Nowadays, installing wheel spacers to get a wider stance has become immensely popular. They are simple components but do provide lots of advantages. The installation process is really easy and normally can be finished within an hour. In the process, you have to remove the entire wheels to get spacers installed. Any time you work on the wheels of a car, you must be incredibly careful and make sure everything is retightened to the correct torque specification.
Wheel spacers are often used in racing in order to get more grip and more even weight distribution. When the offset of aftermarket wheels are not ideal, the most direct and simplest route is to install wheel spacers. Quality spacers are exactly safe. But you still need a proper installation and some safety precautions to prevent any potential disasters from happening.
How to Safely Install Wheel Spacers?
Wheel spacers require correct installation to work well. If you do not feel confident in performing the installation safely on your own, then have a professional install the parts for you. Anyways, here is a guide that may help you go through every step:
Lift the car and remove the wheels;
Clean the entire hub surface, ensuring it is clean and smooth;
Place the spacer on the hub and ensure it is firmly seated and flush against the hub;
For slip-on spacers, directly remount the wheel and use extended wheel bolts to secure;
For bolt-on spacers, tighten the spacer with the provided lug nuts to the vehicle studs to the specified torque. Then remount the wheel on the spacer and fasten it with stock lug nuts;
Torque the wheel bolts or lug nuts to manufacturer specifications.
Safety Precautions of Wheel Spacers Installation
As a rule of thumb, a set of new extended wheel bolts is necessary to safely secure your slip-on wheel spacers. Because spacers reduce the thread length of the bolts, the OEM wheel bolts will be no longer suitable to secure both the spacers and wheels properly. If you install 15mm wheel spacers, simply add up 15mm to the stock bolt length, the result value is the length of the extended bolts. (stock bolt length + spacer thickness = extended wheel bolt length).
Whether you are using bolt-on spacers or slip-on spacers, you need to tighten each lug nut or wheel bolt correctly. It is always recommended to use a torque wrench at the final torquing step. Untightened lugs (the clamping force is not enough) or overtightened nuts (the stud has been stretched past its tensile strength limit, so the clamping force has gone away) will cause most wheel spacer failures. After 50 – 100 miles of driving, check and retorque hardware.