John Brett

John is a professional engineer with 50 years experience.

John has designed and built many cars, trucks, and vehicle assembly facilities.

John has worked on design of roads, bridges, cranes, transmission towers, and buildings, and operation, maintenance and upgrade of hydro and gas turbine power stations.

John was a LVV Certifier for 13 years. John has long been a whistle-blower, expressing the view that the LVV system is dangerously deficient. John's authority was revoked in December 2012.

John rides a 1992 Yamaha FJ1200ABS, and is also a keen road and off road cyclist.

APOLOGY

“The LVVTA has brought it to my attention that statements I have made in relation to it and its employees may have been perceived as defamatory.

I sincerely regret that and apologise for any harm caused. I have taken down the statements identified by the LVVTA of concern to it.

I have strong views about the low volume vehicle certification process and intend in the future to direct my energies into the public inquiry now being held in relation to it.”

John Brett 7th October 2015

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Wheel Spacers FAQ’s

Wheel Spacers are the subject we are most common asked about.
The rules are all on the LVVTA website in the Wheels and Tyre Standard 2005-00

Adaptors

Non-Legal spacers

WHEELS MUST BE CENTRALISED ON HUB

SPACERS need to be ‘Hub Centric’ and ‘Wheel-Centric’, or a centering ring has to be made to centralise the wheel and the spacer.
This means in practice, that wheel spacers will need to be custom-made to suit the specific vehicle and wheel combination.
Also you will probably need to fit longer wheel studs to keep the required thread engagement of the nuts.

ADAPTORS are Centered on the hub by the tapered nuts hulding them onto the hub. The wheel is then Centered on the adaptor by the tapered nuts holding the wheel on.
Centering spigots for the adaptor or the wheel are not required. (See LVV Standard 2005-00)

ADAPTORS MUST BE STRONG ENOUGH NOT TO FAIL

The LVV Standard says that adaptors ‘are manufactured by someone competent and experienced in the type of work undertaken, who has the necessary equipment to carry out the manufacturing correctly’
We do not know many people in Japan, or China, and find this clause to be unhelpful.
Instead we:-

1 Do a material hardness test to determine the likely material. Most adaptors are T6 Aluminium Alloy, which has a hardness of 40 to 45 Rockwell C. We do NOT want to accidentally certify any adaptors made of soft alloy, zinc castings or shite metal!!

2 Do a simple stress calculation (using a spreadsheet template) to determine the shear stress between the bolts, and the shear under the bolt head. The adaptor should be equal in strength to the wheel studs. We find that adaptors THINNER than about 12mm are usually over-stressed.

THICKNESS
Spacers are not permitted to be more than 20 mm
Adaptors are not permitted to be more than 27 mm,
Most adaptors are to compensate for wheels with wrong offset offset, (not to effect a change in stud pattern).

WHY IT MATTERS!!
Wheels flying off can kill people (it has happened more than once)
Wheels flying off can make controlling the vehicle a tad tricky, especially since it is likely to happen under hard cornering.
People getting killed is clearly to be avoided- as is getting sent to jail for manslaughter.
THIS IS WHY ALL SPACERS AND ADAPTORS REQUIRE LVV CERTIFICATION

Failed Wheel Adaptor

Failed Wheel Adaptor

THIS IS WHY WE HAVE BEEN CHECKING THE MATERIAL COMPOSITION OF ALL ADAPTORS FOR 10 YEARS

Additional information-
Tyre and rim sizes-
The LVVTA compatibilty chart can be found here

This is based on the best information available at the time the chart was written- however a Tyre manufacturers reccomendation takes preference- so check with the tyre manufacturer if you want to use a combination outside these guidelines.

Hope this clears up any confusion, and helps you to get it right before going for your Cert.

158 comments to Wheel Spacers FAQ’s

  • matt

    Hi i am fitting a hilux diff to my escort which requires the changing of the pcd from 5×114.3 to 4x 108 what are the laws on this? i am not running adaptor plates so do i need to have a positive hub locator ring fitted. standard escort or hilux do not have this fitted factory on the rear axle. Also what are the laws on widenend steel rims are they legal if done by a professional?
    many thanks.
    Matt Henderson

  • johnbrett

    Hi Matt- to change the PCD why not re-drill the Hilux hubs? If not, you could make an adaptor plate. Either way, the tapered wheel nuts centre the wheel adequately, and tapered nuts centre an adaptor to the hub.
    Widened steel wheels are ‘legal’, the standard says “-by someonewho is suitably competent and experienced in the wheel manufacturing or modification industry” Hope this helps, John

  • Aurelian

    Hi there, i need for my celica gt4 2 wheel spacers for front wheels, 15mm. Can u tell me the price for them?
    Cheers.

