Wheel Spacers: Choosing the Best for Your Car
Whoever said that cars don't need
space sure hasn't heard about wheel spacers. Wheel spacers or spacers are designed to create space between the hub of a car and its wheel. Usually made of aluminum, spacers come in widths ranging from 3 mm to approximately more than 2 inches. So if you're interested in buying wheel spacers, there are some things that you should consider first. This guide will give you some pointers on how you can choose the perfect wheel spacers for you and your car.
Aesthetic or function?
Car owners equip wheel spacers for two reasons: aesthetic and function.
- Aesthetically, wheel spacers can move the mount point of a car's wheels out toward the fender lip, so the wheels appear wider. Some car enthusiasts and owners prefer this look because it brings out the "aggressiveness" of their vehicles.
- In terms of function, wheel spacers can be used to correct a car's wheel offset. They can also be used to make a car's handling more stable. Moreover, installing wheel spacers is just like equipping your car with wider wheels but without the added expense and weight.
Most cheap wheel spacers are flat discs with multiple lug patters. They will fit behind your car's wheels by just using stock studs or lug bolts. On the other hand, expensive wheel spacers are crafted from aluminum. These spacers, depending on how thick they are, come with their own bolts.
Spacers can also be wheel-centric or hub-centric. Wheel-centric spacers are made to fit the center of the wheel, so they eliminate vibration. Hub-centric spacers, meanwhile, have rears that directly fit the center of model-specific hubs.
Just like other car parts, wheel spacers are manufactured by different companies nowadays. If you'll check an online car parts catalog, you'll be bombarded with different brands and offers. However, always buy from a reputable brand known not only for its affordability but also for its high-quality products. Also, some manufacturers make wheel spacers specific for certain cars. So before buying a wheel spacer, take note of your car's make and model.
Be Your Own Mechanic: Installing Wheel Spacers
If you're a fan of car customizations, then you probably heard about wheel spacers. These are attached between your car's wheel and the hub where the wheel mounts on. Some people install wheel spacers to give their cars an aggressive look. However, many people don't know that wheel spacers are not just used for aesthetic purposes. They can be used to correct wheel offset, increase grip when cornering, and provide additional space between the wheel and the suspension. If you want to equip your car with wheel spacers, this DIY guide will teach you how. If you're an expert mechanic, it should take you 45 minutes to finish the task. But if you're a beginner, it should take you about an hour and 20 minutes to get the job done.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools you'll need:
- Floor jack
- Lug wrench
- Torque wrench
- Jack stands
Reminder: Wheel spacers come in different sizes, so make sure that you bought wheel spacers that suit your car's make and model.
Step 1: Park on a level surface. Then, loosen the lug nuts attaching the wheels to their hubs.
Step 2: Jack your car up with the floor jack. Then, slide a jack stand underneath to support your car's weight. Repeat this until all four corners are secured by a jack stand.
Step 3: Remove all the lug nuts, and carefully set the wheels aside.
Step 4: Check the lug studs if they are dirty. If they are, spray some degreaser on them and clean them with the rag. Don't forget to clean the hub surface as well.
Step 5: If the wheel spacers that you bought are not the bolt-on type, just slide the first wheel spacer on the first stud. Align the holes in the spacer with the wheel studs. Then, slide the spacer over the studs until it's firmly in place.
Step 6: If you have a bolt-on wheel spacer, place the spacer on the studs. Then, attach the lug nuts on the studs, so the spacer is bolted to the hub. Tighten the nuts with a torque wrench for about 90-foot pounds.
Step 7: Once the spacer is secured, put the wheel back in place. Put the lug nuts back, and tighten them using your lug wrench. Repeat these steps to install spacers to the remaining wheels of your vehicle.
Step 8: Put the floor jack under your vehicle. Then, lift the vehicle, so you can remove the jack stands. Don't remove all the jack stands at once, so you won't damage your car.
Step 9: Test your car by driving it for a few miles. It's normal for a car with a wheel spacer to feel heavy, so don't worry about suddenly experiencing heavier steering.