How to Solve Steering Wheel Vibration Caused by Wheel Spacers

Ryan Dong - Writer; Automobile Expertise |

You need to know this: There is nearly no direct relationship between the vibration of your vehicle and the installed wheel spacers, as long as the material is reliable, the design is professional, the machining is accurate-----they just simply increase the car's sensitivity to pre-existing problems. In other words, these vibrations may already exist in your vehicle after long-time use. But these problems are amplified and exposed after the installation of wheel spacers.

However, there may also be problems with the technology of the wheel spacer itself (low-quality material, rough machining, wrong design). Once you have determined that there is a problem with the product, please do not continue to use it. You should seek the help of a car modification shop or after-sales service. So for the sake of quality and after-sales guarantee, we strongly recommend you choose the brand which is regular and professional enough.

 wheel spacers

Causes of abnormal vibration

First of all, you need to check the wheel spacers you purchased: Are all sides machined flat? (KSP spacer 100% CNC precision machined with beautiful slight CD lines) Are there any pits caused by bump? Is the length of the exposed bolts on the spacer same? Is each bolt perpendicular to the spacer? And is the thickness of each wheel spacer the same? (The thickness of each KSP spacer varies within 0.1mm)

The vehicle has already suffered a slight vibration and the problem is amplified by the installation of the wheel spacers. The direct effect of the wheel spacer is to increase the wheelbase of the vehicle.

 wheel spacers

You could basically understand it like this: the ET of the wheel is reduced by the installation of the wheel spacer. The leverage will be amplified due to the increase of the wheelbase, allowing the vehicle to feedback any problem more aggressively. So the vibration will be amplified to some extent.

Those who are regularly involved in car modifications may understand this: some states that were previously at a critical point threshold are often breached by some certain changes. This may be a subtle explanation, but it has been proven in our long history of solving after-sales problems for our customers -----Customers often attribute the vibration problem to the wheel spacers. They tends to be angry and make complaints or ask for returns. However, the fact is that these wheel spacers do not have any quality or specification problems after our repeated research and verification. What’s more, the accuracy and quality of our products are in the leading edge compared to most of the products in the market. We even conducted a test by putting the customer's returned wheel spacers on another same model car, but there was no vibration occurred.

Vehicle is a complex whole. It is not comprehensive enough to analyze a component in isolation. If you still feel an abnormal vibration after installing the wheel spacers correctly, then you should pay attention to the working condition of the other components.

 wheel spacers and wheel adapters

Irregular installation of a wheel spacer

We hope you have read the installation instructions carefully before you drive the car into the workshop or install it by yourself. Look at wheel spacers installation manual. Most of the vibration problems are caused by incorrect installation.

It includes:

A. The mounting surface of the hub, wheel spacer and wheel was not cleaned before the installation. There may exist rust, sand and gravel or glue residue. This will result in an uneven installation.

B. The lug nuts are not fixed with the standard technique. We emphasize: always fix the lug nuts in the order in which the pentagrams are drawn, or diagonally, regardless of whether you are fitting a hub or a wheel spacers, never stack wheel spacers. This is important!

C. The wheel spacers and hub are not fixed again after a period of driving. We recommend that re-torque all lug nuts after 50-100 miles of driving ,then again after 2000-3000 miles.

D. In view of the particularity of different vehicles, sometimes the stock bolt may stick out the plane of the wheel spacer. But there is no hollow on the wheel left for those extra bolts (often happens on aftermarket wheels). The bolts need to be cut then. Slight protrusions can not be easily noticed. But it will cause the vibration during the driving if the wheel spacers and the hub are not tight.

wheel spacers installation

Mental Influence

It’s very normal that most people are anxious about their modified vehicles. But as long as there is no vibration problem with your stock car, a wheel spacer will have absolutely no impact on the driving experience! These minor changes will basically have no affect on your driving comfort. Instead, you could enjoy the enhanced handling and smoothness of the ride.

 hub centric wheel spacers

Solutions of abnormal vibration

Some autonomous checks

  • Check if the wheels are out of round due to knocks.
  • Check the abrasion condition of the tyres.
  • Check that no objects such as steel nails are embedded in the wheel.

However, we are not asking you to solve the problem on your own here, but at least we can have a preliminary judgement and understanding of the situation. Only in this way, could you better describe your problem to your mechanics when they are working with vibration problem.

Uneven tie wear----Wheel Alignment

The wheels、steering system and the front&rear axles are mounted at relative positions which are settled by the manufacturer. The adjustment and restoration of these relative positions is called a four-wheel alignment. After the vibration has occurred, please check the tread pattern of the tyre. Tyres which have been experiencing uneven forces for a long time will show an unevenly worn tread pattern.

new wheels and aftermarket wheels

This situation usually occurs when chassis components have been disassembled or the vehicle has been involved in a collision. There are bolt patterns in the vehicle suspension which are used to adjust angles. However, the bolts may loosen slightly after a long period of driving, causing a slight change in the angle. These changes can lead to problems such as drifting of the vehicle's direction and uneven tire wear. Some spacers can be used to shift from one wheel bolt pattern to another as well as for spacing.

If the problem is not corrected in time, such an offset can be magnified even more rapidly by the increase of wheelbase. What’s more, an uneven wear also tends to affect the balance of the wheels and wear out chassis components.

Some chassis parts, such as low control arms, up control arms and camber arms could also cause slight vibration if they are deformed by a collision. These vibration will be amplified after the installation of wheel spacers.

Vibration at high speed -  wheel dynamic balance

Attention: If the vibration comes after the installation of the wheel spacer, please fix the wheel spacer to the hub first and perform a dynamic balance test on the whole before installing it.

After reaching a certain speed, the steering wheel may shaking like a nightmare. Sometimes it shakes so violently that you can't even grip it. The wheels will inevitably have an uneven distribution of mass due to manufacture, abrasion, and tyre repair, etc. When the wheels is rotating at a high speed, a state of dynamic imbalance will occur. This may cause wheel&steering wheel vibration.

billet aluminum and billet specialties

To avoid this phenomenon, it is necessary to add counterweights to the custom wheels and factory wheels in dynamic situations. In this way, the balance of the various edge parts of the wheel is corrected. This correction process is called dynamic balancing. A half-ounce difference in weight is enough to cause vibrations when driving. This deviation will be amplified after the installation of hub centric wheel spacers.

Notice: We recommend that the wheel spacers be fixed to the hub first and do a wheel balance as a whole before installing if it is determined that the shaking is not caused by other components.

When solving the problem of steering wheel vibration at high speeds, wheel dynamic balance and alignment are the tests which must be considered, but they are not absolutely. For example, the engine vibration can also cause the same vibration of the steering wheel and body. Aging and damage of engine mounts are also the common causes of vibration. However, it often occurs only at a certain speed.

To ensure the driving safety and comfort, it’s necessary for us to carry out a thorough inspection to eradicate the problem.


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