If you’re ready to shake up your daily driving experience, why not take your truck or SUV from mundane to impressive? With a Lift Kit, you can adjust shocks and struts for superior handling performance with included coil springs and control arms.
Alternatively, you could opt for the Spacer Kit for a hassle-free transformation. Installed via spacers and hardware, this cost-effective choice will give you a higher vehicle height in no time.
Despite the fact that they both increase height, they have some differences in terms of suspension modifications, customization possibilities, and installation expertise.
So choose wisely for an extra-long ride with improved performance down the line. Let’s uncover the mysteries of lift kits and spacers and dig deep to reveal what really sets them apart.
Difference Between a Lift Kit Vs Spacers
As we know, when you’re looking to give your car an extra boost, there are two main options: lift kits and spacers. Both increase the height of your ride with different methods that bring their own capabilities.
Lift kits and spacers differ in the following ways:
Height Increase Capabilities
Lift kits are generally more effective than spacers when it comes to height increase capability. Spacers raise the vehicle’s body off the frame by a few millimeters or up to three inches. If you just need a slight increase in ride height without making any major modifications, then spacers may be sufficient for your needs.
Lift kits usually raise a car 2 to 4 inches and can go up to 6 to 8 inches, depending on the vehicle. They work by altering not just the coil spring pad but also shock absorbers, axles, and CV joints, providing more stability at higher heights than just spacers alone.
Spacers do not modify your suspension’s spring rates or sizes. They simply change the spring pad’s height. So while they can create some additional space between your tires and wheel wells, helping improve stability on uneven terrain or when carrying heavier loads.
A coil spacer generally doesn’t provide any performance gains like stiffer shocks or improved handling that come with a proper suspension lift kit.
Alternatively, lift kits replace worn-out factory components with aftermarket ones designed for off-roading or hauling heavy loads that need more support. As lift kits modify suspension components, they can provide more overall suspension protection when driving at higher heights.
One major perk of training with a lift kit is that it gives you more freedom when customizing your vehicle’s look and style. You can mix and match different pieces from multiple manufacturers for even greater flexibility when creating unique designs for your car or truck.
Lift kits also allow you to add larger wheels if desired, which further increases its appearance and performance capabilities off-road.
With spacer lifts, this is not possible. Since you cannot alter either the size or type of components used to accommodate bigger wheels without compromising safety on rough terrain.
Regarding off-roading, both lifts and spacer lifts offer advantages depending on what kind of terrain you’re heading into. Overall it’s usually better to go with a full suspension lift kit than just using a spacer lift if you plan on doing some serious off-roading with your vehicle.
Since they are designed specifically for such activities, they offer superior traction control over harsher terrains than just installing a spacer lift.
They also provide improved ground clearance which helps reduce the chances of rocks getting stuck under your car. As well as improving visibility when tackling difficult obstacles like steep inclines or declines. On lower ride heights, obstacles like bushes and nearby trees may make it hard to see.
Installing either type of system is no easy task, as both require significant mechanical knowledge. While spacers take less time since they don’t require replacing entire parts like shock absorbers or axles with bigger ones like a complete lift kit installation would.
Aside from that, any customizations required with spacers can often be done easily. While any changes necessary for installing a complete lift kit will likely require professional assistance if you aren’t an experienced mechanic yourself.
Both spacers and lift kits will wear over time. But since they serve different purposes, their lifespan also varies greatly depending on usage conditions, such as frequency of off-road use or extended trips in harsh weather conditions.
Generally speaking, you’ll likely get longer lifespans out of lift kits. Due to their ability to handle greater stress levels compared to those exerted on spacers. Which are only slightly raising your car’s body off the frame rails in most cases.
Generally speaking, lifts can be more expensive compared to spaces as they involve replacing parts. While spacing only requires additional pieces, making them the cheaper option for truck enthusiasts looking to increase their ride’s height.
When it comes to lifting or spacing a car, the cost varies greatly depending on the type of vehicle. This is because different parts are needed for each model. For example, the components required for a particular project may differ drastically when upgrading a car’s online marketplace locations.
The variance in costs associated with different models highlights the importance of doing research beforehand to find the most economical solution.
How Do Lift Kits vs Spacers Lift Impact the Appearance Of a Vehicle?
From the above discussion, it is clear that lift kits and spacers offer a range of customization options when upgrading the look of your vehicle. But a lift kit will provide a more significant, noticeable change to the appearance of a vehicle than spacers.
A lift kit will raise a vehicle’s entire suspension and body frame, making it look higher off the ground and giving it a powerful stance. Using a lift kit, you can also adjust the height of the various components of your suspension system for an even greater effect.
On the other hand, a spacer lift only raises the height of one component of your suspension by a limited amount. This can make your vehicle look slightly higher up but won’t give it anywhere near as dramatic an effect as a full-on lift kit.
Aside from this, with a spacer lift, there is no flexibility to adjust the heights to get that perfect look. You’re stuck with whatever height you’ve chosen with the initial installation.
