How To Measure For Wheel Spacers

What Are Wheel Spacers?

Wheel spacers are installed between your vehicle’s hub and wheel to push the wheel away from suspension components to prevent rubbing. They are also used to provide a wider track for the vehicle which can help performance and make the aesthetics of the vehicle more aggressive.

The unfortunate thing about wheel spacers is that you will have to do the necessary groundwork to measure and determine what size you will ultimately need as every vehicle will be different and  may will require different sized spacers.

Differing factors include
  • Type/brand of suspension
  • The ride height of the suspension
  • The size and offset of the wheels
  • The design of the tires which also could vary slightly depending on the manufacture of the tires.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the reasons you may need or want to run spacers and go over in detail how to determine what size you will need.

How To Measure To Make Sure Your Suspension Clears Your Wheels/Tires

So you’ve installed your new suspension and the excitement is peaking as you grab your first wheel to remount, only to find that you can’t mount the wheel because the wheel or tire is rubbing on the newly installed suspension. Bummer!

To fix this, you will have to run a spacer large enough to allow the wheel and tire to clear the suspension. Now, to find the right size spacer, you will need to measure twice and order once.

One way to measure for the spacers needed is to use washers. If you have lug studs, this is simple as you will just install washers onto the studs and remount the wheel to verify clearance against the suspension. The size spacer you need will be equal to the thickness of the washers used. If a spacer greater than 5mm is needed, you may need to also purchase extended lug studs or purchase wheel spacers with studs.

IMPORTANT!!!!! Don’t attempt to operate the vehicle with washers installed!!!!

For vehicles using lug bolts instead of lug studs like our Euro friends, it is a little more complicated. You can purchase at least two long wheel studs and thread them into the hub and use the same washer technique mentioned above. Also, for around $150USD, you can purchase a stud conversion kit which will make finding the right sized wheel spacers much easier.

How To Measure For Clearance To The Fender

Measuring clearance to the fender is much easier than the process mentioned above but will require a few friends and gear. Load your friends in the back seat and if you are planning on a hefty audio system in the trunk, try to load the trunk up adequately to represent the maximum point of compression in your suspension.

Now, with a straight edge such as a yard stick, place the straight edge on the outermost part of the fender where the tire/wheel comes closest to the fender, then, with a tape measure, measure from the outside wheel/tire to the straight edge. This distance is the size spacer you will need to get the wheel/tire fitment flush with the fender.

To keep from rubbing on the fender, we would recommend going with a spacer that is a little smaller than the measured distance.

HubCentric Vs Generic Wheel Spacers

You can pick up generic wheel spacers from any auto parts store and they are often made to fit many different lug patterns. However, because they are not specific to the car, it can cause vibrations in the ride.

Hubcentric wheel spacers are made to fit the specific hub of the vehicle. For example, the 5×120 BMW spacers that we offer are made to fit exactly to the BMW models that run the 5×120 lug pattern with the 72.56 center bore which is the diameter of the lip where the wheel seats to the hub.

If you have any questions regarding wheel spacers , please feel free to shoot us an e-mail to [email protected] or call us @ 801-365-1440.

13 thoughts on “How To Measure For Wheel Spacers

  1. Craig says:

    Hi I’m wanting to put wheel spacers on a bmw e64 2006 6 series and I’m wanting to put bmw f12 wheels , what size spacers are needed for front and back

  2. BRIAN says:

    You can also jack up the car on the one corner and put wood blocks or something under the tire. Slowly lower the car down and that wheel will sit higher. I did this with my Benz and it worked out well.

    • Jimmy says:

      I have a 1991 lincoln town car and put 13″ spokes on with knockoffs – I will be putting new brakes on and was wondering if I need 1″ or 2″ spaces so they don’t rub on my brake pads?

  3. Wally says:

    So I have a 1985 gmc wondering if a 6×5.5 size spacer will fit didn’t know was wondering if u could let me know the right measurements

  4. Alex Han says:

    I’ve got a outback, and my wheels don’t touch my fenders if they’re far out. Does that mean I don’t have to measure from tire edge to fender, or do I still need to measure that to prevent any rubbing?

    • Cody Graham says:

      You shouldn’t have an issue with rubbing of that is the case. It would be more for the aesthetic that you’ll want to measure. For example, if you want a flush look, you would still measure from the tire’s edge to the fender’s edge.

  5. Ryan says:

    Can you use different size spacer in front and rear? For example 10mm in front and 12 or 15 in rear. What are the possible complications from this?

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