Are Wheel Spacers Safe For Towing? Here’s What You Need To Know

There are many different opinions when it comes to wheel spacers, the effect that they can have on your vehicle, and whether or not they look good. One of the most critical concerns is safety. If you put wheel spacers on a vehicle, will this compromise its ability to tow things? 

Are wheel spacers safe for towing? Wheel spacers are generally safe for towing. With high-quality wheel spacers, you should not have to worry about your towing capacity being lowered although you also should not plan on pushing your vehicle to the limit as you will have extra stress on various components as a result of the wheel spacers.

Why do people install wheel spacers? For many people, wheel spacers are a necessity. For those who go off-roading, wheel spacers are a great way to fit larger tires on your vehicle without rubbing. Many people install wheel spacers because they like the look that they can give their vehicle’s stance. Regardless of the reason, adding additional components to any vehicle will affect some of the vehicle dynamics.

The primary concerns here are that you want to make sure that your wheel spacers are not going to cause your vehicle to break down. Suspension and chassis components can be time-intensive and expensive to replace. As such, you want to make sure that your wheel spacers are not going to be breaking things all the time. Additionally, it is important to understand that wheel spacers can also have a small effect on how your vehicle drives.

Having Wheel Spacers While Towing: Safe Or Not?

As we have mentioned, wheel spacers are safe for use when towing.  Though it is important to remember that there are certain limitations. When your vehicle is made by the manufacturer it is rated to a certain towing capacity. 

There will be a maximum amount of weight that your vehicle can pull. Remember that this amount is for your vehicle when it was entirely stock. When adding components and changing things out on your vehicle, it does not mean that you will always be able to tow that same amount safely.

So, how do wheel spacers affect your towing capacity exactly? First off, wheel spacers extend your wheels further out from the body of the vehicle. Your wheels are what hold up all of the weight of your vehicle and the weight from the tongue of a trailer. By having the wheels further from the body, there is a long moment arm meaning that additional stress is put on all of the load-bearing chassis components. While this extra stress may not be a big deal normally, if you are already pushing your vehicle to the limits, it can push things over the edge and cause things to break entirely.

This is what can lead to wheel spacers being unsafe. Once modifying your vehicle, you no longer know exactly what your vehicle is capable of towing safely. Most likely, your towing capacity will not shift much but you never know exactly how much. As a result, if you are towing at or beyond your towing capacity with wheel spacers, you are at risk. Additionally, there are a lot of low-quality wheel spacers out there that can make things even more dangerous. These can fail unexpectedly or make your lug nuts come loose while driving. Buying high-quality wheel spacers is very important for ensuring safety while towing.

Aside From Safety, Do Wheel Spacers Impact Towing?

We have discussed that wheel spacers will affect how safely you can tow anything with wheel spacers. While in general, your wheel spacers will still allow you to tow reasonable loads safely, there still is risk there in that they will cause extra stress on chassis components. This can cause your ball joints, wheel bearings, and other chassis components to fail prematurely. Do these have any other effect on towing apart from just the safety concerns?

As it turns out, the wheel spacers do not affect your ability to tow much at all. The wider stance of your vehicle with wheel spacers on allows for your vehicle to have an overall lower center of gravity. This lower center of gravity makes your truck more resistant to tipping or rolling. Overall, though, you will not notice much difference with a trailer attached. There will be a slightly reduced likelihood of rolling over while towing but even that is pretty minimal. 

As you can see, wheel spacers are not going to affect too much about your vehicle. You might have some slightly stiffer suspension and steering control, but you will experience that even without a trailer connected. The only real concern when putting wheel spacers on is safety. As such, it will be up to you to execute your best judgment when deciding if your truck can or cannot tow something specific.

Tips For Safely Towing With Wheel Spacers

So, what are things that you can do to make sure you are towing as safely as possible with wheel spacers? The first thing is to make sure that you buy the right wheel spacers for your vehicle. You will want to make sure that the ones that you get are high-quality and that they are hub-centric wheel spacers. Getting good wheel spacers will make sure that the wheel spacers themselves do not fail on you, and that the lug nuts will not come off unexpectedly. 

The second thing that you will want to do is evaluate every towing instance for safety before departing. You will want to make sure that you are not pushing your truck too hard. If your vehicle was rated to tow 8,000 lbs and you have used that truck to tow 10,000 lbs many times before adding wheel spacers without any problems, you may not want to try to tow that same 10,000 lbs anymore. You will need to make a judgment call every time before towing anything now that you have added wheel spacers.

Secondly, you will want to avoid unnecessary aggressive driving. Remember that by adding wheel spacers you have applied extra stress to almost all of the chassis components. Towing compounds that additional stress. As such, you will want to avoid sharp turns, hard stops, hard bumps, and any other driving that would maximize stress on those various components. By doing this, you can make sure that you can tow safely with or without wheel spacers on your vehicle.

Driving fast with wheel spacers should be done carefully. It is completely safe, but abusing high speeds can increase the chances of error.  You can learn more about this from our article “Are Wheel Spacers Safe At High Speeds?”

Are There Situations In Which You Should Not Tow With Wheel Spacers?

So, are there any situations where you should entirely avoid towing when you have wheel spacers? There are some. Let us say for example you have a truck that is rated for pulling a 13,000 lb trailer by the manufacturer. You have now added wheel spacers to your truck so you no longer know exactly how much it can pull. So, what do you use that truck for pulling?

What if you mostly use it to pull some toys around? You often take a trailer with two jet skis to the lake during the summer. These only weigh between 1,000-3,000 lbs so you are nowhere near your towing limit, and this should not be a problem at all even with wheel spacers. But what if a friend wanted you to pick up an excavator on a trailer and take it to his house for him? For this example, let us say the trailer and excavator weigh 13,000 lbs. You are now right at the limits of what your truck was rated for when it was entirely stock. This is an instance when you will want to avoid towing.

When pushing your vehicle to its limits or even going above those limits, you are putting your chassis components, your wheel spacers themselves, and even your lug nuts and wheel studs at risk. In these instances, you can have things break or have a wheel come flying off. This puts you at risk, your vehicle in line to be severely damaged, and whatever you are towing could also get damaged or destroyed. With wheel spacers installed, you must always use your best judgment when deciding whether you should tow something or not.

Related Questions

Can you off-road with wheel spacers? You can safely off-road with wheel spacers as long as the ones you install are of high quality. Do keep in mind that wheel spacers can potentially add some stress to the rest of the chassis, so be sure you know what you’re doing while you are off-roading with wheel spacers. Click here to view the full article.

Do wheel spacers affect turning radius? Wheel spacers do affect the turning radius of a car, but the effects are minimal. Wheel spacers will widen a car’s stance which creates a wider turn. The larger the spacer you use, the more the turning radius will be affected.  But even with two or three-inch spacers (considered to be on the larger end), the change is still unnoticeable to most. Click here to view the full article.

Do wheel spacers void a warranty? Fortunately, wheel spacers will usually not void your vehicle’s warranty.  Some warranty companies may try to blame any modifications you make, but unless they can prove your wheel spacers are the culprit, you are protected by law.  It is important to buy high-quality wheel spacers to ensure your vehicle’s safety. Click here to view the full article.

Amanda Cannon

Amanda has an ever growing knowledge of cars with her education beginning when she was a little girl. She was frequently seen working on cars with her dad and today can be seen working on a 1966 Bronco, 1968 Firebird, and modifying her 2022 Bronco.

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