Jeep Wheel Spacers Before And After: Explained!

Jeep Wheel Spacers Before And After

Have you ever wondered what your Jeep Wrangler or Cherokee would look like with a wider, more muscular stance? Do you want to fit larger off-road tires without rubbing or expensive upgrades? If so, wheel spacers may be the simple bolt-on mod you need.

Wheel spacers transform the look and capability of Jeeps in an afternoon for a reasonable cost. Just bolt them on between your wheels and hubs to push the wheels outward. It’s an easy way to get a wider, more aggressive profile without compromising ground clearance.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about installing wheel spacers on your Jeep:

  • What wheel spacers are and how they work
  • The benefits for Jeep owners
  • How your Jeep will change before/after spacers
  • Choosing the ideal spacer thickness and brand
  • Step-by-step installation guide
  • Proper maintenance with spacers
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

Let’s get started transforming your Jeep’s look!

What Are Wheel Spacers and How Do They Work?

Wheel spacers are circular metal rings that bolt between your wheel and vehicle hub. Some key facts about wheel spacers:

  • Also called bolt-on or slip-on wheel adapters
  • Made of aluminum or steel 1-3 inches thick
  • Have a center bore to fit precisely on the hub
  • Offer same bolt pattern to match wheels (5×5, etc.)
  • Push wheels outward to widen stance

Wheel spacers work by increasing the offset of your wheels. Offset is the distance between the wheel’s hub mounting surface and the wheel’s center line. More offset pushes the wheels outward from the fenders.

Spacers mount to the wheel hub first. Then your regular wheels bolt over the spacers, which makes the wheels sit further out. This widens the track or overall width between the wheels. The result is a more muscular looking Jeep.

Why Jeep Owners Love Wheel Spacers?

There are many great reasons to install wheel spacers on a Jeep Wrangler, Cherokee, or other model:

Improved Handling and Stability

The wider track width gives your Jeep a more stable footprint for better handling on and off road. Wider spaced wheels are also less prone to “scrub” or loss of traction when turning.

Larger Tire Fitment

The extra clearance from spacers lets you fit larger all-terrain or mud terrain tires without rubbing on stock fenders. 33″ or 35″ tires often fit with minimal or no trimming.

Enhanced Off-Road Performance

The wider stance offers better approach and departure angles for increased off-road capability. More traction also comes from the better tire contact patch.

Aggressive Muscular Stance

Wheel spacers give your Jeep a tougher, more masculine profile. The wider “power bulldog” look turns heads whether daily driving or rock crawling.

Levels Lifted Jeep Stance

Combined with a suspension lift, wheel spacers properly proportion your Jeep. Lifts raise the body but not the wheels, so spacers finish the look.

Quick Easy Bolt-On Mod

Spacers transform the look of your Jeep in an afternoon with basic tools and no permanent modifications. Just bolt them on and enjoy the new aggressive profile.

As you can see, wheel spacers offer Jeep owners a lot of benefit for not much money. Now let’s look at some before and after photos to see the visual impact spacers have.

Before and After Wheel Spacers on Jeep Wranglers

Seeing is believing when it comes to the transformation Jeeps undergo with wheel spacers. Let’s look at some before and after shots.

Stock Jeep Wrangler

Here is a stock 2-door JK Wrangler on its original narrow wheels and tires:

stock 2-door jk wrangler

The tall, narrow stance doesn’t do much for off-road performance or eye-catching looks. Now let’s see it with spacers.

After 1.5″ Wheel Spacers

This JK got a tough makeover with Rugged Ridge 1.5″ spacers and 33″ BFG KO2 tires:

jk got a tough makeover with rugged ridge 1.5

The wider, more squared-off look is great for off-roading and gives this Jeep serious curb appeal.

Stock Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Here is a 4-door Jeep JL Rubicon fresh from the dealership. The narrow track width looks undersized for such a big SUV:

4-door jeep jl rubicon

It looks tall for an off-roader rather than tough. But the spacers transform it.

After 2″ Wheel Spacers

Check out the difference 2″ Rugged Ridge spacers make on the proportions:

2" rugged ridge spacers

The Jeep gained 1.5″ of track width per side for a total of 3″. This gives it a proportional lifted look even though it’s on stock suspension.

As you can see from these before and after examples, wheel spacers make a huge visual impact on Jeep Wranglers and other models. Now let’s look at choosing the ideal spacer thickness and brand.

Choosing the Right Jeep Wheel Spacers

Wheel spacers come in different specific sizes, so it’s important to choose spacers that properly fit your particular Jeep. Here are the key factors to get right:


Make sure to get spacers for your Jeep’s bolt pattern. Most common patterns are:

  • 5×4.5″ for early CJs and YJs
  • 5×5″ for TJs, JKs, and JLs
  • 5×5.5″ or 5×4.75″ for XJs
  • 6×5.5″ for ZJs

Measure your wheel boltholes or hub carefully if unsure.


