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Added Wheel Spacers to my LR AWD - Looks WAY Better!

mmyers300

Member
Apr 7, 2021
21
58
Naperville, Illinois
I have the stock 18" wheels and I used 15mm front, 20mm rear spacers. - Front 2x 15mm Rear 2x 20mm Hub Centric Wheel Spacers fit Tesla Model 3 M14x1.5 | eBay

The car looks so much better! If your car is already lowered and still have the stock wheels, then this is a necessity!

Cons:
  • Bearing wear myth, etc - I don't think this is a valid concern considering that any wheel with a different offset would create the same issue.
  • More weight – 8.5 lbs total. This will slow the car down, but by how much? I ran a few before/after 0-60 and found VERY little difference. They do create more unsprung weight which will make the suspension slower and feel more heavy. The shocks and springs have to do more work to keep the tires in contact with the road over bumpy surfaces. 2+ lbs isn't really much, but every little bit matters. Of course, the stock 18" wheels are only about 21.6 lbs, so it's not a big increase overall. Many aftermarket wheels weigh more than this.
  • Less aerodynamic efficiency? Most likely, but not tested and confirmed.
  • More curb rash? Yes, more possible.
Pros:
  • Again, looks fantastic - I can’t think of one other real benefit to wheel spacers.
  • In theory, the car may handle better because of the increased width, but I’m not sure anyone is really going to notice that.
Install is simple and they are pretty inexpensive (~$200).

There is easily room for another 5mm front and rear.
20210601_202250.jpg


20210601_202110.jpg


If you want more details on install, pics and video of the car, please see the video I made:

My son's friend actually thought I upgraded the wheels!
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
990
776
Prague
Since it's in the driving dynamics forum, I'll comment.
1. When you put a wider wheel you try to stay with the same ET as stock or slightly lower to account for lowered suspension. You roughly doubled your force on wheel bearings by extending arm length. So it will wear faster and get broken faster, no other way.
2. You got air resistance penalty without wider tire benefits.
3. You also changed scrub radius and significantly impacted handling.

If all that doesn't matter - you should make this thread in exterior forum, or whatever it's called.
 

mmyers300

Member
Apr 7, 2021
21
58
Naperville, Illinois
1. People try to get an ET that looks good on their car, not an ET that is the same as stock. And I have never heard anyone complain about their new wheels, with different offset, ruining their bearings. As a matter of fact, I don't know of anyone that has actually said that their bearings were ruined from spacers.
2. Do you know for certain the air resistance is worse?
3. If it was a "significant impact" I can't feel it with mine. I also haven't read or heard anyone comment that they noticed any difference. Of course, I do not race my car, so I'm far from an expert. Do you know of others that have?
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
990
776
Prague
1. People try to get an ET that looks good on their car, not an ET that is the same as stock. And I have never heard anyone complain about their new wheels, with different offset, ruining their bearings. As a matter of fact, I don't know of anyone that has actually said that their bearings were ruined from spacers.
2. Do you know for certain the air resistance is worse?
3. If it was a "significant impact" I can't feel it with mine. I also haven't read or heard anyone comment that they noticed any difference. Of course, I do not race my car, so I'm far from an expert. Do you know of others that have?
1. People don't connect one thing with another. But there are plenty of people who have to change wheel bearings prematurely. Certainly you're not alone who makes car worse for looks. But you posted that in driving dynamics forum.
2. Yes.
3. Usually people can feel a change of steering feel under acceleration and braking. But if you're not into handling in the first place you might not register that as well. You might mistake it for worse road conditions. 20mm spacers change it very noticably.

Again, it's up to you and I'm glad that makes you happy. But it's not an exterior forum.
 
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LoudMusic

Member
Jul 21, 2020
593
685
Arkansas
1. People don't connect one thing with another. But there are plenty of people who have to change wheel bearings prematurely. Certainly you're not alone who makes car worse for looks. But you posted that in driving dynamics forum.
2. Yes.
3. Usually people can feel a change of steering feel under acceleration and braking. But if you're not into handling in the first place you might not register that as well. You might mistake it for worse road conditions. 20mm spacers change it very noticably.

Again, it's up to you and I'm glad that makes you happy. But it's not an exterior forum.

