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On machinery installations (pumps, motors, etc.) the recommended practice requires shims under every equipment support foot. This guarantees a flexibility for adjustments, like a slight raising or lowering of a motor, when parts of the machinery need to be replaced.
In automobiles, shims are commonly used to adjust the clearance or space between two parts. For example, shims are inserted into or under bucket tappets to control valve clearances. Clearance is adjusted by changing the thickness of the shim.
In assembly and weld fixtures precision metal shims are used between two parts so that the final production parts are created within the product drawing’s specified tolerances.