What's the Difference?

Wheel Spacers

Wheel spacers serve a very basic function. They are designed to put space between the mounting pad of the wheel and the vehicle's hub for improved clearance or a wider stance. Every vehicle is different meaning spacer sizes can vary depending on what you are looking for.

The thickness of a spacer will determine whether it is able to slip right onto your current studs or if additional hardware is required. Spacers that are less than an inch thick will generally slide right onto your stock studs where thicker spacers may come with, or require, an additional set of studs.

Wheel spacers are normally used when there is a clearance problem with brakes, tie rods, and or other components but can also be used to achieve a wider stance without having to change your wheels. The problem most people have is that, when a spacer is installed, you have fewer threads to work with on your studs. However, as long as you have at least 6-8 full threads for the lug nut to hold on to, these thin spacers shouldn't cause an issue.

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Wheel Adapters

Adapters widen your stance and push your wheels out, similar to spacers, however, they also allow you to install a wheel with a different bolt pattern. This effectively allows the vehicle to fit a wheel with a different bolt pattern. Because of this, wheel adapters will always be on the thicker side and will always need to be bolted to the hub. This means that the wheels will sit out further than they would on a stock vehicle even with the thinnest adapter size, because of this, checking fender and caliper clearance will be very important.

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*One-Piece vs Two-Piece Adapters

Adapters are built in either one-piece or two-piece configurations. If you are installing a wheel that requires a different number of studs than what your vehicle has, a two-piece adapter is required.

Example: If your vehicle has a 4x100 but you want to run wheels that only come drilled in a 5x114.3, you would need a two-piece adapter. If the adapter is going from the same lug count but has different spacing between the lugs, like going from a 5x114.3 to 5x120, this would only require a one-piece design.

Note: We do not sell adapters for 8-lug converting to 6-lug bolt patterns. These adapters aren't safe as they put the same amount of total pressure on fewer studs and can cause them to snap.

*Aluminum Spacers vs Steel Spacers

Aluminum spacers will be sufficient for the majority of customers because they have a high load rating that can handle up to 30,000 lbs. Steel spacers have a load rating of 40,000 lbs and we would only recommend steel spacers to customers with trucks that are towing very heavy loads or vehicles with very high horsepower. Due to the raw material costs and machining costs, they are usually more expensive than aluminum spacers.

Unless you are towing very heavy loads with a 1-ton or heavier truck, or are approaching 1000+ horsepower, aluminum spacers are the way to go!

What are the main differences between the two?

Steel spacers are shipped raw while aluminum spacers are anodized black. This protects the surface of aluminum spacers against corrosion.

Due to the raw materials used, steel spacers are more expensive and take longer to make.

Are Spacers and Adapters safe?

Wheel spacers and adapters are quite safe, despite them being a contentious topic, as long as you take the needed steps to properly and securely install them to your vehicle there should be no issues; professional installation is always recommended.

Using wheel spacers and adapters can cause various steering parts like axles, ball joints, and tie-rods to work harder compared to stock applications. This is due to the fact that you are increasing the length of the lever arm, demanding more out of these parts when you drive. These items are also hard on wheel bearings for the same reason; you increase the mechanical advantage that the wheel and tire have on the wheel bearings, steering parts, and axle housing.

However, by having the product properly installed and by following a few simple rules, you shouldn't see any issues using spacers or adapters.

Safety Tips

For your safety, we recommend going to a trusted local shop to have them installed professionally.

*Use high-quality wheel spacers or adapters from a reliable company, like BORA.

Do not use impact wrenches and power tools when installing as they can over-torque the bolts or strip the threads. Torque wrenches will work as long as they are calibrated to the correct amount of foot-pounds (ft.-lbs.) or Newton meters (Nm).

Never stack multiple wheel spacers or adapters as this can create unsafe friction or slippage.

Make sure the inner lug nuts and inner wheel studs do not stick out past the outer surface of the wheel spacer or adapter.

What size should I get?

This ultimately depends on what you're trying to accomplish. There are so many variables with a spacer such as your specific vehicle's year, make, model, trim level, wheels, tires, ride height, and more. Because of these variables, measuring is usually required in order to get the right fitment.

