In my Tesla Customization series, I’ve covered the lowering springs vs. coilovers topic, published a post on the top-rated rims for Model 3, and a round-up on the best wheel accessories.
So, I decided to create this Tesla Model 3 wheel spacers guide. A resource that I hope will help you learn all you need to make an informed decision.
Once you get familiar with the information here, make sure you check my list of recommendations. It includes a variety of different brands and spacer sizes.
What’s in the Model 3 Wheel Spacers Guide?
Whether you’re looking for that aggressive appearance or a slight improvement to your Tesla’s handling, wheel spacers could be the right addition for you.
In this guide, I’ll cover the different types, how to choose the correct spacers, and some fitment tips so you can get the most out of this modification.
Why Use Spacers on Your Model 3
I bought wheel spacers to fine-tune my car’s appearance and street performance. Some Tesla Model 3 owners are combining it with other upgrades to achieve better performance on the track.
Correct the Offset
You can correct the offset of your Model 3’s wheels by adding wheel spacers. The offset is the distance between the hub mounting surface and the centerline of the wheel. If the offset is not ideal, it might cause the rims to sit too far inside the wheel wells.
When my man AJ was preparing his RUINED Model 3 Performance for SEMA, he didn’t know how wide he could go. He installed wheels with less aggressive specs and mounted spacers to achieve the right offset.
Spacers can provide additional clearance between the wheels and the suspension components. In some cases, your Model 3 wheels might not have enough clearance, causing them to rub against the suspension components when turning.
Understanding Wheel Spacers
Wheel spacers are rings, usually made from steel or forged aluminum. They are installed between the hub and the vehicle’s wheel. Adding a spacer lets you position your wheel & tire where you want them to be, achieving the desired offset.
You can improve handling and stability and get a wider stance with both custom or OEM wheels. Even a combination of spacers and a set of nice wheel covers will have a significant impact on your Tesla’s appearance.
Types of Wheel Spacers
Whether you drive a Tesla or want to modify any street car, two main types of spacers are available to choose from. A slip-on and a bolt-on, which you can purchase as a pair. So what’s the difference? Let’s look at that real quick.
Slip-on spacers are designed to fit over the existing studs on your vehicle. They are typically easier to install and mainly for road use. Being thin in size, these are used by Model 3 owners who like to keep their car appearance close to stock.
Bolt-on spacers are more secure as they are bolted directly onto the hub and do not rely on the existing studs for support. Available in a range of thicknesses, this type of spacer can provide additional clearance for upgrades like Model 3 big brake kits.
Regardless of the thickness, you should purchase spacers designed specifically for Model 3. The spacer must match your factory wheel specs: 5×114.3 bolt pattern and 64.1 center bore.
Model 3 Spacer Fitment Tips
Selecting the right thickness for your wheel spacers is crucial to achieving the desired effect on your Tesla Model 3. It’s always good to be aware of what matters, especially if you own a Performance Model.
Your wheel & tire diameter, the width of your wheels, if you drive a lowered Model 3 or will be lowering it in the future, whether you run staggered wheels, aim for a flush fitment, etc. These are all factors to consider when looking at thicknesses.
While I can’t recommend the right spacer for your vehicle, I can give you some examples that you can use with no fitment issues. The table below shows spacers that can be installed with factory wheels on stock and lowered Model 3.
|18×8.5″ +40 offset||15-20mm||20-25mm|
|19×8.5″ +40 offset||10-15mm||15-20mm|
|20×8.5″ +35 offset||10-15mm||15-20mm|
|20×9″ +34 offset||5-10mm||10-15mm|
These are just a few examples that will work fine on your car. You’ll definitely notice a difference, but those spacer sizes won’t achieve the most aggressive stance.
There is a wide range of wheel spacers with different thicknesses for Model 3. These are sold as a pair, often with different sizes for the front and rear wheels.
Here is a video showing what you need to measure to ensure a particular spacer fits. This is very important for Performance Model 3 owners as Tesla changed the molds of its Uberturbine wheels after 2021.
When buying wheel spacers for your Tesla, look at the product application. Some spacers will fit all Model 3 trims, while others won’t work on the Performance Model.
Installing the Spacers
Installing wheel spacers on your Tesla is quite easy for car guys who like DIY upgrades, but I thought this quick guide might be helpful to some. Get your socket set, wrenches, and jack stands ready, and let’s dive into it.
Prepare Your Car
Park your Tesla Model 3 on a level surface. Use a jack to lift it and secure it on jack stands. Remove the wheel with your lug wrench.
Clean the Mounting Surface
Use a wire brush or sandpaper to clean the hub and wheel mounting surface. Make sure that there is no rust, debris, or dirt left on it.
Install the Spacer
Place the spacer over the hub and align it with the holes. Secure it onto the hub. Tighten the bolts to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specifications.
Check for Clearance
Repeat the above steps for every corner and put your wheels back on. Check if the wheels rub against both the front and rear fender, brakes, or suspension components.
Go for a Ride
After lowering the car and re-tightening the lug nuts, go for a drive. If there are no vibrations, congratulations. You’ve done a great job!
Wheel Spacers FAQ
As always, I’ll try to answer some more common questions related to the topic at the end of my article. If you want to know more about Model 3 wheel fitment, check out my comprehensive guide. Let’s look at some FAQs.
Are Wheel Spacers Safe for Model 3?
Wheel spacers can be a safe and cost-effective way to achieve flush fitment without changing your Model 3 factory wheel width. Just be sure to buy spacers designed for your trim level and follow manufacturer installation instructions.
Choosing the appropriate thickness and size of spacers for your intended use is important. Keep in mind that not all Model 3 spacers will work if you own a Performance Model because of the hub stepped lip.
Do Wheel Spacers Affect Model 3 Handling?
Yes, spacers can affect the handling of the Tesla Model 3. They push the wheels outwards, creating a wider stance. This can improve the handling and stability by improving the cornering grip.
Spacers are an affordable modification to enhance your fitment and increase track width. But note that if you buy a low-quality product or don’t perform proper installation, you can ruin your Tesla’s geometry and negatively impact handling.