How to Install Wheel Spacers

How to Install Wheel Spacers

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | C.J. Tragakis

Wheel spacers are an easy install that have a big effect on your ride. For an overview of what they do, check out our guide on wheel spacers. You can learn about their purpose, as well as their pros and cons.

If you’re ready to put on your wheel spacers, the instructions below will walk you through each step. Whether you have a hot hatch, muscle car, or off-roader, the basic process is identical.

Before Installing Wheel Spacers

First, you want to make sure the wheel spacers you’ve chosen are the right pattern for your wheels. If they aren’t, they won’t fit and you’ll have to get a new set. You should never modify wheel spacers in any way.

Choose a spacer size that makes sense for your build. Large spacers allow for big off-road tires. For a smaller performance car, you might prefer a small spacer to bring the wheels flush with the fender flares.

A Pair of Hub-Centric Wheel Spacers

With modern vehicles, hub-centric spacers are highly recommended. If you don’t have hub-centric wheels, adaptors are available.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Wheel Spacers

Installing wheel spacers is straightforward, and nearly as easy as rotating your tires. You just need a few hand tools and a way to lift your car.

Required Tools:

  • Jack
  • Jack Stands
  • Lug Wrench
  • Torque Wrench
  • Degreaser (Optional)
  • Car Lift (Optional)
  • Impact Wrench (Optional)

Step 1: Loosen All Bolts

Make sure each of the bolts is loosened before you lift the car. You need to use the resistance of the tire against the ground to get enough torque to turn the lugs. Otherwise, the wheel would just spin if you try when it’s lifted.

Loosen the wheel bolts

Step 2: Lift Car

If you don’t have access to a lift, a jack and a good set of jack stands will work just fine.

Lift the car with a jack

Step 3: Take Wheel/Tire Off

Set it to the side for now.

Carefully take off the wheel and tire

Step 4: Spray Degreaser on Lug Studs

This isn’t a requirement, but it’s a good idea. You want to make sure the wheel spacer is sitting against a clean, smooth surface. If there’s rust or corrosion, grab a wire brush and clean it off.

Clean the lug studs if needed

Step 5: Put Wheel Spacer in Place

Hand-tighten, but do not torque down the bolts yet. Just get them all in place and tighten them a bit.

Put the wheel spacer into place

Step 6: Torque Bolts to Spec

Once all bolts are in place, use a torque wrench to tighten them to the manufacturer-recommended specification.

Torque the bolts to the recommended tightness

Step 7: Reinstall Wheel on Assembly/Lug Studs

Secure and hand-tighten each lug nut before torquing them down all the way. Tighten them in a star pattern to ensure that the load is not applied unevenly.

Reinstall the wheel assembly

Step 8: Repeat Steps 3-7 for Remaining Wheels

Follow the same process above for the rest of the wheels. If you aren’t using jack stands or a lift, lift and lower each wheel individually with the jack.

Repeat the process for the next wheel spacer

Step 9: Carefully Lower Car

You’ve completed the installation! Take the car for a drive to do a quick check for vibration or wobbling.

Lower the car off the jack stands

Wheel Spacer Follow-Up

Wheel spacers are a safe mod for your vehicle as long as you use quality parts and install them properly. Still, you should monitor your vehicle for any irregularities that occur while you’re driving. These can include vibrations, odd noises, or wheel wobble.

Give the spacers another check after 100 miles of driving to make sure they’re still in place and the bolts are tight.

Sources: Wheel Spacers Pros and Cons, It Still Runs | Wheel Spacers Installation Guides, Maximum Motorsports

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.