Are Wheel Spacers Safe?

08th Feb,2024

The whole internet seems divided when it comes to wheel spacers. Some say to go for it, while others rally against it. But the entire debate boils down to one question: are wheel spacers safe?

They may indeed be a safety hazard if not installed correctly. But if properly installed, they can be beneficial and give your car a nice look.

There are a lot of myths, questions, and opinions surrounding wheel spacers and adapters. So here are our 2 cents on the topic, where we will answer questions and debunk myths. Let’s begin!

What Is the Purpose Of Wheel Spacers?

picture Wheel Spacers black

As the name suggests, wheel spacers create space between the wheel mount and the wheel.

The purpose of wheel spacers and adapters is to increase the clearance between the vehicle’s hub and the wheel and change the wheel’s offset. But get studs with the appropriate thread engagement to go with the bolt pattern.

When there is interference between the wheel and the disc brake caliper or shock, wheel spacers are bolted to the wheel hub to create space between them. They push the tire further out to increase the traction and balance of the wheel.

Wheel spacers come in different sizes, and you can choose the size that suits your car the best. The tires are fitted to stay inside the fender. But with spacers and adapters, you can align them with the fender or push them even further.

Will Wheel Spacers Invalidate Your Warranty?

This is a prevalent myth when it comes to wheel spacers. The answer to this question is yes and no. With any modification to the car, there is a chance that the warranty or insurance will be void. But there are strict terms and conditions to it.

If you install mods or make any changes that the manufacturer does not recommend, then the insurance company will not cover any damage resulting from those changes.

Let us take wheel spacers, for example. People use them because they need them or for aesthetic purposes. But it is not recommended by the company because it can wear out the wheel bearings, put stress on the studs, and damage the axles’ ball joints.

Insurance companies don’t play fast and loose when it comes to claims and are very thorough with the inspection. So if the dealership thinks that the damage is due to the wheel spacers, you have to cover it from your pocket. And do not think that they will not notice it.

But any company can not deny claims about issues unrelated to aftermarket accessories. In addition, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, enacted in 1975, prohibits manufacturers from refuting insurance claims on original parts.

So, no, wheel spacers don’t invalidate your warranty completely. There are only certain cases where you have to pay for damages yourself.

Rules for Wheel Spacers and Adapters

If you are wondering why so many people are against wheel spacers and adapters, then you have come to the right place. It is because they have safety concerns. But those concerns will not arise if you keep these factors in mind:

  1. Never Skimp on Quality

If you invest 20-to-30 thousand dollars in a new car, don’t hesitate to spend a couple of grand more on high-quality wheel spacers. Cheap spacers can snap in two from the pressure of studs. So installing quality parts should be a no-brainer.

For example, billet aluminum spacers are solid and can endure high loads. But it could oxidize quickly if left untreated. To be sure of the quality, go to the product listing. Or go for prominent brands.

  1. Installing Spacers

You must follow the proper instructions for safety. Read the manual carefully and follow every instruction down to the last word. Ensure that each lug nut is tightened and secure. Otherwise, the tire will come off.

Use a torque wrench to secure the spacer in the wheel hub and then torque the wheel to it so everything works properly and your car is perfectly safe.

If your lug nuts are stripped and can’t take them off see this separate post. How to remove a stripped lug nut.

  1. Do Not Stack Wheel Spacers or Adapters

Never stack multiple spacers one after the other. It is a bad idea, and the chances are that it will damage the lug nuts and the wheel. Invest in quality spacers of the appropriate size instead.

Your safety is more important than saving a few bucks!

When you stack wheel spacers, the friction between the wheel hub and the wheel increases. This increases the bending torque on the studs. So, the lug nuts are likely to move more with multiple spacers and could come loose.

So don’t use multiple wheel spacers in one corner unless you want to be standing on the road, looking for a fallen tire.

Wheel Spacer VS Wheel Adapter

picture of wheel spacers vs wheel adapter

We have been talking about wheel spacers and adapters, and there has always been confusion about these terms. Many people think they are the same, and in some ways, they are. But, not entirely.

The first difference is right in the name. A wheel spacer increases the space between the wheel hub and the tire. A wheel adapter is used when the wheel hub and the tire have different sets of lug nuts, meaning you are trying to adapt the wheel to your car.

Spacers are used when you are dealing with stock wheels. But adapters are used when using aftermarket wheels whose bolt pattern differs from the car.

However, they are both used for pushing the tire out to align with the fender. In conclusion, every adapter is a spacer, but every spacer is not an adapter.

How Do I Install and Adjust Them?

Installation is the most important thing when it comes to wheel spacers. Even a wheel spacer of the highest quality can put your life in danger if installed poorly. A reckless installation is just a terrible accident waiting to happen.

We have simplified the installation process into the following steps:

Step One: Choosing the Correct Size

First off, choose the size of spacers you want. This depends on how much space you want to push the wheel out and increase the clearance to install bigger brakes or suspension parts.

Step Two: Detaching the Tire from the Car

Lift the car using a jack and secure it using jack stands. Using an impact gun, remove the stock lug nuts keeping the wheel in place. This will release the tire from the car.

