Are Wheel Spacers Safe? Yes! But When And How?

The performance of wheel spacers seems to be notorious. In fact, rumors about the dangers of using it are no longer strange to you.

However, how many people in real life that you know are actually having a problem with them? So the question transfers from what makes it so dangerous to what makes people think it is dangerous?

In this article, we will get all myths of wheel spacers debunked. And most importantly, we are going to find out the precise answer to the big question “Are wheel spacers safe?”

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Three Wheel Spacers Myths Debunked

Three-wheel-spacers-myths-debunked

Wheel Spacers Bend The Wheel Studs


No. With the help of friction going through the clamped joint, the loads from the wheels are transmitted to the axle and hub.

They do not go through the wheel studs. As a result, the wheel spacers have nothing to do with bending the wheel studs.

The only circumstance when the wheel stud bends is if you did not have the lug nuts torqued correctly. And this carelessness will make the wheel to fall off.


Wheel Spacers Ruin The Physics Of The Wheel


Not true. Installing a wheel spacer between the wheel and the hub does not have any change to the wheel physics.

Specifically, insertion of wheel spacers does not affect the coefficient of friction, flexing, load, clamping force, pressure on the wheel studs, or any other wheel physics.

See more at How do wheels work?


Wheel Spacer Is A Risky Investment


This statement is not true in many ways. Wheel spacers are often believed as unsafe and blameful for accidents.

But the fact is that wheel spacers are perfectly safe when the installation is correct. Other reasons to defend against this statement are:

  • Unit bearings can be replaced with great ease as they are lightweight and compact in structure.
  • Solid rod is equally strong as tubular structures.
  • Wheel spacers are not harmful to bearings, but more offset will be required.
  • Beadlock wheels and DOT approval are not related. But as compared to standard rims, beadlock ones need more frequent maintenance.
  • A normal axle cannot be used to make it high-pinion. It will raise the ground clearance and decrease the driveline angle.

Just reading to this you know the answer to the question “Are wheel spacers safe?. But let’s just keep reading to figure out the when and how.

Are Wheel Spacers Safe To Use?

Now you know it’s an overall Yes. But it worth articulate more on the question. Let’s first talk about the wheel physics.

If the wheel spacers, hub and wheel are robust enough to prevent clamp force loss and flexing, proper installment of wheel spacers is totally fine. Just make sure you have a regular check on the lug nut.

Regarding the clamping force, when the lug nuts are perfectly located, the wheel studs will stretch. Thus, the elasticity of the studs will offer a great force to hold the hub to the wheel.

And the more force is put on the joint, the more force the wheel will need to slip to the hub. So if the wheels don’t slip, there should not be any worry about the bending.

So when the car is moving, the wheel spacers do not affect any element of the wheel physics.

The stress placing to the studs change only when there is some external force causing the clamping force not stiff enough, or there is a lack of strength in joint, hub, and wheel.

  • Wheel spacers explained

Secondly, the high-quality spacers are strong enough to hold the set up. In fact, they are usually stronger than the hub and wheels.

Of course, there is a risk, just like any automotive part. The wheel spacers do have change on the geometry of the suspension components.

This change could affect the performance. But again, with proper insertion, it should not be a worry.

Thirdly, using wheel spacers is a cost-effective way to widen the vehicle’s track for cosmetic and handling purposes. A proven way to make it safe is to change your wheel bolts or stud for longer ones.

Once you replace these stuff with extended ones, the possibility of studs snapping will be minimized. Also, the proper attachment of studs and bolts won’t put you in any danger.

However, Should You Use Wheel Spacers?

  • If they are high-quality and hub centric, it’s a Yes.
  • Also, with long enough studs and bolts, it’s definitely a Yes.
  • But is using wheel spacers an ideal way to widen the track width? You know it’s a No.

Ideally, you should have wheels that don’t require spacers. But for many reasons, this is not always feasible. And using wheel spacers is still a good way.

What Should Be Considered Why Using Wheel Spacers?

  • Let’s first have a walkthrough on installing the wheel spacers in this video.

While using wheel spacers, make sure you get this checklist all ticked.

Use The Least Possible Amount Of Space

Make sure you have the slimmest wheel spacer possible. And if the 3mm spacers can do the job, don’t go for any thicker ones. 

The reason behind this is that pushing the wheel out will change the geometry of suspension, steering, and pressure on the hubs and the wheels. Thus, you definitely don’t want to overboard here.

Check The Spacers, Lugs And Studs Regularly

Don’t wait until you have any problem with the spacers to have a check on them. 

Even though the use of wheel spacers is safe, it needs frequent checks just like any other automotive parts of your car.

And if you inspect them after offroading or track days, you can see the problem before it occurs.

Use Broad And Hub Centric Spacers

These spacers are both lightweight and safe for the setup. And as the more components, you have on the wheel; the higher risk will be. 

Thus, while buying the wheel spacers, make sure you have those with sufficient diameter and hub centric property to the hub size.

The Bottom Line

Using wheel spacer is a good way to increase the track width while still keeping the existing wheels. When opting for the wheel spacers, it is crucial to go with high-quality and hub centric ones.

Also, with proper installment, wheel spacers are perfectly safe. This writing should be the last thing you read to find out the answer to the question “Are wheel spacers safe”.

Christina Powell
 

Hi everyone, My name is Christina Powell, chief editor at Wheel On Road. I have a passion for car when I was young. I Started this blog with my team and we share to people everything about automotive, car like how to drive car carefully, maintain a car and many other topics. Hope you will also share and track us. If you have any problem, you can contact us at: Christina.WheelOnRoad@gmail.com

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