Are Wheel Spacers Safe – Get That Road Hog Look With Wheel Spacers

This is one of those things few people have any information regarding – are Wheel Spacers Safe?

So what are wheel spacers? These are variable width aluminum pad like extensions added to the hub to allow any vehicle don a set of really wide/broad tires. The reason there is so little info among ordinary drivers is this is the preserve of racers and very sporty vehicle enthusiasts.

With spacers, literally any vehicle can wear the biggest/baddest set of rims and tires and look really aggressive.

I am not sure this is what spacers look like – but you should have an idea of where this is going. This is a Lexus – dressed u with really good fenders, rims, tires and stanced (low profile). For the average driver, even the eccentric college driver cornering at speeds over 120MP/h is a rarity.

The hospital is round the corner. For racers, spacers are both about the look and performance – they have to make cornering/braking and acceleration worth the modification. So that where we started this inquest...

Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

Spacers are safe, being built of materials often stronger than the rims on most cars. The issue is the components such as the suspension and wheel well that will need very accurate adjustment for everything to work well.

Failure with spacers is according to the experts an issue of geometry. We can add our two cents, and engine capacity. The reason you lose speed or power when placing extra large spacers on a small engine would be the added weight – based on how the vehicle now sits. Lower profile would suggest lower center of gravity – great stability but requires more power to get up and running from a standstill.

The reason some companies (Discount tire) do not install spacers for liability is the above issues rather than safety. They are a high performance outfit and will only install their products to maintain this high performance image.

Other than that, spacers are safe for four wheel, two wheel and show cars.

How Do To Improve Safety - What You Will Need

1. Use Quality Products

Any reports of incidents involving spacers involve poor workmanship. Thanks to companies such as discount tires, drivers are aware of the risks. They just say we will only work with you if you know and are willing to adhere to our guidelines to the letter.

I would say the above premonition is fair if not admirable – you install a super/turbo charger for your engine; have the vehicle stanced; work on the exhaust mechanism; work on the cooling system and it will run perfectly. If the goal is improving stability and performance, you would have to at least jump over a broom before you technically require spacers.

2. Use The Least Amount Of Spacer Possible

Another tip from racing experts suggests if you have to use spacers then do so sparingly.

3. Do Regular Inspection

Assume this is a component used on racecars that are checked every hundred miles.

3. Use Hub Centric Spacers – Do Not Use Spacers If You Do Not Need To

Again, an issue of quality – hub centric spacers are designed for your rims. Hub centering rings are designed to adjust the rim to fit your hub. Please read the blog on wheel bolt pattern for more information on this issue.

When installing custom rims you may require hub-centering rings – these serve a different purpose. Just like you cannot wear a collar on a cheap rented tuxedo with the bow tie alone then take off your jacket – they are purely accessories.

4. Install Wide Spacers

If you have the engine and need the speed and stability – buy the widest spacers possible. Ask any motor engineer why the Konigsberg (sp) is that low and that wide…stability duh!

This is why they are standard issue on almost all race vehicles the geometry, performance and purpose of the vehicle all scream – spacers. That is why; if you have a full spec Mitsubishi Evo, Nissan Skyline, Mazda RX, etc, parked in your drive way by all means install the spacers…

NOTE: Spacers can be very unsafe when the bolts used are not long enough. If the spacers are made of low quality materials and you give them a run for their money – literally.

Wheel Spacers Products

Via Amazon.com

This is great all round product specifically designed for Audi/VW vehicles. The package contains a pair of spacers and 10 black seat bolts – this should work well for one pair of wheels.

I would assume on rear-wheel drive vehicles the spacing will be done on the rear – would be great to hear if spacing can be done on the rear on a front wheel drive vehicle. Price approx $80…

  • Designed for specific models but easy to customize for alternatives

  • Attractive black color

  • Certified quality

  • Affordable

  • Buyers driving other models may need to adjust – no instructions provided

Another good sample of vehicle spacers designed for Audi/VW vehicles.

Unlike the other set this retails with four spacing pads – it can cover all four tires and includes high quality lugs/bolts. The finish is silver/chrome and the set retails for approx $80…

Via Amazon.com

    Designed to work on specific models but easy to customize for alternatives

    Attractive chrome finish

  • Certified quality

  • Affordable

  • Buyers driving other models may need to adjust – no instructions provided

  • ​While 5mm thickness is within recommended range, it only improves performance – slight greater diameter, better grip. Unsuitable for wide body look.

Via Amazon.com

If you drive a Golf, Jetta or Passat then this is the ideal spacer for your vehicle. VW is one of the vehicle manufacturers producing some of the best performing rally/GT machines and these are excellent for the above models.

The package is for a pair of wheels, guessing the rear. In addition, the approx retail price is not that bad $86…

  • Designed improve performance on specific models but easy to customize for alternatives

  • Attractive black color with chrome option

  • Certified quality

  • Affordable

  • 32mm width is great for wide body look but may require more from your engine

Conclusion

Spacers are one of those very ultra sporty accessories that most sport vehicle enthusiast yearn to install. They are suitable to improve vehicle stability, when you need to have really broad wheels for improved acceleration, braking, cornering.

Their installation and performance is all about geometry though and if your car requires this installation this guide should help walking you through things you want to look into.

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