I think it's quite revealing how good Teslas' vehicles perform that people are doing modifications to them that harm their performance just for the sake of looks.
 

mmyers300

Member
Apr 7, 2021
21
58
Naperville, Illinois
1. People don't connect one thing with another. But there are plenty of people who have to change wheel bearings prematurely. Certainly you're not alone who makes car worse for looks. But you posted that in driving dynamics forum.
2. Yes.
3. Usually people can feel a change of steering feel under acceleration and braking. But if you're not into handling in the first place you might not register that as well. You might mistake it for worse road conditions. 20mm spacers change it very noticably.

Again, it's up to you and I'm glad that makes you happy. But it's not an exterior forum.

Thanks for the input - until I can afford new wheels, the pros are outweighing the cons for me.

Driving Dynamics (performance, drivetrain, traction/stability control, brakes, suspension, tires, safety) seemed like the best place, but maybe I'm just not aware of all of the forums - please let me know.
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
990
776
Prague
Thanks for the input - until I can afford new wheels, the pros are outweighing the cons for me.

Driving Dynamics (performance, drivetrain, traction/stability control, brakes, suspension, tires, safety) seemed like the best place, but maybe I'm just not aware of all of the forums - please let me know.
You did nothing wrong. I just explain why I don't comment the looks here, but driving dynamics. It's not the end of the world and wheel bearings are not super expensive. Enjoy.
 
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techlogik

Member
Mar 22, 2021
380
270
FL
Edit: watched video...you say what your mods are...

Will comment on your statement about spacers/weight having some effect. It is nearly impossible to measure on a 4,000lb car that minor amount of weight, due to the location...center of the wheel/hub, that will have any effect on rotational force and reduction of performance.

I'm from the road cycling world, where everything is about weight/drag/wattage/aerodynamics. The rider on a bike makes up 80% of the drag...so, that means the frame/wheels etc...make up the rest.

Wheels are a big drag along with the frame itself. The way they rotate/airflow over the wheel to the forks/frame etc...

Going off into a ditch...but the point being....been proven over and over, weight at the edge of a wheel is a larger problem rather than at the hub. It has been tested/measured over and over....putting 1lb or two on a car/wheel in the center of the wheel is going to have basically ZERO effect.

Aerodynamically has been shown by a vendor already with aftermarket items like spoilers etc...search on here for that info..but minor, but a spoiler on the trunk, you just got back the wheels poking out further....wash.

Good videos though..thanks for posting.

Thx
 
Last edited:

OUengineer

Member
Dec 10, 2019
109
90
Boulder
Eh, seems like a very significant scrub radius change. I wouldn't go more than a few mm myself without knowing what the impact would be. Looks good tho.
 

MODEL+

Vendor
Oct 21, 2020
941
845
Portland, OR
Took a small break...
Come back and we are still arguing about spacers pre-maturely ruining bearings heh?

Can somebody provide PROOF before making all these claims please? and can we specify "premature" wear?
Are we talking the bearings will last 280k rather than 300k miles or are they buckling after 5k miles on the car?

OP, your car looks good btw 👍 that drop works perfectly.


Danny
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
990
776
Prague
Took a small break...
Come back and we are still arguing about spacers pre-maturely ruining bearings heh?

Can somebody provide PROOF before making all these claims please? and can we specify "premature" wear?
Are we talking the bearings will last 280k rather than 300k miles or are they buckling after 5k miles on the car?

OP, your car looks good btw 👍 that drop works perfectly.


Danny
Do you have a proof that significantly increasing forces on a Model 3 wheel bearing doesn't significantly decrease life expectancy of it? It sounds like you're in a complete denial of engineering basics and coincidentally that helps your business.
 
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CorneliusRox

Member
Mar 3, 2021
175
181
MN
Do you have a proof that significantly increasing forces on a Model 3 wheel bearing doesn't significantly decrease life expectancy of it? It sounds like you're in a complete denial of engineering basics and coincidentally that helps your business.
Industry standard is to design hubs for 3X life of the vehicle for a 95th percentile customer and a C90R90 (90% Confidence or 90% Reliability).
Yes moving the mean load out further will increase the moment on the bearing, and increasing load will decrease life proportionally. I'd bet a 20mm spacer will only negatively impact life of the bearings by a small percentage, and like Danny said, it'll likely take you from something like 300k down to 280k.


I agree that these vehicles are validated in their OEM configurations and your best bet at not having any issues is to leave the car 100% stock, but I happily make compromises all the time. Some wheel spacers to look better at the expense of some bearing life seems fair.
 
