The usage of wheel spacers has raised a lot of debate, with many wondering if they are a good or a bad idea. How safe are wheel spacers? Will wheel spacers affect car handling? Do they affect the suspension geometry?
While some car owners feel that wheel spacers are useful and safe, others state that they are dangerous and should not be installed in a car. So, which one is true? Understanding wheel spacers’ pros and cons will help correctly answer the questions and decide whether to have wheel spacers or not. Read on to learn more about wheel spacers and whether they are good or bad.
What are Wheel Spacers and What is Their Purpose
Also known as wheel adapters, wheel spacers are special components that help create extra wheel track width. They are fitted between the wheel hub assembly and the wheel itself to increase space. Every wheel gets displaced outward by a distance equal to the spacer’s thickness. Wheel spacers come in various diameters, thicknesses, and bolt patterns, making it possible for almost every consumer to get a set of spacers that suits their needs.
What do wheel spacers do?
As aforementioned, the primary purpose of wheel spacers is to increase space between the hub assembly and the wheel. It usually is not appropriate for the wheel to be very close to other inner parts like the wheel well. It will lower the driving performance, especially when the tyre rubs against the suspension components when making turns.
Wheel spacers are primarily used in vehicles with wider tyres during custom installation, where the tyres you are installing are larger than the tyres that came with the car. As a result, wheel spacers improve vehicle handling and provide better traction on the road.
Pros of Using Wheel Spacers
Wheel spacers are used for various reasons. The most prevalent ones include:
- Improved car Handling
One of the greatest reasons wheel spacers are used in racing is enhanced grip and traction. Spacers increase the vehicle’s wheelbase for improved handling, especially when making turns or cornering. This is possible because wheels are further away from the inner components, which creates a wider track.
Wheel spacers are also touted for improving vehicle stability, mostly trucks and SUVs with a high centre of gravity. Spacers cause the tyres to be further apart, causing an equal distribution of the vehicle’s weight on all the wheels.
- Increased Aesthetic Appeal
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to give your ride a unique flush and an aggressive look, go for wheel spacers. Spacers slightly push the tyres outwards to make them align with the fenders. In many applications, a wider stance is visually appealing and a simple way of making your vehicle look unique.
- Adjust the Offset
If you have a set of rims you like but don’t fit well, wheel spacers will resolve the issue. If the offset is too high, the wheels may run the inside fender liner, especially when making a u-turn.
Other problems that may arise may be rim hitting the suspension, control arms or Coilovers. However, fitting the correct wheel spacers can help avoid these problems.
- Necessary for Component Fitment
When you upgrade components such as suspension or brakes, they may not fit well with your stock wheels. There is no point in upgrading your vehicle’s brakes or suspensions only to find out the wheels are not freely spinning. Wheel spacers will keep your upgraded components intact while improving the vehicle’s handling techniques.
Cons of Wheel Spacers
While wheel spacers have undeniable benefits, choosing incorrect rim spacers can damage your car or even cause accidents. Rim spacers and larger tyres may bring out that aggressive look, but make sure they adhere to Australian laws.
Some of the drawbacks of incorrectly installing wheel spacers or choosing the wrong size of spacer include:
- Change in Steering and Suspension Characteristics
While wheel spacers increase the track width, your vehicle’s scrub radius and inner fender-well clearance also increase. As a result, the steering becomes heavier and requires more effort when turning at low speeds.
- Increased Component Wear
Your vehicle’s wheel-end components are engineered and tested to ensure optimal service from the factory. But the improper installation of rim spacers may throw things out of proportion. For example, when wheels are farther from their suspension may decrease ride quality.
Widening your vehicle’s wheelbase may cause operational pressure on components such as axles, hubs, and bearing, which accelerates wear.
So, are Wheel Spacers Safe?
The question as to whether wheel spacers are good or bad boils down to personal preference. However, if you or an expert correctly fit spacers and you drive your vehicle appropriately, you will enjoy more benefits.
On the other hand, if wheel spacers are improperly installed or you don’t have a reason for using them, they might cause more harm than good.
Nevertheless, before buying a set of spacers, make sure they are legal in your state. The Tyre and Rim Association of Australia outlines minor modifications you can make to tyres and rims.
Need expert advice on the right wheel spacers for your car? Contact us via LiveChat or email us at [email protected] and we promise to respond to you as soon as possible and provide you 100% fitment guarantee with the best fit for your vehicle.
Did you know?
We stock an extensive range of wheels that fit with wheel spacers on a wide range of vehicles, ranging from AMG, Porsche, BMW, Holden Audi, Range Rover and more at the best prices in the region. You can choose from the selected styles to suit any vehicle make and model. Shop online today!