There are a few different kinds of lift kits that you can use to raise your truck. Spacer lift kits, also known as body lift kits, differ from suspension lift kits in terms of what they do and the effects they have on your truck. But are they good and worth it?
Spacer lift kits are good, but only if you want to raise your vehicle a few inches for aesthetic purposes and do not care about off-road performance of increased ground clearance. It is the cheapest and easiest way to raise your truck without interfering with the ride quality.
In this article, we will discuss what spacer lift kits are, what they do, why you may want them, and whether they are worth it. If you would like to learn more, continue reading.
Pros of Spacer Lift Kits
- They are pretty easy to install. Suspension lift kits tend to be more difficult to install. This makes spacer lift kits better if you are looking for a DIY project.
- It takes less time to install a spacer lift kit than a suspension lift kit.
- If you are going to the mechanic to install your spacer lift kit, it will not cost as much as it would to pay a mechanic to install a suspension lift kit.
- You don’t have to buy new shocks as you will not alter the suspension of your vehicle.
- They are usually less expensive, allowing you to raise the height of your truck without having to spend a lot of money.
- Unlike leveling kits, spacer lift kits actually raise both sides of the vehicle as opposed to only raising the front side.
- Spacer lift kits are generally designed so that they do not interfere with the factory ride quality. This is unlike suspension lift kits, which do alter the suspension and ride.
- Raising your vehicle will make it look cooler.
- You will be able to have a better view of the road while you drive, allowing you to see what other drivers are doing, spot obstacles, and stay safe.
- It requires less maintenance and upkeep than a suspension lift kit.
- You can install taller tires.
Cons of Spacer Lift Kits
- They have a limit. Suspension lift kits allow you to raise your truck even higher than body lift kits do. Usually, spacer lift kits only allow you to raise your truck by a few inches.
- They do not give your truck more ground clearance. If your goal with installing a lift kit is to improve your suspension and increase your ground clearance for a better off-road experience, spacer lift kits simply will not affect that.
- Not only does it not improve the suspension, but it can also negatively affect the way your truck drives due to creating a higher center of gravity.
- Installing a lift kit may void your warranty. However, it may also not. Many times, in order for a warranty to be voided, the manufacturer must prove that an aftermarket installation contributed to the negative performance of the vehicle.
- You may end up having a gap between the body of your vehicle and the frame due to the raised body. However, this can be covered to make your vehicle look better aesthetically.
Here is a great video on the pros and cons of spacer lift kits:
Should You Get a Spacer Lift Kit?
This really depends on what your goals are for raising your vehicle. In this section, we will talk about common reasons for wanting a lift kit and whether getting a spacer lift kit helps you or not.
You Want a Higher Vehicle for Aesthetic Purposes
If your sole purpose for raising your vehicle is because it looks better aesthetically, a spacer lift kit might be for you. Since you don’t care about altering the performance of your vehicle, you don’t need the more expensive and more complicated suspension lift kit. A spacer lift kit simply raises the body of your vehicle without changing the suspension. As such, it will serve your purposes.
In other words, if you want your truck to look cooler but you don’t need extra ground clearance to improve your off-road performance, you can use a spacer lift kit.
There is one aesthetic downside of a spacer kit, however. Depending on how much you raise the body of your vehicle, there may be an apparent gap between the body and the frame of the vehicle. This can seem unsightly, which can interfere with the aesthetic improvement of your vehicle. However, this can be fixed by installing plastic or metal gap guards that cover those gaps.
You Are on a Budget
Spacer lift kits are generally less expensive than suspension lift kits. This is because suspension lift kits need more parts as they need to raise the suspension of your vehicle. On the other hand, a spacer lift kit needs fewer components, including spacers, bolts, and brackets.
If you want your truck to look cool, but you don’t have the money to buy a high-quality suspension lift kit and pay a mechanic to install it (assuming you do not know how to install a suspension lift kit yourself or do not have the time), you would be better off getting a spacer lift kit.
You Want a DIY Project
If you are a beginner who is getting started with doing aftermarket work on your truck and you are looking for an easy DIY project, spacer lift kits are the better choice. This is because suspension lift kits are much more complicated and difficult to install.
If you have more experience working with your truck and the right tools to install a suspension lift kit, go ahead and get one. But be aware that it is more complicated and takes a lot longer.
For a DIY project, body lift kits are definitely better. You may need to take your truck to a mechanic to install a suspension lift kit, but spacer lift kits can often be installed in your own garage.
You Don’t Want to Affect Ride Quality
If you specifically do not want to alter the ride quality of your vehicle, spacer lift kits are the way to go. Body lift kits do alter the ride quality of your vehicle, but spacer lift kits are generally designed not to.
However, this does not guarantee that your vehicle will ride exactly the same or that you will not notice any differences. You will obviously be seated higher up from the ground, and your center of gravity will have changed.
A higher center of gravity means that your truck will be less stable. If your truck is less stable, it will be more likely to tip or roll over when you make a sharp turn, especially if the truck is loaded with cargo.
However, a spacer lift kit will definitely affect the center of gravity, much less than a suspension lift kit would. This is because a suspension lift kit raises the suspension, too, so more of your vehicle is being raised. While every kind of lift kit that raises your vehicle will alter your center of gravity somewhat, the difference can be huge.
A suspension lift kit can raise 90 percent of your vehicle’s weight. This is because it is raising not only the body of your vehicle but also your frame, engine, drivetrain, suspension, etc. The only parts that are not being raised with suspension lift kits are the tires, wheels, axles, etc.
