Jeeps are one of the premium vehicles for drivers who want a great off-roading experience. They are also well-known historically as one of the most reliable and durable brands out there. If you are looking for a vehicle that can get the job done on the road and off-road, then it’s highly likely that you will be considering a Jeep at some point.
Today, we’re looking at wheel spacers and answering what do wheel spacers do on a Jeep. Jeeps are also known for the aftermarket support with a lot of items that can help the performance of your Jeep go to the next level.
What Do Wheel Spacers Do For Jeeps?
So, what do wheel spacers do for Jeeps? Wheel spacers on a Jeep are designed to widen the wheelbase of your vehicle. Wheel spacers are often used to install larger tires on a Jeep.
An example of wheel spacer use
When I purchased my 2005 Jeep LJ, it had wheel spacers installed because the previous owner put a set of JK wheels on it. The JK wheels had a different offset than the LJ/TJ so spacers were required.
This is just the short answer for those in a hurry. There is so much more you need to know about wheel spacers so keep reading to learn the rest of the story.
Many of these items depend on your specific goals, it’s important to remember that no answer will always be right for everyone.
You need your Jeep set up to achieve what you are looking for in a vehicle. You’ll also need to take care of those goals within your budget, so it’s important to keep a personal perspective as we go over this information.
Wheel Spacers on a Jeep
When off-roading, it’s important to have tires that can grip whatever surface you’re dealing with. While grip is important, there is also the issue of the size of your tires and the clearance of your Jeep.
To customize your Jeep and add larger tires on to it, you need to have proper tire clearance. This is exactly what Jeep wheel spacers are designed to do.
However, you cannot just buy any wheel spacers and put them on a Jeep and expect success. There are specific wheel spacers and adapters that need to be bought depending on what model Jeep that you have.
You’ll also need to buy the correct equipment that fits the size tires that you have, otherwise the match may not be a good fit.
The wheel spacers on a Jeep are designed to simply widen the wheelbase of your vehicle. This will add a whole different feel and look to your Jeep. A Jeep that has wheel spacers, and therefore wider tires, will have a look that screaming “rugged”.
Most Jeep owners are looking for that exact feeling so that makes it a great appearance for your vehicle if that fits your personality.
However, wheel spacers do not simply change the appearance of a Jeep. You are also going to see a boost to the handling of your vehicle.
Adding distance between your tires will also improve the handling of your Jeep when it is going around curves. That’s great for drivers who are looking for a ride that is considerably more smooth than without wheel spacers.
Depending on what kind of wheel spacers you are buying, you will find them packaged as separate items while others will come in pairs.
However, you may probably need to buy a kit that will come with items that come with other hardware that you need to actually install the wheel spacers.
These include things like lugnuts or wheel studs that you probably do not just have lying around.
Two of the best brands that you can find for wheel spacers when it comes to Jeeps are Rough Country and Spidertrax.
Jeep 1.5″ Thick Wheel Spacers [4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️]
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These brands are top of the line when it comes to wheel spacers so if you see either of these brands for sale, you can definitely buy with confidence.
These products beat out most any other brand you can find and are recommended as the best fit for Jeeps.
You can find many different sized wheel spacers, however most will be between a quarter inch and 2 inches.
This may not seem like a big deal, however that small measure of distance can actually make considerable changes to your vehicle.
When considering a wheel spacer for your Jeep, you need to be sure that you are buying something that is appropriate quality.
Your Jeep is a high quality vehicle, so your wheel spacers need to match. Using a high quality material is the only way to add a wheel spacer to your Jeep.
The best choices would be aluminum or a magnesium alloy that is strong to make sure your wheel spacers are built to last.
Adding something that is less than durable is a mistake because you are simply adding a failure spot to your vehicle that is supposed to be a premium item.
Many people try to question the safety of installing wheel spacers on a Jeep.
What is true is that you do need to be careful when installing wheel spacers. Nothing is inherently unsafe; however you do need to take care to install these the right way. This includes proper installation and following all manufacturer recommendations.
If you try to cut corners and get away from what the guidelines are telling you to do, you are making a big mistake. It’s not enough to simply use prior knowledge, you need to assume that you know nothing coming in and do significant research so that you are always safe when driving.
Remember, it is not advisable to sacrifice any amount of safety for some extra performance. Safety always needs to come first when modifying your vehicle in any way.
One thing that should be remembered as you are installing wheel spacers is that you get what you pay for. If you buy wheel spacers that are cheap, you are probably not buying the best quality product.
That being said, price alone is not a guarantee of quality either. So you should be careful and be sure to look up plenty of reviews for the specific product that you are buying as well as the company you are buying from.
These reviews should give you a good idea if any other vehicle owners have had a problem trying to do what you are hoping to do. If anything, you should stick to well proven companies and products.
It should be noted that wheel spacers can fix problems when aftermarket wheels do not fit. If the wheel offset in your vehicle is too high, you’re going to have a lot of problems with your vehicle.
If you use wheel spacers in this situation, you can fix everything as long as you are using a high quality product and applying the wheel spacers to your vehicle correctly.
Wheel spacers usually come in two forms. They would be classified as slide-on or bolt-on wheel spacers. Usually what you will see in most vehicles are slide-on spacers. These are much more common than bolt-on ones.
The reason why you see more slide-on spacers is because they attach to the bolts that are already on your vehicle.
This is a lot more convenient for most vehicle owners and for that reason they have gained a lot of popularity. Most people are able to remove the wheel from the axle and put the spacers over studs, so these are an easy process for most people who know their way around a vehicle.
Bolt-on spacers are a bit more intense. The wheel gets removed and then the spacer is placed over an axle stud. The nut then keeps it in place as it is held in place at the end of the axle.
