Wheel adapters are a multi-purpose tool, used for decorative, wheel spacing, and wheel mounting purposes. Wheel adapters were introduced by Volkswagen for wheel rim embellishment, later people started to make them for a variety of functions. Although wheel adapters are used in a variety of ways nowadays but still the question-are wheel adapters safe to use is valid.
It is because many wheel adapter failures have been seen in history, but with the technological advancement and variety of styles available out, if wheel adapters are used with precautions they can be proven helpful in the case.
Also Check:- Are Wheel Spacers Safe
Are Wheel Adapters Safe
Although many wheel adapters fail have been observed in past years but if the bolt pattern, weight, and sizes are not subjected to drastic change then wheel adapters can be safe to use.
But there are other considerate factors too, for distant traveling, the aluminum of the imported wheel adapters started coming off causing the studs to lose and in turn, the wheel alignment is disturbed.
Moreover, the dead gel lockers that we use to secure studs become a dry gummy texture substance and hinders the rotatory function of the wheel adapter. But if you buy the expensive USA-made wheel spacers, they can be custom-made and are relatively durable.
But as a general fact, we can say that wheel adapters are not plugged and play to go, you must check them periodically to assure the safety and that they are fixed tightly.
Wheel Adapter Availability
Wheel adapters are similar to thick wheel spacers. They are subjected to change the bolt pattern of your wheel and are available in low-quality aluminum that is around 1.25′ inches in thickness.
Wheel adapters are imported because the US-made wheel adapters are quite expensive, so nearly everyone prefers to get inexpensive imported wheel adapters with a number printed at their back.
Why We Use Wheel Adapters
For a wheel that does not fit on your vehicle, we use wheel adapters to get its exact fit. These adapters are composed of aluminum and are available in a wide variety of sizes and types to fit in a variety of automobiles.
Initially, the adapters were introduced by Volkswagen Beetle. This automotive was designed to have a large number of bolts over it so that the normal decorative rim doesn’t fit over.
To overcome the obstacle, people start using adapters. Typically, Volkswagen Beetle owners use these adapters to give an extravagant look to your vehicle by using Chevrolet and Ford rims. But today wheel adapters are used for a variety of functions.
Wheel Adapters working mechanism
Wheel adapters are adapted to place one automotive wheel upon other. They come in exact match hub and bolt patterns or the protruding bolt pattern adapters. Whatever the pattern you opt on, you need to mount the pattern to the vehicle via nuts (countersunk lug nuts), then you bolt the wheel upon adapter using it as its original hub.
But be cautious when doing the process because nearly all-wheel adapters will change the wheel geometry. This changes the wheel alignment too, take care of the front wheel alignment because it is critical using steering while driving.
If you are using a wheel adapter on a front-wheel-drive car, then check the rear alignment essentially. Moreover, loading vehicles like trucks, pickups, etc. should not use wheel adapters because the space between the wheel and its bearing generates leverage which in turn may cause loading failures.
Wheel Adapter Styles
As wheel adapters are used for drastic changes in the wheels they come in two pattern styles. One is the basic heavy disk style with a flat metallic appearance typically made of aluminum and steel. These wheel adapters have built-in studs and holes, the studs are drilled in so you just need to install the structure in its place.
The second style is not recommended by professionals because it is a disk-like appearance with holes on it, we need to mount the studs but the overall size of this adapter is object-able, it doesn’t give a tight fit.
Well, some adapters are designed not to mount a wheel on them but only provide spacing between the hub and tires. They work just like wheel spacers to give a wider look to the wheel and give more space to wheels as compared to the normal one.
Which Pattern to Choose
As discussed earlier, wheel adapters were designed to decorate Volkswagen beetles with Chevrolet and Ford wheels, they are not meant for heavy trails. Especially as imported wheel adapters are widely available and affordable, their failure rate is high in long distant use or upon vehicles performing heavy duties.
So, before buying any make sure not to take uni-lug pattern as its holes do not give a tight fit and proper alignment. Most uni-lug patterns have slits or holes, in both cases, professionals use gels to give a secure tight fit.
But still, it’s a great risk because the misalignment cause in wheels by them can lead to serious accidents. It is advised to go for predrilled stud pattern of the wheel adapter, they are far safer than the first one.
To say precisely, are wheel adapters safe to use or not, yes! They can be if you use and professionally bolt them. Wheel adapters are primarily used for decorative purposes but they can change the complete geometry and bolt structure of your wheel.
These drastic changes disturb the wheel alignments, and in case you need to thoroughly check the rear alignment of your front wheels, especially if your car is front-wheeler.
And for the choice of style or pattern, professionals advise to Always go with the built-in stud pattern of the wheel adapters, because these wheel adapters are easy to plugin and give more steadfast fitting of the wheel as compared to the Uni-lug design pattern.
Additionally, you should check the wheel adapter periodically for safety and tight fit. Lastly, it is not recommended to use wheel adapters on heavy-duty vehicles, if you do so, you might be caught yourself in a big disaster on the highway.