What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Lift Kits And Spacers?
One of the leading misconceptions about lift kits and spacer lifts is that they both do the same thing. While they do share some similarities, they are two completely different products.
As mentioned above, lift kits involve a series of modifications to your vehicle’s suspension system, typically including springs and shocks, to increase ride height and clear larger tires. Spacer lifts are designed to fit between existing components in your suspension system.
Similarly, another misconception is that lift kits and spacers are easy to install. In reality, these modifications require certain technical knowledge and expertise to be done correctly. Improper installation can create an unsafe situation for you and your vehicle.
There’s also an assumption about lift kits and spacers that they will improve performance. Neither product is designed specifically for performance enhancement, although improved gearing or other modifications may result from adding either product to your vehicle.
Probably the biggest misconception about lift kits and spacers is that they are interchangeable. While both are used to raise a vehicle, they actually have very different functions and should not be used interchangeably.
Why Do People Choose to Install a Lift Kit?
People typically install a lift kit to gain more stability when driving over off-road terrain and increase ground clearance. A lift kit also allows larger wheels and tires to be installed on the vehicle, providing better performance and handling when navigating rough roads.
This can also help improve the vehicle’s overall look by raising the body up, giving it a more aggressive or sporty appearance. Also, installing a lift kit can help with off-road suspension tuning, reducing body roll and improving articulation during cornering.
Ultimately, a lift kit is perfect for vehicle owners who want to take their ride off-road and experience improved performance with greater stability.
When Do People Choose Spacers?
People often choose spacer lifts when they need additional clearance for larger tires or to make room for suspension upgrades like coilovers or shock absorbers. Spacers are also popular for getting a slightly higher ride height without the need for a full lift kit.
This is especially attractive since it requires only minimal installation time and costs significantly less than a lift kit. Spacers offer an easy and affordable way to gain some extra clearance and an improved stance when going off-road while preserving the stock ride quality.
Also, spacer kits can be designed to fit almost any vehicle, making them a great choice for budget-minded enthusiasts who still want quality results.
How Can You Add Spacers to a Lift Kit?
For off-roaders, adding extra height with a lift kit can be the difference between conquering that next gnarly hill or getting stuck in the mud. But if even more clearance is needed to tackle tougher trails? Just add some spacers, and you’re ready for anything.
To do this correctly, follow these steps:
Step 1: Jack Up the Vehicle
The first step in adding spacers to a lift kit is to safely jack up the vehicle using an automotive floor jack and safety stands. Ensure the vehicle’s weight is evenly distributed on both sides before you raise it off the ground.
Take care not to place any body panels under stress while lifting, as they can be easily damaged. You can also measure the previous suspension height to use as a reference once the spacers are installed.
Step 2: Remove the Wheels and Tires
Once your vehicle has been safely jacked up, you must remove all four wheels and tires from your car or SUV to properly access all its components. Check for debris around each wheel well before you remove it so that nothing gets caught in it when you remove it.
Be sure to safely store all your wheels and tires since you will need them again later.
Step 3: Remove the Existing Shock Absorber
Before proceeding with adding spacers, you must remove the existing shock absorber from each wheel well to access all of its components properly. Using an appropriate wrench or socket set, remove each shock absorber nut one at a time until all four have been removed.
You might find it easier to get into tight places with wrenches rather than sockets, like behind brake calipers and around control arms.
Step 4: Install the Spacer
Next, insert each spacer into its designated spot by lining up holes on either side with those in your existing shocks’ mounting bracketry. Securely attach each one using self-tapping screws if needed before moving on to reinstalling your shocks once more testing has been completed (see below).
Note that some vehicles may require additional hardware, such as studs or nuts, so consider that when installing your spacers.
Step 5: Reinstall the Shock Absorber
When both sides of your spacer are in place, it is time to reinstall each shock absorber back into its mount. Start by lining up one end of each shock absorber with its respective mount, then slowly push them into place until they’re seated (be careful not to pinch wires or hoses).
Finish reinstalling each shock absorber by screwing in both bolts. Hand tightens first before using an appropriate socket wrench for final tightening. Making sure that there is no excess play when finished doing so.
Step 6: Reinstall the Wheels and Tires
After ensuring that everything has been tightened down properly & no loose parts remain, begin reinstalling wheels & tires back onto the location priorly mentioned above. When installing, make sure you tighten the lugs down, and the balance and alignment settings are considered.
Also, double-check lug nuts for tightness after reinstalling the tire assembly, as previously stated above.
Step 7: Lower The Vehicle And Test Drive
Now that everything has been installed correctly, lower your vehicle off its jack stand slowly and steadily until resting firmly on the ground. To ensure the engine starts up safely during unfamiliar spacer’s body lift installations like this, run it around a flat open road nearby before starting it.
