Are Wheels Spacers Bad: Examining the Pros and Cons

The debate of whether wheel spacers are bad or not is common among vehicle enthusiasts. You’ve come to the right place if you’re wondering whether to install wheel spacers on your vehicle or not.

Are Wheels Spacers Bad ~ Ran When Parked

In this article, we’ll examine everything you should know about wheel spacers, including their pros and cons. Are wheel spacers bad? Continue reading to find out more!

Is It Safe to Use Wheel Spacers?

There are many factors that determine whether wheel spacers are safe to use on vehicles, and this is a reason why it’s still being debated in the automotive world. The big question of whether they are good or bad and safe depends on why you need them.


You gain a lot from installing wheel spacers on your vehicle. Some of these benefits include better handling, increased tire life, and improved appearance. It’s important to note that there are still some disadvantages associated with spacers.

A few of these disadvantages include reduced fuel efficiency and increased stress on the suspension parts of your vehicle.

Wheel spacers remain one of the most common vehicle modifications, and this is because they are generally easy to achieve. It usually comes as a combination with an aggressive exhaust and lower suspension which further enhances the performance and appearance of a vehicle.

Understanding Working To Determine Effects

Wheel spacers are devices that are attached between the axle hub and wheel of a vehicle. They are designed to create extra space between the body and wheels of the vehicle. This helps in improving the visual appeal of the vehicle and improves traction of the vehicle.

Understanding Working To Determine Effects ~ Ran When Parked

They are available on the market and they come with different bolt patterns and sizes. Therefore when choosing one for your vehicle, you need to ensure that you choose the right bolt pattern and size. Generally, they are made from steel or aluminum and it’s important to note that the steel spacers are heavier than the aluminum spacers.

Another thing worth noting is that they are held together by lug nuts. Again these nuts come in different types and sizes implying that you need to choose the correct lug nuts for your wheel spacers.

On some wheel spacers you will find studs that extend from the back of the spacers. The studs are also used in holding the spacers just like the lug nuts.

Hub-centric wheel spacers are also common, and they feature a lip that is placed above the vehicle hub. The lip is designed to centralize the wheel space so that it doesn’t move around the hub. Today spacers are readily available on the market, and you can buy them online or in any auto parts store.

What Are the Types of Spacers?

The types of spacers is a factor that can help you understand whether they are bad or not. There are different types of spacers available on the market today, and it’s important to know their key features. Below is a quick overview of the different types available.

Lug Centric (Non-Hubcentric)/Hubcentric

Whether or not the spacer is hub-centric is an important factor when it comes to choosing the right spacer for your vehicle. Hubcentric spacers share a lot of similarities with wheels, and they feature a bore that is similar to that of the vehicle hub. This helps to centralize everything and also ensures that the studs are not needed for supporting load.

Lug Centric_Hubcentric Wheel Spacers ~ Ran When Parked

Lug-centric spacers are also called non-hub-centric spacers, and they don’t have a similar hub to that of the vehicle’s wheels. This type of spacer is known to cause different problems like wobbles, bolt loosening, and vibrations. They are only ideal for thin spacers.

Bolt-On Spacers/Adapters

This type of spacer has a hole designed for factory bolts or studs. They also have a second set of holes for their studs which is then bolted to the wheels. With these spacers, you can run wider sizes on your vehicle. Another thing to note is that you can use different PCD on your wheels with these spacers.

Slip On Spacers

This is the most common type of spacer, and they are popular because they are the cheapest available. Their installation is done by slipping them behind the vehicles wheels either by bolting through the spacer and wheel or behind the wheel on the stud.

However it’s important to note that you might need to get longer studs or bolt but this also depends on the size of the spacer.

What Are the Pros of Wheel Spacers?

There are many pros of wheel spacers all of which make up reasons why you should install wheel adapters on your vehicle. Even though adapters are not a compulsory component for vehicles they serve different functions. This includes enhancing appearance, expanding compatibility and serving as correctional devices.

With that said here’s a comprehensive overview of the pros of wheel spacers:

Enhance Aesthetic Appeal

The most obvious reason why people install spacers on their vehicles is to enhance the aesthetic appeal by giving your car a more aggressive and unique appearance. Ultimately, whether or not you install them on your vehicle depends on your personal preference.

Wheel Spacers Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal ~ Ran When Parked

In addition, these adapters are not always installed just to give cars a different look. There are people who install them because they are a simple and cheap modification that makes vehicles appear unique, and this is achievable without doing too much.

Enhance Handling Features

Another reason why you should install spacers in your vehicle is that they make the vehicle track to be wider, which further increases the stability of the vehicle. This is a vital feature for SUVs and trucks, particularly those with a  higher center of gravity.

