Stability and Easier Handling: Upgrading Your Polaris ATV with Wheel Spacers

Polaris is a household name when it comes to ATVs. The company is the biggest player in the power sports sector, accounting for almost half the ATV, UTV, and side-by-side sales in the US alone. Take snowmobiles (and how it all started), snow bikes, as well as a range of high-performance boats, and you’ll see why so many have Polaris at the top of their shopping list. I won’t delve into the stuff for the US military, but you get the picture: high-powered, capable, reliable, customisable and tough vehicles built for any application and setting.

With high volume comes a brimming aftermarket. Specifically for ATV and UTV models that garnered a cult following: the RZR and Sportsman for high-speed off-roading thrills, the Ranger for work, and the General to get the most out of hunting and camping. Other models past and present (the Xplorer, Scrambler, Magnum, Outlaw, etc.) still hold up with basic replacement parts readily available and are a great entry point into the ATV world when money is tight.

Upgrading these vehicles for more power or better handling is easy too. When you’re thinking of slapping on bigger tires or going with tire chains to make easy work of the snow, you’ll need to consider wheel spacers. You’ll find Polaris ATV wheel spacers in varying thicknesses, but all add more stability for tougher terrain and sharp turns, and build confidence in kids and ATV novices taking their first ride.

What Do Wheel Spacers Do?

What Do Wheel Spacers Do

Spacers are the easiest and cheapest way to widen your vehicle. They can go on the front, rear, or both axles and also complement longer A-arms or longer axles. The main goal is to widen the track, and this can be between half and a full three inches at any wheel, so you’ll be looking at up to a whole 6 inches. The wider track means safer and easier riding through all sorts of terrain and gives any Polaris a meaner look, not that any of them are lacking here.

Why Install Spacers on Your Machine?

Tire Clearance

There are quite a few reasons why spacers help on any Polaris ATV. Tire clearance is one, where you’ll be going with more pronounced threads of mud tires or going with bigger wheel and tire combos, and using tire chains.

Chains, in particular, will be hard to gel with the rest of the bike, and you’ll see them contesting for space with mufflers at the back or brake lines and fenders front and rear. The few extra inches on either side mean chains will be easier to get on or off, and won’t scrape critical parts.

In this respect, you can install spacers in medium thicknesses, usually between 1 and 2 inches. This means you still retain the steering feel, and won’t cause premature wear in wheel bearings, joints, and axles due to the higher loads.

Stability and Safety

The wider stance of the quad bike means a bigger footprint, and weight distributed over a larger area. So, when you hit obstacles at speed, like the occasional tree root or rock, the vehicle is less likely to tip over. Without spacers, quad bikes and side-by-sides will have a harder time tackling inclines and larger gradients or safely negotiating downhill runs with the throttle full out. These are the benefits for more demanding off-road trails and rides, but where ATVS are street legal, you’ll see more poise and control on asphalt or pavements too.


There’s no us discussing tastes, but with spacers on all fours and bigger and meaner tires, your Polaris gets the looks it deserves. The more aggressive and wider stance goes well with any Polaris model, maybe more so with any model of the ultra-popular RZR.


As mentioned above, spacers are the least costly way to improve your ride and increase safety. You can get spacers and matching lug bolts on all fours for a little over 100 dollars, but assuming most riders put them either on the rear or the front only, a pair is especially cheap when you factor in all the mods and other parts to get a similar result.

This means savings in longer axles, bigger rims, or control arms, at least on one axle if you start to get picky. Spacers are also parts that are easier to install, meaning you get them on for those special rides when you need to and have them stored when you don’t.

There are a few cons, but they are negligible at most if you get the spacers in the right thickness. A wider ATV often means changes to how the steering reacts, which you need to get used to. More concerning is the wear that axles, joints, and parts like power steering pumps go through since they’re subjected to higher forces while doing the same job. This is something to think about if you’re going with three-inch spacers on either side, but less so in moderate mods. Lastly, a bigger and wider vehicle may be harder to get through tighter spaces, such as dense forests.

What to Get 

PCD and Bolt/Lug Layouts

Compatibility is key to any vehicle part. For wheel spacers, look at the bolt and lug arrangement, or the PCD (the distance between the centerline of two opposing bolts or studs), so that the bolts line up with the wheel hub perfectly. Most Polaris machines have a four-bolt layout, but three- and five-bolt types aren’t uncommon in other brands. Also, keep in mind bolt diameters, usually at 3/8 of an inch, and bolt lengths, hovering around 1 inch for most spacers.


How far do you need the wheels to go? The thickness of spacers can be anywhere between a minute half inch (that still brings handling benefits over stock) to a whole 3 inches for the most demanding uses. Most riders, though, choose spacers of 1, 1.5 or 2 inches in thickness, and these should be good on varying terrain where you need the extra stability.

Materials and Build

High-grade aluminium alloys are what most spacers are made of, and they provide the required durability. Look for slightly pricier billet aluminium spacers if weight or outright strength is also an issue.

Other materials are a fair bit pricier but will outlast aluminium variants with more strength, better heat resistance, and less wear. Titanium and wheel spacers in composite materials also look a bit better, if style is your main goal. Also, pay attention to bolts and lugs, and heat-treated steel is the entry point to keep things tight.

Wrapping Up

Spacers are worthy additions to any Polaris machine. They get you a wider stance, allowing for bigger tires or tire chains, more stability in turns and on different terrains, and a bit more style, so rides are more enjoyable as well as safer. And they’re an inexpensive mod, considering the price of all other parts. When shopping, look for spacers that fit the bolt arrangement on the wheel hubs, choose the ride thickness for your riding style, and get quality and well-made spacers in the right materials to ensure they deliver on multiple fronts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *