Are Wheel Spacers Worth It?

March 30, 2022

Are Wheel Spacers Worth It?

A few years ago, we posted a video with Young Alex™ about whether or not wheel spacers are safe - after all, they're one of the most popular aftermarket upgrades you can add to your car, so being informed about your ultimate safety and peace of mind behind the wheel is essential. Spoiler alert: they are, as long as you install them the correct way and use them for their intended purposes.

That video did over a million views, and it leads to what we want to talk about today - we all know that wheel spacers are safe when done right, but how much do they cost, what are they designed to do, and are they worth it for your build? Keep reading below to find out!

 

Table Of Contents:

-What Are Wheel Spacers Designed To Do On A Car?

-What Is The Difference Between Slip-On and Bolt-On Wheel Spacers?

-Why Would You Need Wheel Spacers For A Car Build?

-Dialing In Your Fitment With Wheel Spacers

-Using Wheel Spacers To Help With Performance

-How Much Do Wheel Spacers Cost?

-Are Wheel Spacers A Good Value For The Money?

 

What Are Wheel Spacers Designed To Do On A Car?

Before we can decide whether or not wheel spacers are worth it, we first need to know what they're designed for. In its most basic form, a wheel spacer is a plate of metal that will sandwich between your wheel hub and your brake rotor, and it'll push your wheel out from the center of your car - it literally spaces the wheel out, hence the name "spacer."


Check out the video we did on whether or not wheel spacers are safe!

What Is The Difference Between Slip-On and Bolt-On Wheel Spacers?

There are two main varieties of spacers - slip-on spacers and bolt-on spacers. The naming creativity isn't very high here but bear with us.

A slip-on spacer just slips over your wheel studs, and a bolt-on spacer bolts onto your wheel studs. Ideally, the spacer will be what's known as "hub-centric" so it centers over your hub correctly - otherwise, you might have some wobbly, even buoy action going on, and nobody really wants that. If you've got a European car with lug bolts, though, it's a similar concept, but a little more difficult - do a stud conversion here, as it'll make your life a thousand times easier. Promise.

Speaking of studs, your stud length with slip-on spacers is very important - you need to keep maximum thread engagement on your wheel studs if you're using slip-on spacers. Bolt-on spacers also need to be torqued to the right specs and checked in on once in a while.

Modded 2016 Subaru BRZ with 50mm wheel spacers installed

Why Would You Need Wheel Spacers For A Car Build?

There are two main reasons why you'd need a set of wheel spacers - the first, obviously, is looking dope and dialing in your wheel fitment. The other is for performance reasons and clearing steering and chassis components, along with increasing your scrub radius.

Dialing In Your Fitment With Wheel Spacers

Let's start with dialing in the fitment, as it's probably the most popular use of spacers around these parts. You could buy wheels with a perfect spec to fit your car how you want it to fit, of course, but the problem is that sometimes wheels aren't offered in the fitment you need for your car in the particular wheel design of your choice.

Anyone who has wide-bodied their car has gone through this - unless you go with a custom multi-piece, your choices are limited when it comes to wheels. Some people would even prefer to stick with a monoblock wheel instead of going with a multi-piece.

Not even wide-body cars have this issue - if you have aftermarket fenders or an aggressive roll-pull situation with your fenders, you'll have some different fitment specs to work with. Also, you might have bought some wheels that fit your car perfectly and then you sold that car - now, your new car needs a little extra help to get the fitment perfect.

Using Wheel Spacers To Help With Performance

Let's take a little look at another application for wheel spacers through some performance-oriented lenses right here. If you're looking to go sideways and drift like the cool kids (and who isn't, really), you might need a little extra space in those wheel wells to clear things like outer tie rods, tension arms, or sway bar end links. This is where a spacer can really help you - you can also increase your scrub radius with spacers, which helps you gain control and grip in performance situations like drifting.

Quality spacers installed correctly for either looking fly or better performance will be safe; torque those nuts once in a while, make sure there isn't any play, and you'll be okay.

2013 Scion FR-S with 50mm wheel spacers installed

How Much Do Wheel Spacers Cost?

Prices will vary on wheel spacers depending on the type of spacer and how chunky it is. The chunkier the spacer, the more money it'll cost because it uses more material in its construction. In general, though, you're just looking at a few hundred bucks for a set of quality spacers.


Shop our inventory of wheel spacers and adapters here!

Are Wheel Spacers A Good Value For The Money?

To us, yes - spacers are totally worth it, especially with the benefits you gain for the cost we just went over. If you're buying quality spacers and installing them correctly, there really isn't much of a downside at all. You can get your fitment absolutely dialed or clear anything you otherwise would need a set of custom multi-piece wheels for.

Go ahead and snag yourself a set of spacers if any of these reasons apply to you - we've got them available in our inventory right now! Or, go over to our gallery and see your exact car with the wheels you want and see what kind of spacers people are running on those vehicles.

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