For those who are just starting out off-road, using wheel spacers is obviously a good choice. Add wheel spacers and drive your 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 over jungle trails, gravel roads, and muddy tracks to conquer nature. The choice of exaggerated thickness on the suspension chassis is obviously frowned upon by some players, but the right wheel spacers will help the vehicle to adapt better to changing conditions in the field. How can you choose the right wheel spacers for your vehicle and get the most out of it in a safe manner? We will discuss this question.
Why Use Wheel Spacers In Your Off-Road 2023 Land Rover Defender 130?
The use of wheel spacers on Off-Road vehicles is ultimately a solution to the clearance problem, and what is clearance? “The amount of space between the base of an automobile tire and the lowest point of the automobile”. The value of ground clearance is evident in sports cars and off-road vehicles, where the higher the height of the vehicle’s chassis and the value of ground clearance, the more vertical space the vehicle has to absorb road impacts from horizontal surfaces.
The most obvious example is the chassis of off-road vehicles that can avoid cuts from the ground in the wilderness while being able to accept more specific road conditions (rivers, deserts, mountains).
Another example is the sports car with a low center of gravity, which reduces ground clearance in order to obtain the downforce created by the airflow on the body when driving, increasing the speed of the car, a masterpiece of aerodynamics. The reason for the relevance of wheel spacers is that the increased ground clearance of Off-Road vehicles leads to instability and a greater possibility of rollover when gaining better road-holding, ultimately requiring a wider track to improve the vehicle’s anti-roll performance.
This leads to the next question, how to get a wider track, possibly by changing the length of the axle or correcting the offset, but changing the axle is a little more complicated for an off-road player just starting out. Changing the wheels or buying a set of wheel spacers to push the wheels outwards is the easiest solution. The ideal offset for Off-Road will lead you to buy an expensive set of alloy wheels with a smaller backspacing and negative offset, which will prevent the new rims from rubbing against the suspension or use wheel spacers to push the rims outwards against the suspension. The reason for the flush fenders is to prevent mud from being spilled on the car on muddy roads.
It is worth noting that Back Spacing and Offset are two positively correlated values, with Back Spacing referring to “The distance from the back of the mounting pad to the back lip of the wheel.” The larger the Back Spacing value, the larger the Offset value, and the smaller the Back Spacing value, the smaller the Offset value.
With wheel spacers, it is easier to solve these problems and retain your OE wheels. In addition, wheel spacers can also solve rims with different PCD, and CB data, providing more space between positive offset rims and the suspension to avoid friction. Finally, given that most Off-Road vehicles have an OEM wide-body, wheel spacers can help to improve the aesthetics of the wheel sunken into the inside of the fender.
Is Safe to Use Wheel Spacers？
The most common question on various forums is the effect of wheel spacers on the axle, and most of the comments are negative. There are concerns that the axle’s pressure capacity and life expectancy will be reduced over the long term due to the long sides of the track, and more often than not, there are criticisms of excessive wear. But it is indeed safe to use wheel spacers, and if you are already considering changing the vehicle track, then fitting four-wheel spacers will have the same impact on the suspension change as replacing four negative offset alloy rims.
The wheel spacers are placed between the axle and the rims, some of the poor-quality wheel spacers rely only on lug bolts/lug nuts and rims for fixing. This is the reason for the vibration caused by wheel spacers as reported in some forums, and in later retrofits, hub-centric wheel spacers were largely accepted in the market, as the hub centric of the wheel spacers and the axle as well as the hub centric of the rims would keep the rims in place. The centric fit will maintain the concentric position of the rims and axle. However, before fitting wheel spacers please check if the law in your area allows this, for example, wheel spacers are not allowed in Australia.
How to Select and Use Safe Wheel Spacers On the Off-Road?
To select Wheel Spacers you need to know the PCD and CB data of the vehicle, which you need to check yourself, for example, the 2022 Land Rover Defender uses PCD 5×120 and CB 72.6mm. Then there is the thickness of the wheel spacers, which you can obtain by measuring yourself, as follows.
