I am the owner of an auto repair shop where many clients come in to raise their vehicles using lift kits of different kinds.
A lift kit can increase the ground clearance of your vehicle, let you fit larger tires, make for a smoother ride, help with better off-road performance on rough terrains, and more.
But which kind to use?
There are many kinds of lift kits in the market. The most popular ways to raise your vehicle are with spacer lifts and suspension lifts.
What’s the difference between a spacer lift vs. suspension lift?
Both of these kinds of lifts will raise your vehicle and add ground clearance. But a spacer lift doesn’t mess with the ride quality and only raises your vehicle a bit. At the same time, a suspension lift may affect your vehicle’s ride quality while raising it 2 inches to 6 inches from the ground, at least.
Difference Between Spacer Lift Vs. Suspension Lift
There are a lot of differences between a spacer lift and a suspension lift. I’m sure you’re dying to know what makes them so different from one another.
I’ll tell you now!
There are two kinds of spacer lifts you will find in the market. The first type is the strut spacers, and the second type is the coil spring spacers.
Strut spacers are supposed to be fitted on top of the factory struts of your vehicle’s suspension. And aftermarket coil spring spacers sit on top of the coil springs of your suspension.
On the other hand,
A suspension lift kit comes with a lot more components that usually replace the components of your vehicle’s suspension system to add the extra height you want.
These aftermarket suspension components can be new coil springs, upper and lower control arms, shock absorbers, and more.
Unlike strut spacers and coil spring spacers, the components of a suspension lift kit can not only raise the vehicle’s height but can also give the vehicle some additional support.
The position of a spacer lift and a suspension lift is different as they come with completely different types of components.
Usually, you would fit a lift spacer between the upper mounts or the top plate of your vehicle and the coil springs or struts, depending on the type of spacer lift you are using.
Suspension lift position?
A suspension lift kit component is generally installed right between the body and the frame of your vehicle. They need to sit up properly to work for the best outcome.
But with coilover suspension lift kits, they usually sit near the passenger’s seat area and the wheels of your vehicle.
You will find spacer kits either sold separately that are just sets of lift spacers or with added components.
And the cost will vary!
Even though different spacer kits will have different price tags, they are generally cheaper compared to suspension lift kits.
If you want to buy a single set of polyurethane lift spacers to raise the front of your vehicle, you will have to only pay as much as 30 dollars to 5o dollars for them.
Steel lift spacers are more common these days, which will cost you a bit more than the polyurethane ones. But they are much stronger and more durable!
Either way, you might only have to spend under $100 for lift spacers!
But if you want to lift both the front and rear of your vehicle with two sets of steel coil spring lift spacers, you might have to pay around $150 for them.
There’s a but!
As I’ve mentioned earlier, some spacer lift kits come with other components, such as sway bar links, necessary hardware, and other parts.
For these kinds of spacer lift kits, you might have to pay as much as 200 dollars to 300 dollars as well.
They’re still more affordable than suspension lift kits!
If you want to install a suspension lift kit on your vehicle to raise the ground clearance more, you might have to spend around $200 to $2000, depending on the type of suspension lift kit.
For a good suspension lift kit with components like new coil springs, control arms, different types of brackets, hardware, shock absorbers, and other parts, you would need to pay around $200 to $1000.
Depends on the parts!
However, if you want a coilover suspension lift kit to add a few inches to your vehicle, you will have to pay a lot more.
They will easily cost around $800 to $2000!
Yes, there are way more expensive suspension lifts you could get for your vehicle.
These are basically custom-made suspension lift kits that replace all the suspension components of your vehicle to add the desired amount of height.
They can cost around $2000 to $5000 or more, depending on the organization you seek out for the job.
If you want to get a spacer lift installed on your vehicle, it’s going to be so easy for you that you can do it all by yourself without the help of a professional.
All you need to do is just place your lift spacers on your factory strut or coil spring assembly, and you’re done.
On the contrary,
Installing a suspension lift kit on your vehicle requires a bit more work compared to a spacer lift kit.
This is because you have to install new suspension components, like the coil springs, control arms, and shock absorbers.
You have to use jacks, and safety stands to raise your vehicle, get under it, remove the stock suspension part, nuts, and bolts, and then install the kit components.
So it is much easier to install a spacer lift kit vs. suspension lift kit!
A lift spacer can be compared to a plate or block of steel or polyurethane seated on top of a strut or a coil spring assembly.
This is why they are only going to add a bit of height to your vehicle!
The amount of lift height two sets of lift spacers provide is not more than about 1 inch to 2.75 inches.
