You hear a lot of rumors about the dangers of wheel spacers. But how many people do you personally know who have actually experienced a problem with them? Wheel spacers are used when the offset of the wheel is not ideal for the end package that you want. Whether it’s because of too narrow of axles or not enough wheel offset, wheel spacers can put your tires and wheels where you want them to be under your fender.
So, are they dangerous to use? In a one-word summation, no.
Do they have the potential to offer more problems than a package without wheel spacers? Yes.
Here’s the deal: High-quality wheel spacers are made of a billet aluminum that is just as strong, if not stronger than the wheels they attach to. They bolt onto the studs of an axle in place of the wheel, and have studs (themselves) for the wheels to attach to. Wheel spacers can be used to change wheel bolt patterns and to widen the offset of the wheel.
By increasing the offset of the wheel, you place more stress on the axle’s studs, and in a front axle application on the unit bearings (or spindles) and ball joints of the axle. You also increase the tire scrub radius, changing the way the vehicle handles and increasing the difficulty of slow-speed turning.
Also, by adding wheel spacers you are adding more components, and the more components, the more potential for failure. Make sure to properly tighten and torque all of the spacers’ bolts and nuts, and you should never have an issue.
All that being said, wheel spacers are a cost-effective way to keep the wheels you have (or adapt a different lug pattern wheel) while increasing your track width. We’ve seen them work successfully on race trucks countless times, and we’ve used them ourselves in rear axle applications to increase the track width of a stock rear axle to match a custom front axle.