Spacer Mistakes People Make When Adding Them to Lift Kits
If you’re planning to install a suspension lift kit on your vehicle, it’s essential to ensure you don’t make any mistakes when adding spacers. Adding spacers incorrectly can cause serious damage to your vehicle and could even be dangerous.
These are some common mistakes people often make:
Not taking measurements: When installing spacers, it’s essential to take proper measurements of both the spacer and the area where it is intended for installation. This helps ensure the strut spacer fits correctly and does not interfere with other kit components or create clearance issues afterward.
Neglecting proper torque ratings: Properly torquing nuts and bolts is key when installing spacers into a lift kit. As they hold critical components together and keep them secure while in use. Not tightening them correctly can cause vibrations or bumps on the road to loosen them, causing serious safety concerns.
Not Checking Compatibility: One of the most common mistakes people make when installing suspension lift kit spacers is not checking the compatibility between the spacer and their vehicle first. Before you begin installing the spacer, confirm that it fits your wheel size and is compatible with your vehicle.
Choosing The Wrong Spacer Thickness: Another mistake people often make is choosing a spacer lift kit thickness that isn’t appropriate for their vehicle or their desired lift height. If you choose a too-thick or thin spacer, your wheels will be positioned differently, and your driving experience will be crappy.
Forgetting To Grease Bolts & Threads: Grease the bolts and threads of each bolt before installing a spacer lift on your car’s wheel hub. This helps prevent corrosion and makes removal much easier in the future if necessary. Not doing this can lead to seized bolts that will be hard to remove without damaging them.
Ignoring Wheel Alignment Requirements: You should always check whether your vehicle has any alignment requirements after installing any spacer’s body lift kit. Following installation, you might have to adjust camber settings to ensure they’re safe and meet local road regulations.
How Much Lift Does Coil Spacers Kit Add?
Coil spacers are a simple, cost-effective way to add lift to your vehicle. Generally, they work by sitting on top of the existing coil spring and adding 2 – 2.5 inches in height from the ground. The extra height lets you fit bigger tires and other accessories that require more space underneath.
The amount of body lift provided by coil spacers is often described as “moderate” since the amount of actual suspension travel is not significantly affected. Despite that, coil spacers can make a noticeable difference in visual appeal compared to stock ride height and increase off-road performance.
Aside from that, coil spacers can be combined with other aftermarket products, like shocks and struts, for even more suspension travel.
What Effect Do Suspension Spacers Have on Handling?
Suspension spacers can have a significant effect on the handling of a vehicle. These spacers alter the geometry of the suspension and how it interacts with the other suspension components. Different suspension geometry can affect how well a vehicle handles under different conditions.
For example, bigger spacers will result in more negative camber, which can reduce grip at corners, while smaller spacers will increase positive camber, improving turning stability. A suspension spacer lift can also change the ride height, air spring rate, and camber angles.
Increasing either of these can make a vehicle feel less responsive or stable when going over bumps and curbs. Also, installing them incorrectly or not having enough knowledge about their fitment could lead to increased vibration or an unstable ride due to improper alignment or geometry.
Overall, suspension lift kit spacers should be installed properly with appropriate knowledge to ensure that they do not negatively impact handling.
Can Spacers Affect the Vehicle’s Fuel Efficiency?
Spacers will not affect a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. This is because when spacers are used to push the wheels outwards and increase the track width of the car, they do not disrupt airflow around the vehicle and therefore have no negative effect on MPG.
Properly installed wheel spacers may slightly improve fuel economy due to increased stability and more evenly balanced weight distribution. However, this difference would be minimal at best.
Also, using larger-diameter wheels and selecting the right tire size can improve fuel economy. This reduces the rolling resistance while keeping a proper tire diameter.
In What Size Spacer is Safe to Run?
When it comes to wheel spacers, the most important factor when determining what size of a spacer is safe to run is the width of the wheel. The general rule of thumb for wheel spacers is that the width should not exceed 10% of the overall wheel width.
Therefore, running a 2-inch wheel spacer on a vehicle with wheels measuring 20 inches or less in width would be safe. It is also important to note that when running larger wheel spacers, such as those measuring 2 inches and above. Since the hub and rim are farther apart, you’ll need extended lug nuts or studs.
This ensures that they remain securely fastened. When choosing your spacers, it’s best to choose high-quality materials like forged aluminum or steel alloy, which will help reduce vibration on rougher roads and trails.
It is also best practice to have an alignment check done after installing new wheel spacers and check all mounting hardware regularly once installed.
Unlock Your Ride’s Potential: Lift Kits vs. Spacers
If you’re looking to elevate your drive, there’s no one-stop solution. Whether you choose a lift kit or spacers depends largely on your individual needs. Lift kits are great if you want increased off-road capability, customization options, suspension modification, and a longer lifespan.
Spacer lifts can help if you need quick installation and don’t want to spend too much money. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which option offers the best value for money based on what features are important to you.
With this information in hand, we hope you’ve found the perfect product for your vehicle and that it helps make all your off-roading dreams come true.