Suspension lift does more!
A suspension lift kit uses aftermarket suspension components that are longer in size to alter the geometry and height of your vehicle.
This is why they can provide your vehicle with a lift height of 2 inches to 6 inches, at the least!
And this is because a spacer lift only depends on the already installed factory components designed not to offer more height than a suspension lift kit.
Whereas a suspension lift can increase your vehicle’s height by a lot because of the longer and more stable components that you have to install.
As a spacer lift does not offer much-added height or lift to your vehicle, it will not add as much ground clearance as a suspension lift would.
Strut lift spacers only add some height to the struts of your vehicle’s suspension to increase its ground clearance a bit by sitting between parts like the leaf springs or strut towers.
And coil spring spacers add ground clearance by being seated on top of the coil springs of your suspension.
They do not increase the spacer in between the underbody of your vehicle and the surface level as a suspension lift does.
Suspension lift kit components will raise your entire vehicle from the ground to add extra ground clearance between the underbody and the ground.
This added ground clearance would help your vehicle avoid most of the bumps and other kinds of obstacles on-road and off-road easily.
You can even have exciting off-road adventures with the ground clearance a suspension lift would give your vehicle.
Both strut lift spacers and coil spring lift spacers work on the already installed factory struts or coil spring assemblies.
This is why they do not alter the geometry of your vehicle or change the way you would handle or steer it, keeping the ride quality intact.
At the same time,
A suspension lift kit easily affects the ride quality of your vehicle.
After installing a suspension lift kit on your vehicle, the new components added to your suspension will change the center of your vehicle’s gravity.
Because of this, the geometry of your vehicle will be altered, and the ride quality will be affected, like handling and steering.
There are some brands of suspension lift kits that claim your ride quality will be intact after installation.
This can be because of all the modifications this kind of suspension lift kit is capable of to keep the geometry intact.
You need to make sure that your vehicle’s specific model and the lift kit you are installing are compatible with one another.
If you can’t ensure this, your might have to face issues like the lift kit not fitting on your vehicle or wearing out your suspension.
Here’s the thing!
A spacer lift kit is compatible with most suspension systems, while a suspension lift kit needs to be specifically designed for a vehicle’s model.
This is why you should research thoroughly before you make the purchase of any kind of suspension lift kit.
Lift kits can easily affect the gas mileage of your vehicle as the added weight of the installation of extra components can reduce the mileage.
A spacer lift is usually more lightweight than a full suspension lift, as a suspension lift kit comes with more components that are generally heavier.
So a suspension lift will reduce your vehicle’s gas mileage more compared to a spacer lift kit ever would.
If you want a better off-road performance after lifting your vehicle, a suspension lift is more likely to give you so.
Suspension lift kits are created for the purpose of riding through tough terrain smoother while giving your vehicle more traction control, ground clearance, suspension travel, and articulation you need for this kind of off-road performance.
But a spacer lift kit will not be able to provide you this much ability to perform on off-road terrains like a suspension lift would.
The more ground clearance your vehicle gets, the more space the wheel wells will have to fit larger tires.
As a spacer lift can’t add much ground clearance compared to a suspension lift, they will not let you be able to fit as big tires as a suspension lift would.
There’s a huge difference between a spacer lift and a suspension lift when we talk about the durability of these lifts.
Usually, a suspension lift kit is much more durable compared to a spacer lift kit, as they are manufactured in a way that they will resist a lot of stress from riding both on-road and off-road.
Besides that fact,
And when it comes to strut lift spacers, they tend to wear out much faster than even coil spring lift spacers would.
This is because they do not have enough support or are not durable enough to do the heavy lifting you need on off-rad terrains.
However, I suggest you install your lift kit properly, no matter which one you end up choosing, as this can determine a lot of things.
When it comes to the maintenance aspect of lift kits, a spacer lift is much easier to keep up with, as they need less worth compared to suspension lifts.
You can easily take out or reinstall lift spacers without making much change to your vehicle’s performance.
And you won’t even have to spend much for this kind of spacer lifts maintenance, either. You can just replace the spacers after a few months of usage!
When you have a suspension lift kit installed on your vehicle, you might have to get a lot of work done for its maintenance.
You might have to replace components, such as bushings, shock absorbers, or other components, to keep the kit performing well.
The difference between a spacer lift vs. suspension lift is vast. Which one you want to be installed depends on what kind of performance you want.
I would suggest you get a spacer lift if you’re a beginner. But if you want extreme off-road performance, a suspension lift is better.