On the other hand, a spacer lift kit will not raise the engine or the drivetrain. The frame will remain where it is, and the body will be raised above the frame a few extra inches. The body actually only accounts for 20 percent or so of your total vehicle weight, so your center of gravity will be affected much less than if you would install a suspension lift kit.
As such, your ride will be a lot more stable, and you will be at a much lower risk of tipping over.
You Are Afraid of Voiding Your Warranty
There is no guarantee that you won’t (or will) void your warranty by installing a spacer lift kit. However, many warranties state that aftermarket changes and installations need to have contributed to the malfunction of your vehicle for your warranty to be voided. Just installing an aftermarket part will not necessarily void your warranty.
However, you are more likely to void your warranty by installing a suspension lift. This is because it changes the ride of your vehicle, and the manufacturer will have an easier time claiming that this change is what caused the vehicle to malfunction and that if you had left the drive as is, nothing would have happened. You can still void your warranty with a spacer lift kit, but the risk is a little less.
You Want a Few Inches of Increased Height
If you only need a few inches of increased height, a spacer lift kit is perfect. This is especially true if you are looking for an increased height for a street-driven vehicle. Since you will be driving your vehicle on the street, you probably do not need the extra suspension lift that you might need if you were driving your vehicle off-road.
Why You May Not Want a Spacer Lift Kit
On the other hand, there are a few reasons why you may not want a spacer lift kit. Everything has its downsides and disadvantages, and a spacer lift kit is no different. Let’s go through some downsides of a spacer lift kit or more accurately, why you would not want one.
You Want to Increase Ground Clearance
While you can install taller tires with a body/spacer lift kit, you don’t really give yourself more ground clearance. As such, if you are looking to increase your ground clearance to improve your off-road driving performance, you would be better off getting a suspension lift kit. While a body lift kit lifts the body of your vehicle, it will not improve your suspension at all.
A taller suspension allows your truck to travel more easily over bumps without getting ruined. It will make your ride a lot smoother, and you won’t feel the bumps in your body as much as if you had kept your suspension the same.
In other words, if you want to increase the performance and ride of your vehicle, or if you want to alter the drivetrain, a suspension lift kit is the way to go.
You Want to Increase Load Capacity
If you want to increase the load capacity of your truck, it would be better to get a suspension lift kit as opposed to a spacer lift kit. A lot of suspension lift kits come with heavy-duty springs, which work to keep the body of your truck and the load it is carrying from becoming too heavy for the suspension and weighing it down.
If you want to increase load capacity and prevent your truck’s load from weighing down the suspension and interfering with your ground clearance, a suspension lift kit is the way to go.
You Want More Than a Few Inches of Lift
One of the biggest disadvantages of spacer lift kits is that you are usually limited in terms of how high you can lift your truck. This is usually just a few inches. Since the frame, engine, and suspension will not be lifted, there is a limit as to how high the body can be from the frame. Not only that, but the higher you lift it, the more unsightly it will look due to the gap, which you can cover with gap guards.
On the other hand, since suspension lift kits do raise the suspension of the vehicle as well, you can raise your vehicle higher. This is usually up to nine inches. However, you have to make sure that you are following all local regulations regarding vehicle height, as there may be laws regarding how high your vehicle can be.
You Want to Level Your Truck
You may have noticed that the back part of your truck is a bit higher than the front part. Most trucks are made this way to accommodate the load on the back of the truck. By keeping the back part a bit higher, it will end up being even with the front part when loaded with cargo.
However, if you want to level your truck and bring the front part up to the height of the back part, you should get a leveling kit instead of a spacer lift kit. A leveling kit is like a suspension lift kit but only for the front part of your vehicle. It does raise the suspension of your vehicle and give you more ground clearance, but that is limited as it only raises the front part to be level with the back part.
You may want a leveling kit if you do not use your truck to carry cargo and would like to make it even for aesthetic purposes.
You Want to Lower Your Truck
There are actually lowering kits that will lower your truck if you want to. The benefits of lowering your truck include a lower center of gravity, giving your vehicle a better connection with the road and a more stable drive.
You Don’t Want Any Gaps
If you do not want to get the gaps that come with a spacer lift kit, you can install a suspension lift kit instead. However, even if you install a spacer lift kit, you can install gap guards to close and cover that gap.
You Don’t Want to Decrease Gas Mileage
Raising your truck will automatically decrease your gas mileage, though a spacer lift kit won’t do that as much as a suspension lift kit. Since you will be adding more weight to your vehicle, you will use more gas to cover the same distance. Also, since your truck will be higher, there will be more wind resistance, requiring more gas.
However, since a spacer lift kit does not have as many components as a suspension lift kit and does not raise the vehicle as much, it doesn’t decrease gas mileage to the same extent.
Other Cons of Lift Kits
There are a few other disadvantages of installing any lift kit, regardless of whether it is a spacer lift or a suspension lift kit. For example, with any lift kit, you will be raising your truck’s center of gravity.
Another thing that you might want to consider is the ease of getting into your vehicle. If you raise your truck, your kids may have a hard time climbing in and out of your vehicle, so if you use it for daily transportation, it might not be very convenient.
Spacer lift kits are worth it, but that really depends on what you are looking for. If you want to improve your driving performance, it is not for you. However, if you just want to raise your vehicle in the easiest and cheapest manner, it is a great choice.
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