolts that match the holes in the tire hub and come with studs that hold the spacer to the wheel assembly. The studs that go through the wheel spacer are what hold the wheel to the vehicle. Because the wheel spacer is mounted on the hub assembly, you do not need to move the hub assembly. The end result of installing wheel spacers is a greater distance between the two wheels.
What wheel spacers pros and cons
While there are many benefits to be gained by installing wheel spacers, there are some things you need to consider before you actually install them.
Wheel spacers pros
1. Increase the handling of your vehicle
For those who value the driving experience, wheel spacers have the benefit of improving handling. Because the spacing between the left and right wheels becomes greater with the installation of wheel spacers, the car is more stable, improving handling, grip and the cornering experience.
2. Allows for Wider/Larger Wheels or Tires
Wheel spacers allow owners to fit wider tires for better traction and handling, and there's nothing more exciting for those who spend a lot of time on the road. And off-road vehicles prefer to replace their tires with larger than stock ones. To prevent these wider/larger tires from rubbing against the wheel wells or fenders, wheel spacers are a must.
3. Allows for Larger Brake Calipers
Some vehicle owners will replace the stock brakes to get better brake performance by choosing higher performance brakes, but typically the high performance brakes are usually wider than the stock ones. This is when installing wheel spacers can provide space for larger calipers.
A good quality set of 4 wheel spacers costs just a few dollars. Orion Motor Tech's wheel spacers are all made from aircraft grade aluminum, which is inexpensive price and high quality. Considering the huge impact on performance, this is a great deal.
5. Simple to Install
Wheel spacers adapters are as easy to install as replacing a new tire. With only the most basic tools you can easily complete the installation.
6. Gives Vehicle a Unique Stance/Look
Changing the exterior style of a car can be a pro or a con to different people. But in my opinion, the unique look of the wheels being flush with the fenders is attractive.
(wheel spacers before and after)
Wheel spacers cons
1. Increased Steering Effort
Wheel spacers improve handling, but also increase steering effort. Because of the increased spacing between the wheels, more steering wheel input is required to turn the tires. This is due to the increased tire friction radius, but most cars today have modern power steering systems and this disadvantage can be largely ignored.
2. Decreased Ride Quality
Every car comes from the factory with the driving experience already in top shape. But with the installation of wheel spacers, this balance is disturbed. The distance between the wheels and suspension components increases, resulting in a poorer ride quality. This effect is positively correlated with the size of the spacer.
3. More Wear on Suspension Components
As the distance between the wheels and suspension components increases, so does the pressure on the suspension, and components like wheel bearings will wear out faster.
Are wheel spacers safe?
It is safe to use wheel spacers if you install quality wheel adapter spacers correctly. However, in some areas, it is illegal to have wheels that are not covered by fenders or wheel wells. This is mainly to prevent rocks or debris, etc. from hitting pedestrians or other vehicles. Please check your local laws before installing them.
Sometimes wheel spacers can cause the tires to rub against the wheel wells, depending largely on the shape of your wheel wells. If there is rubbing behind the tire after installing wheel spacers, then this is a problem that cannot be ignored.
Are wheel spacers bad? In summary, wheel spacers can accelerate the wear of suspension components, but they are by no means essentially unsafe. The benefits of installing quality wheel spacers outweigh the disadvantages.