What Are The Pros And Cons of Wheel Spacers?
Does the wheel spacer affect car handling? Does this component affect the suspended geometry? All these questions, it does raise doubt that wheel spacers are good or bad or what are the pros and cons of wheel spacers. Moreover, how does it affect the handling?
Well, this is a debatable question, therefore to find the answer let’s first comprehend the wheel spacers pros and cons.
Understanding Pros And Cons of Wheel Spacers
Spacer (also known as Wheel Spacer) is a car accessory made of steel or aluminum alloy. Placed between the wheel rim and the wheel hub of the vehicle, the purpose is to increase the width of the track, increase lateral stability, and reduce the possibility of jerking when cornering. Simply put, having the wheel too close to other internal parts like the wheel is not a good thing.
It will reduce the driving performance of the car if too close together. When cornering, the tires will rub against the wheel lining or suspension components. Wheel Spacer simply adds more space so you don’t have any problems with other car parts.
Before plunging into the advantages and disadvantages of wheel spacers, one must note that they popularly serve the purpose of adding extra width to the wheel track. Some people find it as a way of improving the car’s grip and handling while others believe that it poses more risk and dangers.
To get the relevant answer, explore both the advantages and disadvantages of using wheel spacers.
1. Benefits of wheel spacers
1.1 Improve car handling
To achieve better vehicle stability especially, during the car’s cornering and turning, people tend to use wheel spacers. Responsible for creating space for the wheels, this component causes the tires to move further apart. As a result, the vehicle’s weight is distributed equally on all four wheels, enhancing the car’s handling.
1.2 Improve the incorrect offset
Sometimes, the new rims don’t fit exactly due to their improper size. Nevertheless, this issue can be resolved using wheel spacers, as it will set the wheel much forward and can even operate the inside fender liner. Besides this, the problem of the rim hitting the control arms, coilovers, or suspension can also be fixed easily, using the correct wheel spacers.
1.3 Enhance the appearance
Apart from better handling and relevant offset, if you wish to give the car an aggressive or manly look, the wheel spacers will give that appearance to your car. Indeed, they make the wheels push outside, which indirectly enhances the vehicle’s stance.
Let’s take a closer look at this video
2. The downside to wheel spacers
Moving closer towards the wheel spacers good or bad result, let’s find out its disadvantages now.
2.1 Wheel bearing premature failure
Using the wheel spacers means breaking the contact between the ball bearing and the wheels. And, because of this sizing, the wheel bearing life may shorten or in the worst scenario, can lead to premature failure.
2.2 Increase inner fender-well clearance and scrub radius
With the extension of the car’s track width due to the wheel spacers, the inner fender-well clearance, and the scrub radius also increase. As a result, the driver has to put more effort into turning the car, which causes the steering wheel to recenter itself quickly.
2.3 Cause accidents
Safety is another primary concern that arises due to the improper installation of wheel spacers. In simple words, the bad installation of wheel spacers by a non-professional can interrupt the bending of the wheel stud, due to the inadequate circling of torque.
When using spacers, can put a lot of pressure on the suspension system, when the wheels are further apart, the car’s suspension is stressed and has to overwork:
- For those who customize the suspension (fork, tweezers), this drawback is not a problem.
- For those who don’t have the fork, the wheel bearing will wear out faster (but not significantly)
Check out the video below to know 5 MYTHS about wheel spacer
Are Wheel Spacers Good or Bad?
“Are wheel spacers safe?” There are a bunch of different answers to this question. So what is the exact answer for you when you plan to buy a set of car wheel spacers? Sometimes, people make a mistake when buying a wheel so installing a space can really help to fix this problem or get the perfect fitment. So it’s a very simple answer and you might see this all over the forums. When wheel spacers are installed properly (you need to follow the torque specifications), yes the wheel spacer is safe.
However, as we analyzed above, installing wheel spacers can change the vehicle’s handling and stability, and can cause the car suspension wear and tear. In addition, if your car is not a specific vehicle or high quality, using the spacers can be dangerous. It is best to consult a professional mechanic before picking up wheel spacers on your vehicle.
Installing a spacer that is too large (about over 20mm) on the front axle will increase the “scrub radius”. It can be understood as increasing the swing arm that the wheel acts on the steering wheel. This means that the force exerted on the wheel while driving will increase and then transfer to the steering wheel. Therefore, the steering wheel will shake a lot, cornering is not smooth and more sensitive but unstable.
In addition, the large spacer can cause the force applied on the wheel bearings to increase, causing friction when steering and uneven wear. So the important thing is to always ensure that you’re installing the spacer safely and make sure your studs are the appropriate size and length and you should take into account how much offset you need to change for your wheel.
Finally, the debate – about is wheel spacers good or bad, boils down to you, and your vehicle. And in this regard, it is essential to seek advice from a trained technician and find out the wheel spacers pros and cons on your car along with the maintenance tips.