  • johnbrett

    I don’t sell parts, sorry. Check with us before you buy though, lot of rubbish out there!

  • Hayden

    Are there certain brands or companies you would recommend that are 100% safe to use?

    My purpose is to save my tyres from inner wear. (Car has recently been lowered)

    I own an EG6 honda civic hatchback on superlow king springs.

  • johnbrett

    The first thing is that you are going to need a LVV Cert
    Secondly, your wheel alignment has to be reasonable- too much negative camber will give you inner wear.
    Check your camber against factory specs. If it is too much, you might have the car too low.
    For Nissans there are adjustable Camber arms, not sure if they make them for Honda Civics. These will bring excessive negative camber back to standard.
    I see that they are making the Police into roadside WOF inspectors now- some think they are roadside LVV Certifiers too! Watch out!

  • Craig

    Hi

    Ummm… how many people have been killed in New Zealand because of spacer failure? And what are the rules if you a buying a new car where, as an option, you can select spacers from the factory as an option?

    Thanks
    Craig

  • johnbrett

    If a new car offered spacers as a factory option, they would have been tested by the manufacturer to the same standards as the rest of the car. I don’t know of any myself.
    If a dealer is fitting them aftermarket, they would need to go through the LVV system.
    As to “how many people have been killed in New Zealand because of spacer failure?” who would keep those sort of statistics? We have all seen what happens when wheels come off, and know the reasons why. As Engineers, the deal is that you prevent the accident from happening, not wait until you have a body count.

  • Craig

    Porsche offer spacers as part of their options list. Re your glib comment re wheels coming off, body count and who would keep those sort of statistics? Exactly, because its not a real risk. Outside of race events, I’m not sure I can remember such an event and if you look at the states where they have no certification rules for spacers, people aren’t dying in the streets.

  • johnbrett

    Porche have a range of “Adaptors” to go with specific wheels. I have Certified a few Porches with aftermarket set-ups on them. Adaptors have the risk of failure if they are too thin, or the material is sub-standard, or the design faulty. Spacers need to be hub-centric and wheel-centric, also have long enough wheel studs, or wheels WILL come off, and DO come off, and on the roads.
    In the United States the Lawyers make lots of money suing people for injury and death- which is what would happen to you if a wheel came off and caused an accident. In NZ we don’t have that right to sue, it all falls to the ACC to pay.
    If you want to argue about the need for LVV Certification, you should come out and see some of the dangerous stuff that we are presented with regularly- and if you want to argue about injuries and deaths, you should talk to the people who have to clean up the mess. For every DEATH, there are hundreds of INJURY accidents, people who lose parts of their bodies etc.

  • Jade

    Hi I have recently widened a set of 14×5 steel wheels buy drilling out the spot welds putting the centres into new 14×8 barrels. I have plug welded them the the subsequent holes and also stitched the back of them. Do they need to be certified?

  • Richard

    Why is max spacing 20mm, yet adapter max 27mm? Makes no sense…

  • Richard

    Also if I have 27mm billet T6061 Ali spacers with magnesium hardened lug nuts and extended studs that are actually lighter with a custom race wheel than the stock wheel, where is the logic that an adaptor is ok at 27mm, but not these spacers at 27mm?? The only difference is I am retaining stock bolt pattern… Or am I missing something and being thick?

