Wheel spacers’ major benefit is making it simple to enhance your vehicle’s look and make room for more modifications like fitting larger brakes. And the biggest real concern of using wheel spacers is associated with a fast deterioration of suspension.

Let's talk more about a rather controversial aftermarket car part — wheel spacers. They have both pros that make them so amazing and cons that make them less appealing for some mechanics and even service shops.

TOP-5 pros of wheels spacers

  1. Custom look with wider tires

Wheel spacers will push the wheels outwards and will give the vehicle a more fierce look. Protruding wheels instantly make the vehicle look bigger and stronger.

  1. Improved handling

By increasing the distance between wheels with spacers, you can achieve better grip for tires. Plus, they can improve cornering. However, the steering will become stiffer.

  1. Make room for advanced modifications

More clearance inside the wheel well will make it possible to get larger tires and wheels or install an advanced brake kit.

  1. Easy to install

There is not much engineering involved in the process. If you have the necessary tools and equipment, all it takes is a little work.

  1. Affordability

Wheel upgrades are considered an affordable modification. There are a lot of options on the market, and you can save money by doing it yourself.

Even though spacers bring customization versatility to the table, they have some potential and real downsides.

TOP-5 cons of wheels spacers

  1. Prompt suspension wear

Changed suspension geometry can have handling benefits, but only at the expanse of suspension wear.

  1. Put extra pressure on wheel fasteners

It takes longer bolts or studs to hold a wheel and a spacer in place. Additional weight and length make fasteners more vulnerable to damage.

  1. Installation mistakes are expensive

If the spacers are not installed correctly, you risk losing your wheel or damaging the hub.

  1. Some shops refuse to install spacers

There are some concerns surrounding spacers. And mechanics feel reluctant to risk their reputation.

  1. Can impact your insurance rate

Spacers alter performance. And such modifications fall into a category of things that lead to higher insurance rates.

But before we can go into any details, we should look into the purpose and the main function of wheel spacers. This will help us understand why they get such mixed reactions among car enthusiasts.

What are Wheel Spacers, and How Do They Affect Vehicle Performance?

Normally, wheel spacers are not something any car or truck owner is familiar with. This is because they only exist out there on the aftermarket for customization. They serve as a means to alter the offset if a new set of wheels causes clearance issues inside the wheel well. Spacers help compensate for too much backspacing (distance from the wheel mounting to the back lip) and protect both the tires and the elements housed close to the wheel.

For instance, if the new wheels create too much positive offset, they begin to threaten the wheel well, brakes, or other vital car parts by getting too close to them. That is when wheel spacers are used to push the wheels away from the car's body and give the tires enough space to move safely. A chance to fit custom-sized wheels is the biggest benefit of using wheel spacers.

However, when they are secured on the hub with studs, wheels spacers extend it outwards to accommodate new wheels. This puts a lot of pressure on them since they take the same function as a hub — secure the wheel in place. The major downside, or rather a risk, associated with using wheel spacers is a doubt in their durability shared by many mechanics in the industry.

When to use wheel spacers?

So, the reason why people install wheel spacers in the first place is to be able to fit wheels that are normally incompatible with their car. Sometimes this happens due to the wrong choice of aftermarket wheels, but mostly it is all for the desired upgrade. Wheel modifications are arguably the easiest way to transform the look of the car. By opting for a different wheel size or offset, you can instantly create a different look.

But issues with fitting larger or broader wheels happen more often than you might think. If the vehicle does not allow a certain option that you really want to put on your vehicle, spacers will make it possible. If the installation process goes as it should, you will achieve the stylish look you want for the vehicle without compromising safety and performance.

What are the other benefits of wheel spacers?

Adding a few extra inches inside the wheel well can also give more space for other mods as well. When you need to fit larger performance parts to match your lifestyle with the vehicle's capabilities, spacers can come in handy. Stronger aftermarket parts are usually bulkier than their original equipment counterparts. This can create an issue with them rubbing on the tires, which is unacceptable. The most obvious example is a braking system with larger calipers for increased performance that can require more clearance than your vehicle can offer.

Do wheel spacers improve safety or increase risk?

Like virtually any car modification, adding wheel spacers to your vehicle is safe if done correctly. It is supposed to change not only the looks but also the performance, so it makes total sense that spacers usually raise your insurance rate. But is it really that risky?

The major concern with spacers is associated with their function to keep the wheel intact. And their presence can potentially harm some parts like suspension, hub and wheel studs. If the damage becomes critical, it can lead to run-off wheels and costly repairs. Some shops and individual mechanics refuse to install them to avoid reputational damage if this happens.

How to avoid issues with wheel spacers?

Avoiding such dramatic turns of events is not that difficult. The most important part of preparing for installation is doing extensive research. We cannot stress enough the importance of studying the basics. Try to look into the best-rated brands, materials and, most importantly, sizes of wheel spacers and their positive and negative effects on your car.

Moderation is good in any project, so if your dream wheels are way too large and require big spacers, maybe you should reconsider your expectations.

Remember, that every extra inch puts your wheels further apart, throwing the suspension geometry off-balance. In less fancy words, it puts certain parts of the suspension system through more strain, rendering them useless much faster than usual.

Lug bolts and wheel studs are another weak point of cars with wheel spacers. As you can imagine, the distance from the wheel to the hub increases when a spacer is added between them.

This means you would need longer sturdier studs to keep them firmly in place. And as the distance grows further and studs get longer, they have to resist larger pressure. This leads to faster deterioration and damage of your wheel fasteners.

Another factor worth researching is how much torque you need to apply to lug nuts to secure both the spacer and wheel in place. too much or too little torque can damage or even destroy the wheel fasteners. Due to wrong sizing and ovetroqueing they can get pulled too hard to maintain their normal shape. And when this happens, the wheel becomes compromised.

Are wheel spacers worth it?

There is nothing wrong with installing wheel spacers. They can be real game changers for car enthusiasts who do not settle for average and want more freedom with their vehicles. They are safe to use. You can totally drive daily with spacers on your wheels and enjoy your life. Just make sure to do your research and do it properly. And routine check-ups will save you from any side effects of this modification.

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