Do I Need Spacers?

We get this question…A LOT. It’s an understandable question when dealing with aftermarket suspension, especially coilovers. It may help to understand why you might need spacers with the use of coilovers. By design, coilovers are meant to give vehicle owners the ability to alter ride height, most times lower than factory ride height. This is achieved by incorporating a threaded shock which allows the spring to sit at different heights on the shock than where it comes from the factory. Because the spring will be at different positions on the shock body depending on ride height, this will cause the spring to potentially move lower and closer to the wheel/tire. When this happens, you can be at risk of wheel/tire contact that may require moving the wheel and tire combo further away from the shock body. This is where spacers come into play. Spacers are the more economical solution than purchasing new wheels with differing offsets to move the wheel out (which we won’t explain here).

The short answer to the question: WE DON’T KNOW.

Yeah, we know, not the answer you were hoping to hear. While as frustrating as that can be, let us explain. As discussed briefly in a previous blog post here, there are several factors that play into whether or not the wheel needs to be pushed away from the shock body. Wheel offset, wheel width, wheel height, type of suspension, brand of suspension, design of suspension, vehicle’s ride height, tire width, tire sidewall size, brand of tire, and style of tire are all factors that go into clearance of a wheel/tire combo. Do you see what we’re getting at? There are SEVERAL factors that play part in it. It’s not as simple as knowing the wheel and tire size that will allow us to determine if more space is needed. Most times the vehicle will need to be present and the coilover set to the desired height for the answer to be obvious. In most cases, you’ll need to make the call when test fitting all components.

But I just have factory wheels and tires, I don’t need to worry about this. Right?

Unfortunately, not the case. Believe it or not, each vehicle’s wheel well space, design, and layout differs just as much as the vehicle’s exterior styling from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some vehicles just have more space in their wheel well than other vehicles may have. So, with the spring moving lower on the shock body as mentioned above, some factory wheels may be in risk of contact as well.

Don’t let rubbing scare you away from coilovers.

As with modifying vehicles in general, there often are instances where you have to do a little ground work to get everything setup correct but the end result is quite worth it. The adjustability, looks, and performance that are increased with a good coilover setup is more than worth the time spent trying to figure out the proper spacing for clearance. The fact of the matter is, most customers that have Raceland coilovers won’t need spacers at all. If you install the coilovers and find that spacers are needed don’t fret, we have given details on how to properly measure for spacers here.

Are you worried about putting on the coilovers just to find you need to order spacers but can’t be without the vehicle? No need to worry, in most cases you can just raise the collars and spring up the shock body for more clearance. Sure, you vehicle won’t be slammed to the ground but this way you can drive the vehicle while the newly ordered spacers arrive to you. Then once the spacers come in they can be installed and the coilover lowered again.

There are lots of points and details that we didn’t go over in this specific post when it relates to needing spacers so if you are left with questions still, give us a call, 801-365-1440. As always, you can leave questions and comment below as well.

4 thoughts on “Do I Need Spacers?

  1. Federico Benavides says:

    Hello I have a srt4 neon with aftermarket rims with stock wheel offset and size i have had raceland coils installed for a while now but rubbing is an issue and I have been looking into wheel spacers to fix the issue? Do yall think this will help with the rubbing issue? There is alittle clearance issue when turning wheels all the way in one direction to

    • Cody Graham says:

      Yes. Wheel spacers should help if the wheels/tires are rubbing on the coilovers. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. Alex says:

    I bought coil overs for my forester recently and I was wondering if the rear coil overs are supposed to have a little camber or if that is a result of lowering it?

    • Cody Graham says:

      Yes. As you lower the car, the camber will become more negative. You can correct it with the front camber plates and the rear lower control arm bushings.

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