Truly, vehicle-specific wheel spacers are considered to be safer and more reliable than those universal types. They are machined to your vehicle specification, which ensures perfect fitment. A vehicle-specific spacer is often hub-centric. Hub-centric wheel spacers are machined to fit the specific vehicle hub. For example, the 5×130 Porsche 911 spacers are made to fit exactly to the Porsche 911 that runs the 5×130 bolt pattern. The center bore is designed to be 71.6mm which is the diameter of the hub flange where the wheel seats to the hub.
Universal wheel spacers are usually lug-centric. The big hub diameters make them fit many different lug patterns. This reduces the cost but also lowers the safety. Because they are not specific to the car, when installed, there will be a certain gap between the bolts or the wheels. This gap can cause vibrations in the ride.
Is It Important to Choose the Right Wheel Spacers?
Yes, we always recommend using specific wheel spacers for your car. There are a vast number of wheel spacers available in different thicknesses, diameters, and bolt patterns. This helps consumers to locate the proper set of spacers that fits their specific application. To ensure a proper spacer fitment, you should care about these two contact faces: one is the interface between the spacer and the wheel hub of the car, and the other is the interface between the spacer and the wheel.
Generally, there is a protrusion from the center area of the wheel hub, which is used to center the wheel. The diameter of this protrusion is called “wheel center bore”. A hub-centric wheel spacer comes with a hub-centric lip as a transition point. The inside face of the lip matches the hub protrusion perfectly and the outside face of the lip fits the mounting face of the wheel snugly. So that the spacer will fit over the hub protrusion as well as the wheel. Make sure the center bore of your wheel spacers fits the vehicle hub flange.
Must I Use Specific Wheels?
Many people would use wheel spacers with stock wheels. There are few to consider because everything is set up correctly. However, with wheel adapters, it is not always necessary for a specific vehicle to use specific corresponding wheels. For example, if you want to install BMW E46 wheels on a BMW G20, 5×120 to 5×112 wheel adapters will be the solution. The hub side of the adapter is machined to a 5×112 bolt pattern to fit your G20 and the other side is built into a 5×120 lug pattern to fit the E46 wheels. Then, the wheel adapter becomes an extension of your vehicle hub, letting you vastly expand the number of available wheel choices.
Since wheel adapters are also wheel spacers, they will reduce the offset. Normal E46 wheels have +47mm offsets and the factory wheel offset of a G20 is +25mm. If you get these E46 wheels installed on a G20 without wheel spacers, you would find that the wheels stick into the wheel arches. This doesn’t look good and you are running the risk of rubbing the suspension parts. In this case, a set of 22mm wheel spacers correct the offset. Of course, you can run thicker spacers to achieve a sporty and muscular stance.