If you own a BMW E46 3 series and want to get a more aggressive wheel fitment, wheel spacers may be on your mod list. But what size wheel spacers do you need for an E46? Let’s take a closer look.

E46 Wheel Spacers Basics

First, let’s go over some wheel spacer basics. Wheel spacers are circular metal rings that mount between your wheel hub and wheel. They push the wheels outward, effectively increasing the track width of your car.

Why would you want to run spacers? There are a few reasons:

  • Allow fitting larger wheels and tires
  • Increase stance/wheel poke
  • Improve handling by widening track width

Spacers are measured by their thickness, which determines how much they increase the track width. Common sizes are 5mm, 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, etc.

E46 Wheel Spacers Specs

Now let’s look at stock E46 wheel specs. Here are the key measurements:

  • Bolt pattern: 5×120
  • Offset: ET45 to ET55 (depends on model/trim)
  • Center bore: 72.6mm

Adding spacers pushes the wheels outward for a more aggressive fit.

Recommended E46 Wheel Spacers Sizes

For a moderate poke, 15-20mm spacers are recommended. This gives about 0.6″-0.8″ of extra poke. 25mm (1″) spacers start to get more aggressive.

Here are some popular spacer sizes for the E46 3 series:

  • 15mm front/20mm rear
  • 18mm front/23mm rear
  • 20mm front/25mm rear

Adding spacers sounds simple, but there are some important considerations:

  • Wheel centering – you want equal poke on both sides, so measure carefully
  • Extended wheel studs – factory studs may be too short with spacers
  • Proper torque – crucial to safely install spacers, usually around 80-90 ft-lbs
  • Wheel hubcentric vs lug-centric – hubcentric recommended for stability

What size are E46 wheel spacers?

Are E46 Wheel Spacers Risky?

There are horror stories of crashes caused by using cheap spacers or installing them improperly. So are spacers inherently risky?

With quality spacers that are properly installed, they can be safe if used responsibly. The keys are:

  • Use hubcentric spacers that center on the hub
  • Get spacers specific to your bolt pattern
  • Use extended wheel studs/lugs where needed
  • Torque wheels to spec with torque wrench
  • Retorque after initial install and first drive
  • Periodically check torque every 1-2 oil changes
  • Avoid excessively aggressive sizes

Follow those guidelines and spacers can be a safe, cost-effective mod to improve your car’s stance. But skimping on any of those steps can lead to problems.

Which E46 Wheel Spacers Are Best?

If you’re ready to add spacers to your E46, I recommend the brand BONOSS. Here’s why they make the best E46 spacers:

  • Precisely CNC machined from 7075T6 aluminum alloy
  • Active cooling technique to cool the spacers and wheels
  • Anodized finish resists corrosion
  • Hubcentric design for proper centering and stability
  • Correct 5×120 bolt pattern for E46 fitment
  • Range of sizes from 10mm to 25mm
  • Come with extended wheel studs/lugs
  • Meet or exceed OEM quality standards

BONOSS E46 wheel spacers are known for their precision manufacturing and strict quality control. They’re a leading brand trusted by BMW enthusiasts around the world. I personally run BONOSS spacers on my E46 with excellent results. Adding 15-25mm wheel spacers is a popular way to achieve the perfect stance on an E46 BMW. Just be mindful of proper installation and maintenance. And opt for quality hubcentric spacers like BONOSS to do it right. Your E46 will gain an aggressive widebody look that’s safe and reliable when properly installed.