The Ford Focus is one of the most popular compact vehicles in the world. People really like its small dimensions and usable interior space, but the Focus is mostly praised for its handling. Thanks to the great chassis dynamics and agility, the Focus line-up consists of models like the ST and RS, both of which are favorites with enthusiasts worldwide.
Because of that, the Focus is very popular with the tuning community and there are a lot of parts available that can make it go even faster and feel better behind the wheel. One of the easiest and cheapest upgrades you can make to your Focus are wheel spacers.
Why do you need a wheel spacer?
To understand why do you need a wheel spacer, you must first understand what it does. Wheel spacers are simple parts that are installed between the wheel and the hub, and they push the wheel outward. They are often used with aftermarket wheels, because most of them are either not the same shape as the stock ones, or are wider. In both cases, wheel spacers are a must so that the rims don’t touch the inside of the wheel well. Wheel spacers can also be used when you want to install bigger brakes inside.
Other than that, a lot of Ford Focus owners install them because they want the vehicle to look better, with a wider stance. This is true even with the stock wheels. The wider stance means that the vehicle will also have a wider track, which improves the handling and stability at higher speeds, even though the effect is pretty small. That is unless you go overboard with the thickness.
Very thick wheel spacers can change the suspension geometry and introduce more tire wear and reduced bearing life. You can also experience that you need more steering effort as a driver, and stability under braking.
What kind of wheel spacers to buy for the Ford Focus?
Regardless of the vehicle, we recommend installing high-quality wheel spacers, made from reputable manufacturers. The second advice is to install hubcentric wheel spacers. These fit the hub much better and help greatly with safety and stability. Normal wheel spacers, on the other hand, can introduce vibrations while driving, which can be very dangerous. Hubcentric wheel spacers also carry the weight by themselves, while other types put the weight of the vehicle on the bolts.
That one is easy though – you may have a much bigger problem determining the right thickness of the spacer. We suggest going with 10mm spacers because it will almost universally fit any vehicle, including the Focus. If you want to go wider than that, you might use washers on the lug nuts to measure how much thickness you need. Just add the length of all washers and you’ll get the thickness of the spacer.
How to install wheel spacers on the Focus?
Installing wheel spacers on any vehicle is a pretty easy process, and the same can be said for the Focus. Of course, you’ll need jack and jack stands, and the equipment needed to remove the wheels on your vehicle. We recommend doing this in a garage, but any hard and level surface can do the job just fine. Then, just follow these simple instructions:
- Unscrew the lug nuts slightly while the vehicle is on the floor. Use the parking brake for your advantage
- Jack up either the front or rear end of the vehicle. Only work on one set of tires at a time. Use jack stands for better safety
- Unscrew the lug nuts completely and remove the wheel
- Place the spacer directly on the hub and make sure they are flush
- Tighten the spacer using the supplied nuts and the original studs using a star pattern.
- The studs should not protrude the spacer – if they do, consider shorter spacers
- Put the wheels back on and fasten the lug nuts
- Drive several miles to see if the wheel spacers are the right thickness. Drive for an additional 100 miles and then retighten the nuts on the spacers