Wheel Bearing Spacer Buyer's Guide
- A wheel bearing spacer is a custom metal sleeve that creates a space between a wheel’s inner and outer bearings.
- It provides clearance for the brake caliper or rotor by moving the wheel away from the hub.
- Wheel bearing spacers are typically used in motorsport performance vehicles, as they can increase a vehicle’s free rolling speed when cornering.
- A wheel bearing spacer can increase bearing life by reducing the bearing’s preload and the temperature caused by friction.
- It allows you to tighten the spindle nut without over tightening the bearings, which may lead to premature wear.
- The price of a wheel bearing spacer typically starts at $100. Its base price depends on its intended vehicle’s year, make, and model. It is usually sold individually.
There are several ways to customize your vehicle, such as adding striking fenders or grilles and getting chrome-plated wheels. Upgrades, however, are not limited to improving your car’s appearance. They can also enhance your ride’s overall performance.
For instance, replacing a vehicle’s factory air intake with a cold air intake or using a nitrous oxide kit for more torque can increase an engine’s horsepower. Meanwhile, integrating custom bearing spacers between wheel bearings can significantly improve free roll speed.
If you’re looking to upgrade your vehicle’s wheels, read on to find out what a wheel bearing spacer can do for your car.
What Is a Wheel Bearing Spacer?
A wheel bearing spacer is a custom metal sleeve that creates a space between a wheel’s inner and outer bearings. It provides clearance for the brake caliper or rotor by moving the wheel away from the hub.
Wheel bearing spacers are typically used in motorsport performance vehicles, as they can increase a vehicle’s free rolling speed when cornering.
What Does a Wheel Bearing Spacer Do?
A wheel bearing spacer can increase bearing life by reducing the bearing’s preload and the temperature caused by friction. It also allows you to tighten the spindle nut without over tightening the bearings, which may lead to premature wear.
What Is a Wheel Bearing?
A wheel bearing is a part of the wheel assembly that supports vehicle weight and connects the wheel and axle, allowing the former to rotate smoothly with minimum friction.
Types of Wheel Bearings
There are three types of wheel bearings: ball, roller, and tapered roller.
Ball bearings are typically used in the front wheels of rear-wheel drive vehicles. They operate at a higher speed and produce less friction than roller bearings.
These bearings reduce friction by using rollers between the inner and outer race. They have longer contact areas and support heavier loads than ball bearings.
Tapered Roller Bearings
A tapered roller bearing is the most common type of wheel bearing. Unlike ball bearings, it can withstand radial and axial loads in one direction due to the equal distribution of weight across the entire roller.
What Happens When a Wheel Bearing Fails?
If a wheel bearing fails while you’re driving, you might notice the vehicle pulling over to one side as you step on the brakes. You may also have trouble shifting to neutral gear.
Note that driving with a damaged wheel bearing may cause the wheel to fall off completely and result in an accident. If one of your car’s wheel bearings fail, it’s best to have it replaced immediately.
What Causes a Wheel Bearing to Fail?
There are several reasons that may cause a wheel bearing to fail:
Using tools such as a hammer or an impact wrench when installing a wheel bearing may cause it to wear down at a faster rate.
Driving through potholes and speed bumps or hitting a curbstone may damage your vehicle’s wheel bearings due to the impact.
If you frequently drive on surfaces filled with mud or water, contaminants may enter the bearings and pollute the grease, leading to a damaged bearing.
Installing parts that are not recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, such as wide rims, stiff shock absorbers, and suspension rings, may cause bearings to wear faster.
If you’re planning to install custom parts, it’s a good idea to check the specifications set by the vehicle manufacturer to prevent components from wearing prematurely.
Symptoms of a Bad Wheel Bearing
Here are some signs to look out for that may indicate a damaged wheel bearing:
If one of your vehicle’s wheel bearings is damaged, you may hear unusual sounds, such as humming, rumbling, or growling when you accelerate.
As wheel bearings wear down, they become detached inside the wheel hub and spindle, creating a loose feeling as you steer the vehicle.
Malfunctioning Anti-Lock Braking System
Each bearing has a wheel speed sensor that is connected to the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). If one bearing fails, the sensor attached to it will not be able to send signals to the ABS.
What Does a Wheel Spacer Do?
A wheel spacer is a device that creates a wider clearance between the wheel and hub assembly. It improves a vehicle’s handling by providing better traction when cornering. The wheel spacer also gives the car a unique appearance by pushing the wheel and tire away from its body.
Can Wheel Spacers Damage Bearings?
While wheel spacers serve functional and aesthetic purposes, installing them may cause the wheel’s bearings, axle, and hub to wear faster due to the additional wheel offset. In some cases, a faulty installation of a wheel spacer may cause the wheel to fly off while driving.
How Much Does a Wheel Bearing Spacer Cost?
The price of a wheel bearing spacer typically starts at $100. Its base price, however, depends on its intended vehicle’s year, make, and model. It is usually sold individually.
Finding the Right Fit
Need help finding a compatible wheel bearing spacer for your vehicle? CarParts.com offers a wide selection of aftermarket wheel bearing spacers guaranteed to fit your car. Simply enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model in our website’s vehicle selector to start your search.