We are partnered with BORA to offer many different sizes, however, our website simply can't list every possible option we have for spacers/adapters. If you don't see the size you're looking for on our website, feel free to Contact Us and we can put together a custom quote for the size that you need.

All spacers are hub-centric and lug-centric. Hub-centric means that the center hole of the spacer is the exact size of the vehicle's hub. Lug centric means that the spacers are centered by the torque of the lug nuts. This keeps the spacer perfectly centered with evenly distributed weight.

How do I determine the Spacer/Adapter width I need?

Measuring the thickness needed for spacers/adapters can be very simple - all you need is a handful of washers. Below, we have outlined how to measure with washers to help you get a better idea of the thickness that you need!

***Never drive your vehicle with washers installed on your studs***

This is for measuring purposes only!

  1. Remove the vehicle's current wheel.
  2. Add an equal number of washers to each stud.
  3. Place the wheel on the studs and check the fitment.
  4. Continue this process by adding or subtracting washers until the desired fitment is met. Make sure your lugs complete a minimum of 6-8 full revolutions.
  5. Measure the width of a single washer multiplied by how many were used or use a micrometer/vernier caliper to measure the exact amount of space the washers are taking up on the studs.

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The measurement will give you an idea of how thick the spacers/adapters should be when you place your order. If you find you are having trouble locating what you need, feel free to Contact Us and we can help point you in the right direction.

What size should I get?

  • Lugs need a minimum of 6-8 full revolutions to ensure they can be torqued properly.
  • We do not currently offer extended wheel studs/bolts. If you find they are needed, extended wheel studs or bolts can be sourced locally or online.
  • You can double-check that you've achieved your desired fitment by setting the wheel and tire on the studs to confirm wheel placement.
  • When measuring the thickness in the front, have someone slowly turn the steering wheel to its full extent left and right while you verify the clearance along the way.

Manual Locking Hubs: If your vehicle has manual locking hubs, you can install a wheel with a hub bore that is larger than your vehicle hub. However, if the wheel has a hub bore that is smaller than your vehicle's hub, the spacer needs to be thicker than the amount that the locking hub protrudes from the hub assembly.

How do I measure the wheel's hub bore?
  1. First, you will need a micrometer or vernier caliper to measure the hub bore of your wheel. You can locate these at your local hardware store.
  2. Next, place the tip of the micrometer on the inside of the wheel's hub bore. It is important to measure the inner barrel of the hub bore as measuring the outside will give inaccurate measurements.
  3. Then, extend the micrometer to the other side. Be sure to measure in millimeters (mm). Hub bores are measured in millimeters to provide the most accurate measurement possible.

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Note: If you are using this measurement for ordering hub rings, the inside diameter of your wheel's center bore will be the outside diameter of your hub ring measurement. The diameter of your vehicle's hub would be the inside diameter of your hub ring.

Do I have to trim my studs?

***All stud trimming, cutting, or shaving should be handled professionally in a shop***

Stud trimming is necessary when the vehicle studs are longer than the bolt-on style spacer/adapter you are installing. In some instances, the wheel will have pockets on the back side where the excess of the studs can fit.

Most domestic trucks will have 1.75" long studs and cars typically have 1.25"-1.50" long studs. More often than not, you will need to trim the studs if the spacer is 0.75"- 1.5" thick to avoid hitting the backside of the wheel.

With two-piece adapters, the studs need to be trimmed down to be shorter than the thickness of the first piece to avoid getting in the way of the installation of the second piece. This first piece is usually about 1" thick and the second piece bolts on top of that first piece.

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When are extended studs/lug bolts required?

Extended wheel studs/lug bolts are required when using a slip-on style spacer that is too thick for the factory hardware. We recommend a minimum of 6-8 complete threads of engagement for the lug nuts to be considered safely installed. For trucks, the likelihood you'll need extended stud/lug bolts will increase as the spacer size grows thicker than 0.375" (inches). For cars, the need arises when the spacer or adapter is thicker than 6mm.

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