Wheel spacers have easily become one of the most common add-ons to four-wheel drive. While modern wheel spacers have become commonplace, the stigma surrounding their safety remains questionable. In this article, we’ll not only break down why wheel spacers are so popular, but also look at some of the pros and cons of upgrading. So, let’s dive in.
How Does It Work
Most wheel spacers are designed to bolt between your wheel and hub for stock mounting. Some spacers not only allow spacing but can be used to swap one wheel bolt pattern for another.
Why Use A Spacer?
Since most four-wheel-drive vehicles are built with wheels that are numerically high-spaced from the factory, adding a larger-than-stock tire can cause friction problems on the suspension, frame, and even body components. Adding a wheel spacer moves the tire outward from the vehicle, which can help tremendously with clearance and abrasion issues. Since spacers are significantly less expensive than new wheels, they have become a popular upgrade.
Another reason wheel spacers are used in the truck world is to match the stance of the vehicle. This is often due to the front of the vehicle having a wider track than the rear. This is one of the reasons wheel spacers are often sold in sets of two rather than four.
Installer Safety Tips
With any spacer, there is a fear that it will come loose. To avoid this, make sure you not only follow the recommended torque specs but use a thread lock on the stock pins that the spacer is bolted to. The high-strength thread locker is a favourite among many installers. Don’t forget to paint your spacer nuts for added safety. This will help you quickly determine that they are still tight when you perform routine maintenance such as changing tires.
How Many Spaces?
When using spacers, we prefer to stay under 2 inches. However, you must be aware that some original studs may protrude beyond the mounting surface of the spacer. This means you will need to trim any overlap before fitting the wheels. If possible, also look for spacers centred on the hub for the best and tightest fit. Although it should go without saying, never fold wheel chocks.