Pros & cons of high performance car wheel spacers

Written by john willis
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Pros & cons of high performance car wheel spacers
Wheel Spacers Go Between The Wheel and Hub (wheel image by sasha from Fotolia.com)

Wheel spacers widen your car's wheelbase. These discs slide over the wheel studs, extending the hubs. Some wheel spacers are primarily used to change the bolt pattern on your hubs so you can use a different wheel; those are also called "wheel adaptors." While wheel spacers are primarily used to improve the performance of your car, some question remains about the safety issues involved in their use.

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The Objective of Wheel Spacers

Wheel spacers are intended to improve performance, and some people use them to improve the cornering of their sports car. The idea is that the wider the wheelbase (The width from the right wheel to the left wheel), the better the car will corner. It will decrease the body roll. Less body roll helps you go faster in corners and improves tire adhesion. Other people use wheel spacers to improve the performance of their off-road (4x4) vehicles. Off-road applications of wheel spacers are similar, but they improve stability, not speed. When a car or truck is raised for off-road use, it is like a pyramid: the tires are the base of the pyramid; the body is the tip. The wider the base, the more stable it becomes. This stability is desirable when navigating extremely rough areas like steep, rocky hills.

Pros of High Performance Wheel Spacers

The pros are simple: wheel spacers achieve the objectives described above. The widen a car, making it more stable. In road applications, wheel spacers make the car faster in corners. In off-road applications, wheel spacers slightly expand the scope of where a vehicle can go and may even keep it from rolling over.

Cons of High Performance Wheel Spacers

Many engineers and users believe spacers are unsafe, maintaining that the equipment is more apt to failure than the original parts. In particular, wheel spacers increase the chance of shearing off one or more studs, which may cause the wheel to be unstable, vibrate and possibly even come off. They also create the possibility that your wheels and tires may come into contact with your fenders or wheel wells, possibly damaging the car or puncturing the tires.

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