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MODEL+

Vendor
Oct 21, 2020
941
845
Portland, OR
Do you have a proof that significantly increasing forces on a Model 3 wheel bearing doesn't significantly decrease life expectancy of it? It sounds like you're in a complete denial of engineering basics and coincidentally that helps your business.
Funny enough, wheel spacers have been a top seller for us. We've been sold out of popular sized spacers for weeks now, so there's really no need for me to promote anything.

I was just more curious on how someone who has no proof or experience using wheel spacers can have such strong conviction about them prematurely wearing the wheel bearings.

Guess what else will "prematurely" wear out parts on your car? Driving it hard...
Based off of your profile picture and list of mods in your signature, I can't imagine you're just using your Model 3 for daily commute & driving the speed limit.

Everything is a trade-off. Wheel spacers weren't invented yesterday, they've been around. You'd think by now there would be a large enough sample size to pinpoint the fault of using wheel spacers if there were any.


No need for further discussion on this.

Danny
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
990
776
Prague
Industry standard is to design hubs for 3X life of the vehicle for a 95th percentile customer and a C90R90 (90% Confidence or 90% Reliability).
Yes moving the mean load out further will increase the moment on the bearing, and increasing load will decrease life proportionally. I'd bet a 20mm spacer will only negatively impact life of the bearings by a small percentage, and like Danny said, it'll likely take you from something like 300k down to 280k.


I agree that these vehicles are validated in their OEM configurations and your best bet at not having any issues is to leave the car 100% stock, but I happily make compromises all the time. Some wheel spacers to look better at the expense of some bearing life seems fair.
Thanks. So, if 20mm increase of leverage leads in your calculations to 6.7% decrease of life expectancy, and as you've said it's proportional - that means original distance from wheel center to pivot point was ~ 300mm? Do you feel like that is not true?
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
990
776
Prague
Funny enough, wheel spacers have been a top seller for us. We've been sold out of popular sized spacers for weeks now, so there's really no need for me to promote anything.

I was just more curious on how someone who has no proof or experience using wheel spacers can have such strong conviction about them prematurely wearing the wheel bearings.

Guess what else will "prematurely" wear out parts on your car? Driving it hard...
Based off of your profile picture and list of mods in your signature, I can't imagine you're just using your Model 3 for daily commute & driving the speed limit.

Everything is a trade-off. Wheel spacers weren't invented yesterday, they've been around. You'd think by now there would be a large enough sample size to pinpoint the fault of using wheel spacers if there were any.


No need for further discussion on this.

Danny
So you have no interest in defending your top selling high margin product?

I don't have statistical data. But I don't sell them. The burden of proof is not on me.

And, yes, driving hard shortens life of a car. Significantly. And I'm aware about it.

But your customers are not aware and you obviously want them to stay like that.
 

CorneliusRox

Member
Mar 3, 2021
175
181
MN
Thanks. So, if 20mm increase of leverage leads in your calculations to 6.7% decrease of life expectancy, and as you've said it's proportional - that means original distance from wheel center to pivot point was ~ 300mm? Do you feel like that is not true?
Different companies do it differently, but what I've used in the past is the outside most point of the OEM wheel/tire offering and the mean measured loading during testing (or testing of a similar vehicle to gather equivalent data). But yeah, you've got the right idea.

Some companies that offer vehicles like a Jeep Wrangler will typically canvas their user group and test for 'foreseeable misuse' like 35" tires. Stuff like that. It's really in their best interest to do this and have the vehicle take a BOM cost hit so they strengthen their brand image and attract more customers.
 

CorneliusRox

Member
Mar 3, 2021
175
181
MN
Also, I wanted to come back and let OP know, I think it looks good with the spacers!

Pro-Tip: Instead of using a pry bar to hold the hub, just toss a screwdriver in a slot of the rotor and let it rest on the caliper. It's fast and easy. I do it all the time :)
 

Rothgarr

Member
Apr 15, 2019
872
714
United States
Do you have a proof that significantly increasing forces on a Model 3 wheel bearing doesn't significantly decrease life expectancy of it? It sounds like you're in a complete denial of engineering basics and coincidentally that helps your business.
Wouldn't that mean that changing out the OEM wheels for ones with an offset would do the same thing? Seems like a lot of people on this forum put aftermarket wheels on their Model 3s that are flush with the fenders.
 

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