  • johnbrett

    I’m afraid so

  • johnbrett

    Unfortunately these are the LVV Standards that we have to work to- as Certifiers we don’t get a say. Many of the LVV Standards are clearly wrong, dangerous, and miss out the really important stuff. You would need to take this up with the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association

  • steak nz

    hi my car has been certified for 17 by 8 rims. I want to put on 17 by 7 rims now. surely I wont have to get recerted will I? will I be denied for a wof? thanks

  • johnbrett

    According to the words from the Low Volume technical Association it DOES need to be Certified again! On the other hand, it should be OK according to the WOF rules! You could phone the LVVTA on 04 2384343

  • Rodney

    Hi there… Recently purchased some 20×10 rims which at this stage look
    Like they might be a bit too wide. In hindsight could have possibly gone to 20x 9.5. Is there any way to remedy the 20×10 rim to give a little bit more extra space between the chassis and inner side of tyre/rim?? Thank you

  • johnbrett

    You could consider spacers or adaptors to set the wheel out further from the hub. These are a huge wheel- would need to be on a big car with enough wheelarch space. Unless the car is a 4WD you will need a very low profile tyre. Take care not to fit ‘stretched’ tyres, because they would not get a WOF or a LVV Cert. Hope this helps

  • Rodney

    Thanks John for your quick response… It’s going on a 65 impala.. Hope that’s big enough .. Ha ha

  • Ethan

    im fitting adapters to my car but when you put them on the old stud still pokes through meaning the wheel wont sit on the hub but it will be on the old studs… am i able to cut the old studs off flush with the face of the adapter or do i need to get a small hole drilled into the rear of the wheel for the old studs to sit in.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Ethan- usually the studs are cut shorter. Make sure that the adaptor nuts have full thread engagement. Also check that the wheel will fit over the adaptor nuts. Don’t modify the wheel in any way- any modification could possibly result in fatigue cracks in the wheel. Hope this helps- John

  • Ethan

    so from what your saying im allowed to cut the end off the original stud that pokes out through the adapter?

  • johnbrett

    Yes- but remember you won’t be able to go back to standard wheels with the short studs!

  • Blair

    Hi there
    I have put some smaller wheels on my super custom van but they wouldn’t fit over the centre hub on the front so I have put some 25mm adapters all round which also didn’t fit on the front so the shop I brought them off lathed out the centre of the adaptor to fit. Is this ok an does it need to have a low volume cert???

  • johnbrett

    Hi Blair- it is going to need a Low Volume Cert. There is no easy answer, I would need to look at it to see what is a problem, and what is OK. Phone me on 0800 569865 (that’s 0800 LOWVOLUME)

  • Tom

    Hi im fitting some wheel spacers 2 my tx3. It allready has a cert for suspension, how much would it cost to get wheel spacers added to it?

  • johnbrett

    Its going to need a full cert- we might be able to get the LVV Plate cheaper from LVVTA, best to phone us
    Tell me about the spacers to save problems

  • Michael Chainey

    Hi there, i brought a set of 25mm spacers the other day as my new tyres/mags hit the shocks, so i need the spacers to provide more room on the inside. Can you give me a rough figure of how much this will cost me to get all 4 of them certified?

  • johnbrett

    Hi Micheal- You would need to phone us to discuss a price. More important is whether they would be able to be passed. Phone us on 0800 569865 that’s 0800 LOWVOLUME

  • rod

    i have bought 3mm spacers to fit some 300c srt8 wheels 20x 9 ET27 to my std 300c which takes a 18 x 7.5 ET24 other wise the inner rim will touch the susp strut. are there any other issues that i need to think about re the stud/bolts etc. and obviously i need a lvv cert?

  • johnbrett

    I think we have discussed this- the spacers need to meet the LVV requirements, which include wheel centering, spacer retention, thread engagement etc, and they will need LVV Certification. A better plan is to look for wheels that don’t need spacers. Regards John

  • Dennis

    Can I fit alloy wheels with a hub centre of 56.1 to a car with a hub centre of 57.1

  • johnbrett

    Hi Dennis- are you saying that the hole in the wheel is smaller than the centre of the hub? If it is, the wheel would not fit over, would not fit. Perhaps you could phone us on 0800 LOWVOLUME, (0800 569865) Regards John

  • Ben

    Hi there,

    Im looking at putting 15 or 20mm wheel spacers on a 2004 350rx Stagea, do you know how much it would cost for a LV cert, and do you recommend a particular set of wheel spacers? Or do you know of a genuine factory option for this make and model that i could just order to fit?
    If you could respond to email as i have a few questions reg your answer to any of these questions

    Cheers.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Ben- There are no factory adaptors or spacers for this model. You should explore the option of using wheels with the offset you require so you don’t need a Cert. Adaptors are a critical safety item and there do not seem to be any manufacturer standards,it is very possible that there are some unsafe items out there. We do a thorough inspection to determine material, and stress. I recommend you phone us on 0800 569865 to discuss further. regards, John

  • Tony

    Hi we have a Honda logo with 15″ mags and 5mm spacers to prevent tyre rub, however I would like to fit larger profile tyres and potentially they might be slightly wider. If I fitted 20mm wheel adaptors do I need to get a cert?. I did hear that if the adapter was welded to the mag, that I wouldn’t have to get a cert.

