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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Step 3: Take Wheel/Tire Off
Set it to the side for now.
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.
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.
Step 6: Torque Bolts to Spec
Once all bolts are in place, use a torque wrench to tighten them to the manufacturer-recommended specification.
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.
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.
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.
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
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