- Take a straight edge and place it against the outermost part of the rims/tires. Have straightedge contact with the rim or tire in two spots to keep even for correct spacing.
- Measure from the outside wheel to the fender lip to see how much space you have available. Repeat this on the front and rear wheels and you’ll soon get a feel for the size of wheel spacers you require.
- For instance, if the value is 25mm, then it is recommended to use less than 25mm wheel spacers.
Find more from this passage “How to Measure for Your Wheel Spacers?”
After getting the basic data on wheel spacers, you can choose what you think is the Best Wheel Spacers. Hub centric is essential for wheel spacers, hub centric has been recognized by BONOSS, H&R, Eibach, and other mainstream brands as a safe design. The following are some criteria about what wheel spacers are good and bad, in terms of material, the raw materials of wheel spacers are generally iron, aluminum alloy, and steel, the material hardness and structural strength of iron is obviously not as good as steel, but the excessive carbon content of steel also causes excessive mass and poor ductility, so the aluminum alloy is the most ideal material, most brands of wheel spacers use aluminum alloy, but aluminum alloy is also divided into 6061-T6 and 7075-T6, just by looking at the values you can tell that 7075-T6 is the best. The key reference data are Ultimate Tensile Strength and Yield Strength.
|Ultimate Tensile Strength
||18000 psi (125 Mpa)
||42000-45000 psi (300-310 Mpa)
||74000-78000 psi (510-572 Mpa)
|Tensile Yield Strength
||8000 psi (55 Mpa)
||35000-40000 psi (241-275 Mpa)
||63000-69000 psi (434-503 Mpa)
||8800 psi (61 Mpa)
||14000 psi (96 Mpa)
||23000 psi (160 Mpa)
How Do You Ensure A Secure Fitment of Wheel Spacers On Your Rims?
Taking the example of the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130, which has rims secured with lug nuts, then we need to use the BONOSS BLM Series Wheel Spacers for installation. The steps for a vehicle secured with lug nuts are as follows.
- Park the car and make sure it is in first or P gear with the handbrake or electronic handbrake on.
- Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheel side using crossed spanners in a diagonal order, but do not remove them completely.
- It would be a better safety measure to place jack stands to support each end of the car.
- Remove all lug nuts on the front wheel side using a cross-spanner. Remove the rim from the front wheel.
- Look at the hub assembly for stains or rust, you can use a degreaser to clean the brake disc. Use a rag to remove any rust and dirt from the hub. Widen the entire surface to ensure it is smooth. This is because the surface may all cause the wheel spacer to be fitted incompletely to the axle head.
- Match the holes in the wheel spacer to the double-headed bolts on the car and fit the spacer to the double-headed bolts. You can check that the spacer is firmly seated and flush with the hub by gently rocking it. Start using the torque spanner to secure the spacer with the lug nuts provided.
- Install the front rim, and re-install the OE lug nuts. Use a cross spanner to tighten them on the wheel spacers (install them in a diagonal order). Make sure they are secure but do not tighten the lug nuts completely.
- Remove the jack stands. Lower the car slowly until the tires fully touch the ground and remove the jack.
- Use a torque spanner to tighten the lug nuts to the specified torque. Always tighten them in a diagonal order. This will ensure that the lug nuts threads are properly and tightly seated. (Do not use an impact wrench)
- Repeat the above steps.
- After installing all-wheel spacers, drive slowly back and forth, making sure the wheels turn a few revolutions. Then turn off the engine and retighten each lug nut with a torque spanner of the specified torque value. Ensure that all lug nuts are working properly.
BONOSS recommends that the use of wheel spacers is checked every 6 months and that the operation of the vehicle is checked to ensure safe driving.
Proper use of wheel spacers on your Off-Road vehicle, including the 2023 Land Rover Defender 130, will give you better traction and excellent handling from your vehicle, while the installation of wheel spacers requires approved data and the use of the recommended thickness to ensure a safe ride, although most of the failures are from non-hub centric wheel spacers and other poor quality wheel spacers, we still have to be serious about the modifications.