Wheel Spacers vs. Wheel Adapters! (The Differences)

That’s how we started it- all the wheel adapters are wheel spacers but you can’t call the wheel spacers wheel adapters. Confusing? Yes, we know! But today, we will solve all your confusion related to wheel adapters and wheel spacers.

No matter you have an SUV, a car, a truck, or a pickup when it comes to wheel spacers vs. wheel adapters- you will surely be in a dilemma! Let’s solve it!

Difference Between Wheel Spacers And Wheel Adapter

So, you are here to learn about the difference between a wheel spacer and a wheel adapter, right? First, we will discuss what they are and then when you can get them! Let’s dive into the discussion.

What is Wheel Spacers?

easywheel Toyota Pickup Truck Wheel Spacers (Set of 4)

You might think that wheel spacers and wheel adapters are similar- well, yes, they almost are! But there are differences too. When it comes to wheel spacers, they provide you with the basic service. The job of these is to afford space between the mounting pad and the wheel of your vehicle.

These are available in several sizes in the market. The price highly depends on the size. These can bolt onto the car’s hub. Also, they will afford you studs for mounting the wheel. Wheel spacers are usually specific to the wheel bolt pattern- that’s what the TrainFX’s Product Manager mentioned.

He also said that some of the spacers can be interchangeable with several bolt parts. But if you talk about the basic feature, the thickness of the wheel spacers is usually 3/8 inches. Mostly, you won’t find any stud that will mount to the wheel or the mounting hub for security.

The Wheels can be 1-1/4 inch, 1-3/4 inch, 2 inches, etc. in terms of thickness. The whole measurement includes the wheel studs. It also includes open-end lug nuts along with the thread locker added for a secured mounting.

When should you pick up Wheel Spacers?

There are different sized wheel spacers available in the market as we have told you before. Both bolt-on ones along with the small ones for you. And all of these are for providing you a smidgen of clearance.

When you have disk brakes, you usually need wheel spacers. Do wheel spacer affect alignment– a very common question of the users! Well, if you are messing with the camber, caster, or you are planning to add spacers to make the wheel stance wide, there will be alignment issues.

1. If you have a clearance issue, go for a small spacer. The wide offerings will bolt onto your wheel hub. The thickness of these wheel spacers is available from one inch and a quarter to upwards.

Whenever you like stock wheels but buying new wheels is too expensive and they don’t go with bigger tires, you must have your hands on bolt-on spacers. Check out the best wheel spacers for trucks because there are tons in the market and it’s tough to get the right deal!

2. As we are talking about wheel spacers, you already know that a very important reason for picking up wheel spacers is when the wheel and the tire package don’t sit in the perfect position.

If you want to bring the tire and the wheel to the edge of your fender, the outlook of the vehicle will change. But whenever it’s about buying a new package, you might fall short. But here, you can save a lot if you pick up spacers!

The spacers go with jeep, SUV, Truck, etc. applications. If you plan on keeping the OE wheels even if you have installed a suspension lift or leveling kits, you should get wheel spacers. Another fact is if you want to switch to a non-factory spec tire keeping the OE wheels, you need wheel spacers. If you install a lift, the truck will require clearance.

What are Wheel Adapters?


As we have already told you, they might be similar but there are major differences among them- we will elaborate our views on wheel adapters here. If you imagine a thick wheel spacer that is bolted to the hub, you will already feel that it is a wheel adapter.

However, let’s focus on the differences. The bolt pattern is completely different between these two gears. For mounting the wheel, a bolt pattern is required. However, the pattern is different than the hub when we are dealing with wheel adapters. And so, it helps in adapting the vehicle for fitting any wheel with the dissimilar bolt pattern without any discomfort.

This is the reason why wheel adapters are a bit thicker than wheel spacers! Also, the wheel adapters usually are bolted to the hub, unlike the wheel spacers. In case you go for a thin adapter size, the wheel will be sitting out further than the truck in stock form.

In short, the work of the wheel adapter is what the name is for! It easily adapts from one bolt pattern to another pattern! This is mostly used for Jeep applications. Some of the customers usually want to upgrade their vehicles and add newer model wheels.  Also, at times, they like to go for adapting from one current pattern to something more perfect and fitting.

This is when wheel adapters come into play. You can easily use wheel adapters to solve such problems. However, if you don’t go for wheel adapters, there’s a chance that the job will get extensive and you have to pay a lot more. If you want to go for a less expensive option, you are always welcome to pick up wheel adapters.

When should you pick Wheel Adapters?

  • You will get wheel adapters of different thicknesses. Along with this, the patterns might vary. When you need a variety of options to pick up from, you can settle for wheel adapters.
  • The best part about wheel adapters is they can easily be sued with Hub Centric Rings. This will help in improving the fitment. And with this, if you are interested in uplifting the ride quality of the wheels, you can always settle for this one!

Are Wheel Spacers bad for Your Truck?

No, wheel spacers are not really bad for the truck, but if you settle for the cheaply made wheel spacers, how can you expect durability? When the construction material is not durable enough, it won’t be able to carry the weight of your vehicle.

However, if you plan on settling for some wheel spacer of good-grade construction, you can always get the positives from them.

Wrap Up

Now you know all the differences between the wheel spacer and the wheel adapter. Both of them almost work similarly but as we said, there are major differences. We have only discussed the basic dissimilarities. However, you should check our site for more in-detail discussions on this topic!

About Jeremy

Hello! My name is Jeremy Bloomberg. I have been passionate about carpentry and DIY. Over the years, my passion slowly turned into expertise and wider knowledge about electronics. I’ve been involved in numerous projects, both professional and personal. I want to share all I have learned with you. Welcome!

Follow me: Facebook, Twitter