How To Choose Wheel Spacers For Your Truck

How To Choose Wheel Spacers For Your Truck

Choosing any part for your truck without major experience and know-how relating to the subject is an extremely bad idea—especially when it comes to wheels and wheel parts. Things can go wrong very easily due to the extreme motion these parts constantly endure. In the case that you have no idea how to choose wheel spacers for your truck, let us give you all the facts you need to know. Then, you can make an informed decision. In this article, we will be covering:

  • What wheel spacers do
  • Benefits wheel spacers provide
  • The typical wheel spacer thickness
  • The process to determine the exact size wheel spacer you need
  • The difference between hub-centric spacers and lug-centric spacers

What Do Wheel Spacers Do

Before we get into choosing your wheel spacers, we will first tell you about their function and how they change the vehicle. Wheel spacers are designed to move a wheel away from the body of the car. This will widen the stance of the vehicle, otherwise known as the wheel’s offset. Wheel spacers can also be used to change the bolt patterns on the wheels. In essence, these spacers are metal inserts that can force a gap between the hub and the wheel. This ensures that even though the wheel will be further away from the base of the wheel, it’ll still have a friction force holding it steady.

What Are the Benefits of Wheel Spacers?

Because they are designed to push the wheel out away from the body, wheel spacers widen the vehicle's wheelbase. This can help improve the handling by making the weight on each of the tires evenly loaded. In some cases, they can even change the number of lugs on a wheel. This is a niche benefit—but it can be handy if you need to put on a set of new tires that don’t match the lug pattern. You can gain these benefits without much other work being done on the rest of the car.

What Is the Typical Wheel Spacer Thickness?

The typical wheel spacer size can vary greatly depending on what the end-user wants out of the spacer. As a general rule, you can expect wheel spacers to be as thin as 3mm or as thick as 20mm. Keep in mind that some vehicles may benefit more from different types of spacers while the body may limit others concerning far the wheels can extend outwards.

The Difference Between Hub-Centric Spacers and Lug-Centric Spacers

When you’re looking at the different spacers to choose from, you will encounter two types of spacers: hub-centric and lug-centric. Read about the differences between them in the following list:

  • Hub-centric spacers are centered around the wheel hub. The hole that attaches to the hub is fitted to the wheel hub it wraps around.
  • Lug-centric wheel spacers are centered and secured by the lug nuts. The borehole in the spacer will not precisely match the centering flange in the wheel. When you’re using these types of spacers, you must use conical lug nuts and tighten them by hand to keep the spacer intact.

In general, hub-centric wheel spacers are the preferred option because they can’t be installed off-center. This is because they only have one point that’s custom-fitted to the hub. With lug-centric spacers, it’s possible to install the lug spacers off-center. This is because not all lug holes in wheel spacers are made to fit a specific lug size. When these are installed off-center, it will result in a vibration similar to when a wheel is unbalanced.

Steps To Determine Exactly What Wheel Spacer Size You Need

When you measure for clearance to determine what size spacer you need, there are two ways that you can use it: the washer method and the yardstick method.

Washer Method

The washer method will allow you to easily determine the maximum distance you can space your wheels away from the hub without needing help from anyone else. All you need is a car jack, a few washers, and a tire wrench! Take a look at the list below. It details the process.

  1. Lift the vehicle and unscrew the lug nuts completely from the hub.
  2. Take the wheel off of the car
  3. Place washers around the lug nuts.
  4. Remount wheel to verify the distance to the suspension and the car body
  5. Repeat steps three and four until the wheel is appropriately spaced from the car
  6. Replace the lug nuts and lower the vehicle.

The Yardstick Method

This method will be a bit more labor-intensive, but you will not need to mess with the wheel. You will need a yardstick and (if you plan on putting more weight permanently in the back, such as a speaker system) some ballast to simulate weight. Ensure that this weight almost maxes out the suspension, just to be sure it’ll clear the car's entire body.

  1. Place on the outermost part of the fender where the wheel comes closest. Make sure it’s straight.
  2. Using a tape measure, measure from the outside wheel to the straight edge
  3. The distance you measure is the size of spacer you’ll need to make your wheel even with the fender.

Where To Get Spacers

You can pick up the generic wheel spacers from almost any auto parts store. They’re made to fit most lug patterns, so you should have no problem finding one that fits your vehicle. However, generic spacers won’t be as good as ones made to fit your car. If you’re looking for hub-centric wheel spacers custom-fit to your car, reach out to a dealership or specialty online suspension shop, such as Supreme Suspensions.

We hope that this guide has been useful in helping you learn the process of choosing wheel spacers for your truck. If you are in need of any automotive products relating to suspension, make sure to visit Supreme Suspensions. We have an amazing selection of anything from lift kits to control arms and carry stock in a variety of different car brands.

How To Choose Wheel Spacers For Your Truck

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