Some people find that there may be some vibration after wheel spacers are installed to their Jeep.
This is really not normal and you need to go back and check the manufacturer instructions to make sure that everything is in place correctly.
If you are having any problems, you may want to take it to an expert because your vehicle is certainly nothing to play around with.
What Are Wheel Spacers For?
Generally, what wheel spacers do is allow vehicle owners to install larger tires on to their vehicle. A wheel spacer is an item that is put on to a car’s holding bracket to create extra tire clearance.
This tire clearance is important because it increases the distance between the wheel and the wheel hub assembly. This is going to give you a few benefits. For one, you will receive better handling when entering curves.
It also allows the owner to use custom wheels. If you are trying to add bigger wheels on to your vehicle, you’re going to find that you probably do not have the space to do so.
Wheel spacers are able to come in and widen your car base a bit so that the wheels fit in a way that makes sense and is safe to drive.
On top of all of these benefits, some owners also prefer the look of a vehicle that has wheel spacers attached. The wheel spacers move the tires away from the base of the vehicle, so it has a look that is quite unique.
Usually people say that their vehicle looks more rugged or more sporty after they put wheel spacers on to the car.
For many Jeep owners, wheel spacers are a way to improve the handling of their vehicle while giving it a great look. If you are adding large custom tires, wheel spacers are going to be quite important.
How to Choose Wheel Spacers
There are tons of factors that will decide what kind of wheel spacers you need. For one thing, you will need to determine the correct size of wheel spacers to add on to your Jeep.
You cannot add wheel spacers that are too thin or too thick. Both of these problems will have different consequences.
Wheel spacers that are too thin will result in wheel interference that causes big problems with your vehicle. If they are too thick, your tires will be hitting the fenders which is obviously not a great solution.
Once you’ve decided what size of wheel spacers you need, you’ll need to decide if you are using slide-on spacers or bolt-on spacers. Slide-on spacers are definitely more common because they are easier to install.
Easier doesn’t always mean the best solution however, and the bolt-on spacers may be a little bit more durable down the road, however slide-on are not shoddy by any means.
You’ll also need to pick a brand of wheel spacers. You need to make sure that wheel spacers are made with high quality materials like an aluminum and magnesium alloy.
Whatever your spacer is made of, you need to make sure that it will stand the test of time. Trying to buy a shoddy product will result in failure down the road which is absolutely not acceptable.
Find a supplier for your wheel spacer that is well respected and consider asking a friend what kind of model they have. If they have been using wheel spacers for a long time, they should be able to give you a referral that will be sincere.
Are Wheel Spacers Legal?
You need to be careful when modifying any vehicle that you drive including your Jeep. You should definitely check your local laws to make sure that any modifications are legal.
Currently, there are no federal laws that regulate against wheel spacers, so in that sense you should be clear and free.
However, that is not the extent of the laws that regulate vehicles. You also need to check local restrictions and make sure that you are not doing anything illegal.
Laws can change all the time depending on lawmakers and who is currently in office.
You can contact a few different offices to get the current regulations, however you should also monitor how these laws are enforced to make a good decision regarding your vehicle.
One thing that should be noted about wheel spacers are often marketed to be used for “off-road purposes only”.
Clearly, when they are being marketed in that fashion, the manufacturers may be concerned about any potential liability or illegal product use.
This should give you an idea about your laws and where you plan to use your vehicle. For one thing, if you are truly using your Jeep in off-road situations only, you are definitely fine.
When it comes to the law, no information you can find will be better than the lawbooks themselves.
Feel free to contact your local agency to be sure that you are not running the risk of being on the wrong side of the law, as penalties can be costly and certainly something you don’t want to run into.
Are Wheel Spacers Safe or Not?
There seems to be a lot of misinformation when it comes to the safety of wheel spacers.
Of course, you can find opinions from both sides where manufacturers will always say “Yes, these are always safe 100% of the time” and opponents who will tell you never to use wheel spacers, but which group is closer to the truth?
First of all, your wheel spacers need to be installed properly. If they are not installed properly, obviously, they can become a safety hazard.
When operating a serious piece of machinery like a vehicle, you need to take heavy caution. You should not work on your vehicle if you only have some idea of what you are doing – that’s a good way to end up in a bad situation.
However, if your wheel spacers are installed properly then you should be operating a motor vehicle safely.
Installation issues are the biggest problem that people have with wheel spacers, so maybe the people who do not know what they are doing are the ones shouting about how wheel spacers are inherently dangerous.
There may be slight variations that occur and you may need to adjust your wheel spacers as time goes on. This is another issue with installation and does not mean that wheel spacers are unsafe on their own merit.
Some people also believe that wheel spacers will cause their wheel studs to bend. Again, improper installation may cause torque issues with your vehicle, however, you should not have any issues if you are using wheel spacers correctly.
Another myth that people sometimes believe is that wheel spacers cause problems to wheel bearings. This is not the case, again, provided that the wheel spacers are being installed and used correctly.
One final complaint that is seen is that wheels are always going to rub against the fenders when installing wheel spacers. This is not an installation issue, but it is a pre-installation issue.
You do need to measure distances when adding wheel spacers to make sure that wheel rubbing is not going to be an issue. It is a good idea to measure more than once to make sure you are not making a critical and costly mistake.
While some people believe that wheel spacers are against all laws, there are no federal laws currently in place to prevent the use of wheel spacers.
If you are using wheel spacers to add tire clearance when off-roading, it is highly likely that you probably should consider high-quality wheel spacers as long as they are installed and used correctly with your Jeep vehicle.
Do not buy into the incorrect hype that is often spouted about wheel spacers.