    Thanks
    Tony.

  • johnbrett

    Hi Tony- Spacers and adaptors ALWAYS need a LVV Cert- there’s a lot can go wrong! Don’t do any aftermarket welding onto an alloy wheel- you will destroy the temper of the alloy and the wheel will be scrap. Hope this helps. John

  • Jared

    Hi i have a 94 toyota supra and running big brake setup of toyota 4 pot front and 2 pot rear and running a 9.5″ wheel ( tyre 245/40/18 ) on the front offset is +22 & 10.5″ wheel ( 265/35/18 ) on the rear the problem is these do not clear the 4 pots on the front. If i put on spacers ( minimum 15mm ) if will push the wheel out further but what i want to know is how far is the wheel allowed to be outside the body?

  • johnbrett

    Hi Jared
    I would use ADAPTORS not spacers, but make sure that they are made of T6 alloy. The TYRE TREAD has to be covered, to stop road spray from going upwards, but the sidewall and rim can be outside the guard. I haven’t checked tyre to rim compatibility- but those tyre sizes seem too small for the rim width- you should check this by the tyre manufacturer’s chart. All of this will need LVV Certifying- don’t wait until you get n infringement notice! Hope this helps- regards John

  • Jared

    Hi John

    Thanks for your quick reply. Sorry they are adaptors not spacers my mistake, The adaptors are hub centric and are CNC machined aluminium T6-6061. I only went on what was under the lvv chart http://www.lvvta.org.nz/documents/infosheets/LVVTA_Info_01-2009_V2_Tyre_Size_to_Wheel_Size_Compatibility_Guide.pdf . Will check to see if tyre tread is covered thanks.

  • Corey

    Hi John,
    I am planning on putting wheel spacers on my rear wheels. If I get some Spacers (below 10mm) that are hub centric and put hub centring rings over the top to fit my wheels is that legal? or will I have to get some spacers custom made to integrate the change in size from hub to wheel? Thanks in advance

  • johnbrett

    Hi Corey- The main object is to centralize the wheel to the hub- and a centering ring should achieve this. Hope this helps- John

  • Jared

    Hi John 1 other question if i used a spacer of 8mm ( universal ) made out of t6 alloy and bought and fitted longer wheel studs to compensate would this be up to lvv certifying standard? If not why? Thanks.

  • Daniel

    Hi
    I have a mr2aw11 stock pcd of 4×100 and want to change the pattern to 4×114.3. I do not want to go down the track of ‘hub adaptors’ but rather redrill the hubs+rotors to the new pcd of 4×114.3. After doing a bit of research online it looks this cannot be possible due to the stock aw11 hubs not having a large enough diameter to accomodate for the wider stud pattern.I was just wondering if you would know any shop/engineer that could make custom hubs? Or is there any other options around this. Any information would be greatly appreciated thank you.

  • johnbrett

    Making custom hubs is likely to be expensive- I would have thought that making adaptors would have been easier.
    For an Engineering company, I can recommend Prescott Engineering, in Prescott street Penrose, Ph 09 5797424
    Hope this helps- John

  • G

    hey john im going to put OEM 19″x8 et40 5×100 replica a8 wheels on my 2001 black audi tt quattro 4×4 1.8t which has an et35 and will need spacers 10mm all round im in wellington can you point me in the right direction to get some or some made? or brands that meet requirements would help alot thanks

  • johnbrett

    These look fine. I always check the material with a hardness test. The material specified is here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2024_aluminium_alloy, at least 200 Mpa max tensile strength. I also check stress loadings between the holes and under the bolt heads. If they come with a copy of TUV approval, this covers all of this. (I worry about the spacers /adaptors from unknown source, made from shite metal- I hope nobody accidentaly certifies them!)

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