Common Jeep spacer sizes are:

  • 1.25″-1.5″ for mild width increase
  • 1.75″-2″ for added clearance for larger tires
  • 2″-3″ for maximum tire clearance

Ideally size your spacers based on your current wheels, desired new wheels/tires, and any lifting.


Stick with quality wheel spacer brands like:

  • Spidertrax
  • Synergy Manufacturing
  • Rugged Ridge
  • Daystar

These feature strong materials, precise manufacturing, and the right design for safe Jeep use.

Now that you know how to pick the right wheel spacers, let’s go over how to install them.

How to Install Wheel Spacers on a Jeep Wrangler

Putting wheel spacers on your Jeep takes about an hour or so with basic tools. Here is a step-by-step spacer installation guide:

Gather Tools & Supplies

You’ll need:

  • Floor jack and jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • Wheel spacers

Optional extras:

  • Anti-seize compound for wheel studs
  • Threadlocking fluid for spacer bolts
  • New extended lug nuts

Lift and Remove Wheels

Using the floor jack, lift your Jeep and place jack stands under the frame for safety. Remove all the wheels with your lug wrench.

Mount Spacers on Hubs

With the wheels removed, put your new wheel spacers on each hub one at a time. Center them carefully on the wheel studs/bolts. Add anti-seize lube to threads if desired.

Install Wheels on Spacers

Now put your standard wheels back on over the spacers. Get the lug nuts started by hand before using your wrench to tighten them.

Torque Lug Nuts

Use a calibrated torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to spec, usually around 100-140 ft-lbs. Do this in a star pattern for even tightening.

Repeat All Wheels

Do these spacer installation steps for each wheel, one at a time. Make sure to fully tighten lugs and properly center spacers.

Once complete, you can lower your Jeep and admire the new, wider stance! Be sure to get an alignment done to account for the geometry change from the spacers.

Then get ready to take your “new” Jeep out on the road and trails to enjoy the benefits of that wider, more aggressive look. Just remember proper spacer maintenance.

Keeping Your Jeep Safe with Wheel Spacers

While spacers are simple to install, you do need to keep up with some maintenance for safe use:

  • Retorque Lug Nuts: Recheck torque after 100 miles to ensure wheels stay secure. Check periodically after that.
  • Wheel Balancing: Have wheels balanced with the spacers installed for best ride and tire wear.
  • Inspect Condition: Check for any loosening or damage during routine car care. Look for spacer wobble/play.
  • Consider Extended Lug Nuts: Extended nuts add extra thread engagement for studs that now protrude farther through the spacers.

Following the installation steps properly along with good continued maintenance will keep your spacer-equipped Jeep running smoothly for years.

Frequently Asked Questions about Jeep Wheel Spacers

Let’s go over answers to some commonly asked questions about installing wheel spacers:

Do spacers reduce ground clearance?

No, wheel spacers push the wheels/tires outward without dropping anything down lower. Ground clearance remains the same. Lifts increase clearance.

Do I need upgraded brakes with spacers?

For mild street use, the stock brakes usually work fine with 1-2 inches of added track width. For hard off-roading with max width, upgraded brakes help.

Can I install wheel spacers myself?

Absolutely. The bolt-on install takes basic tools and mechanical ability. No permanent modifications needed. Just be careful tightening everything evenly.

How much do wheel spacers cost for a Jeep?

Jeep spacers range from around $70 up to $250 or more per set of 4. Brand, materials, size, and complexity influence cost. Shop sales.

Will spacers damage or wear out my Jeep?

Quality spacers properly matched to your Jeep and installed/maintained right will not cause problems or damage. Cheap spacers can be risky.

Get the Wide Muscular Stance You Want

We hope this wheel spacer guide gives you all the information needed to transform your Jeep’s look and capability. In just an afternoon, you can bolt on spacers for a wider, more aggressive off-road stance.

Jeep wheel spacers range from quick budget upgrades to high-end sets for max clearance. With the right fitment for your Wrangler, Cherokee, or other Jeep, wheel spacers can give you the exact look and performance you want without complex mods.

So check your Jeep’s bolt pattern, measure for ideal spacer thickness, and pick a quality brand. Then get ready to give your Jeep a muscular makeover with the improved traction and style you want for the road and trail. Just be sure to keep up with proper installation and maintenance.

We hope you found this wheel spacer article helpful. Let us know if you have any other questions as you customize your Jeep into the ultimate off-roader. Happy Jeeping!

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