A vital thing to note is that if a wheels are placed farther away from the center of the vehicle, it will have a lesser potential to roll over.

Basically, rollover issues are not a common phenomenon with cars, unlike with SUVs and trucks. However, the concept remains the same in both cases and by improving the vehicle’s track through the addition of spacers, you can easily augment the performance of the vehicle.

Correct Component Clearance Issues

Suspension, wheel and brake upgrades are usually very expensive. However, the use of wheel spacers or adapters is an inexpensive alternative that you might want to consider for your vehicle. However a key thing to always remember is that every aftermarket part has the potential to pose risks to a vehicle.

Correct Component Clearance Issues ~ Ran When Parked

Therefore to avoid any form of mishap you need to ensure that wheel offset measurements are correctly done. This is a measurement of the distance between the centerline and the mounting point of the wheel. People often take these measurements incorrectly but with adapters you can easily correct the issue at an affordable rate.

Facilitates Component Enhancement

Installing spacers on your vehicle is vital for upgraded component fitment like suspension or brakes. Clearance issues on stock wheels usually arise when larger or different brakes are fitted to a vehicle. It makes no sense to upgrade the brakes of your vehicle just to realize that your wheels don’t spin with ease.

This can cause damage to the wheels as well as newly upgraded wheels. Another thing to note is that issues may arise from suspension upgrades. Adapters are usually used on lifted pickup trucks and this is because most suspension enhancements can cause wheel or tire rubbing.

In addition, fitting wider wheels or tires on vehicles to produce more contact patches can help to improve handling. However, this can also cause the tire or wheel to rub the assembly components of the wheel.

Basically, adapters help to make the installation of the components seamless and you won’t have to worry about them rubbing the assembly components of the wheels.

What Are the Cons of Wheel Spacers?

Despite the pros above, there are also cons of wheel spacers to note. It’s important to know these cons to determine whether you should avoid these spacers or not. These disadvantages are also a reason why many experts consider these spacers to be bad for vehicles.

Here are some of the cons of wheel spacers that you should know:

Increased Scrub Radius

Scrub radius describes the distance between the upper ball joint and the central tire contact patch of your vehicle. It has an effect on the turning ease of the vehicle’s front tires.

Increased Scrub Radius ~ Ran When Parked

With spacers, you can increase the scrub radius of your vehicle because it widens the tire track and this reduces the maneuverability of the vehicle.

Premature Component Failure

Even though spacers are great addition for vehicles and offer may benefits as mentioned earlier, you need to recognize the fact that manufacturers provide vehicles with a stock setup for a reason.

Making changes to the configuration from the manufacturer can reduce the component life of the vehicle. This is because you are invariably deviating from the actual purpose of the component.

Using spacers can also affect your wheel bearings because this will cause changes to their load-bearing features. Depending on the distance you add to the assembly, it may also affect suspension components.

Safety Concerns

This is the main downside of using spacers or adapters on vehicles. If you ask any professional with many years of experience in the field, they will let you know that most people always ask to clarify whether spacers are safe.

What you should understand is that most vehicle components can have safety issues especially if it is not correctly installed or fitted. However with incorrectly installed adapters, the safety concerns are higher. The reason for this is that the wheel assembly is a key factor that determines the weight of the vehicle.

Also there’s the possibility for the vehicles wheels to come off while driving in a case where the length of the stud is not correctly adjusted after the spaces are installed. This is a common occurrence with floating spacers that are installed between the hub and the wheel of the vehicle.

Therefore the need to ensure that the length of the stud used in holding the wheel is correct is of utmost importance. Incorrectly torqued spacers can also cause failure in the wheel assembly, leading to the complete removal of the vehicle’s wheels. This is a damage that can cause severe injury, or accident and even cause you to spend a lot of money.

The good thing is that today, most high-quality spacers manufacturers ensure that it is made from high-grade and strong aluminum. This helps to further guarantee durability and minimize the risk of safety issues after installation.


The answer to the question of whether wheel spacers are bad is rather subjective. We have highlighted everything you should know about these spacers, and it ultimately depends on your preference and whether they are correctly installed. Here’s a quick overview of everything above:

  • Correct installation of high-quality spacers offers many benefits, and you only need to know what you hope to accomplish with the spacers.
  • Incorrect installation of low-quality spacers or not knowing the advantages and disadvantages of spacers is terrible.
  • The benefits of spacers include improved handling, braking performance, and vehicle appearance.

Before you install spacers on your vehicles, always consult a professional. They are trained and can answer every question you have about installation and fitment concerns and any other issues. Ultimately, you are the only one who can determine whether wheel spacers are bad or not.

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