Step Three: Positioning the Spacer

You will see the wheel hub of the car. It will have five mounting holes where the wheel studs will go in. Position the wheel spacer, so the holes in the spacer are lined up with those in the hub.

Wheel spacers can also come with two sets of holes. Make sure you align those that are the same size as your car.

Step Four: Secure the Spacer with Extended Wheel Studs

The stock bolts you took out can not accommodate the size of the spacers. Use the extended bolts with the wheel spacer, which have an increased thread count.

Step Five: Attach the Wheel Back

Take the wheel and position it on top of the spacer. You will hand-tighten the bolts and then use a torque wrench to torque each lug nut into place. We hand-tighten it first, so the wheel does not move when lowering the car.

A torque wrench is used to secure the lug nuts to their factory torque specs. For example, if the factory torque spec is 100 ft-lbs, then set the wrench to the appropriate measure and start securing the tire to the car.

Pro Tip- If you choose to torque the bolts with the car still in the air, then have someone press the brakes so that the clamping force prevents the tire from spinning.

That is how you install wheel spacers [1]. Anyone doing this job is probably not a newbie when it comes to working on cars but if you are you should first start by learning how to properly change a tire.

picture of Install and Adjust wheel spacers

Do They Affect Alignment?

Wheel alignment refers to the suspension of the car and the positioning of the tires with respect to the car’s body. A sudden impact can cause a misalignment because it will loosen the suspension components.

While people have many concerns about wheel spacers, disturbing the wheel alignment is not one of them. They only put additional space between the wheel and the control arm to prevent rubbing. It also makes space for larger brakes and suspension.

But none of those things have anything to do with alignment. If you notice any alignment issues it might be because your tires haven’t been rotated.

Pros of Using Wheel Spacers

In certain situations, you have no choice but to use spacers. They have many benefits, such as:

  1. Improved Traction

A wheel spacer widens the wheelbase of the car. It covers more area and hence, has a better grip. It will be more stable on the road, especially around turns.

This is why spacers are widely used in trucks and race cars. They are also used on cars that have tires filled with nitrogen.

  1. Appropriate Wheel Alignment

If you can’t find an aftermarket tire according to the wheel specs of your car, then wheel spacers will solve your problem. They are also beneficial when replacing stock brakes and suspension components and avoiding fitment issues.

  1. Increases Aesthetic Value

To a car enthusiast, the looks of their vehicle are paramount. They will spend thousands on modifications to make their cars more aesthetically pleasing, which wheel spacers also do. Many Honda Accord owners have used wheel spacers to modify their cars. Check out some of these Honda Accord tires.

Drawbacks of Using Wheel Spacers

If not installed correctly, wheel spacers can have the following drawbacks:

  1. Accelerated Component Wear

With spacers, there is increased pressure on the wheel-end components. So it is natural to see faster wear in those parts, such as axles, wheel bearings, and hubs.

  1. Fender Interference

Wheel spacers are used to adjust the wheel’s offset by pushing it out. This can decrease the clearance between the fender and the tire. The tire can rub on the fender line when turning.

When measuring for a spacer, do not be too aggressive and keep it tucked in the fender line to avoid interference.

Different Types of Wheel Spacers

Wheel spacers are available in many sizes and styles. These are the most common ones.

  1. Bolt-On Spacers
picture of bolt on spacers

Bolt-on spacers come with their own set of bolts and lug nuts to be adequately secured to the wheel hub and then to the tire. There is no need to install extended studs.

With these spacers, you won’t have to worry about the size of the studs, and it is much less expensive to install.

  1. Slip-On Spacers
picture of slip on spacers

Slip-on spacers will stay put between the brake rotor and the wheel without bolting anything to the hub. They can only be used with extended wheel studs, though.

You have to replace the factory studs with the extended ones for proper thread engagement, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

  1. Hub-Centric Spacers
picture of hub centric

The spacers, which have the same opening as the mounting flange of the wheel hub, are called hub-centric. They concentrate the car’s weight on the hub of the vehicle. This ensures minimum vibrations and tight fitment of the wheel.

  1. Lug-Centric Spacers
Lug Centric spacer

These spacers are centered around the lug nuts and do not fit the mounting flange in the wheel hub. They dangle from the studs and are not fixed to the center.


So, in conclusion, wheel spacers are safe to use if installed correctly. They have many benefits and are necessary to install aftermarket components of different specs.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the answers to the most common questions about wheel spacers and adapters.

Are Wheel Adapters Safe for Daily Driving?

Yes, they are absolutely safe to use in daily driving. Many people use it because it improves grip and traction. And with the tires more pushed out, it gives the car a better look.

Are 2-Inch Spacers Safe?

Yes, 2-inch spacers are safe. If you are confident in your skills, you can install them yourself, provided you follow proper guidelines. But, if you have no prior experience, we recommend you seek the help of professionals, so there are no safety hazards.

Do Wheel Spacers Affect Drive?

With a wider track, it becomes difficult to turn the steering. The steering will become heavier. This depends on the size and width of the spacer.

William Johnson

William Johnson is the owner and founder of He writes about car accessories, with his passion stemming from a deep enthusiasm for all things automotive. His website, RRD, focuses on in-depth reviews of car accessories to help people find the best and latest products in the market.