Body Lift vs. Suspension Lift: What's the Difference?
Adding a body lift or suspension lift to your vehicle is common practice, particularly for off-roading vehicles. When you want to navigate rough terrain, a lift system is your best bet for tackling rocky surfaces while protecting your vehicle. But what's the difference between a body lift and a suspension lift? Each system offers pros and cons, and the choice you make depends on your preferred style and capabilities.
Keep reading to learn more about body lifts vs. suspension lifts.
What Is a Body Lift?
A body lift works by raising the body of a vehicle, using spacers to lift it above the frame. These spacers are placed underneath the cab, adding height to your vehicle. Note that you can purchase body lift kits with different heights, but you can't adjust the height otherwise. Therefore, if you ever want to change how your body lift looks, you'll likely have to replace it.
Compared to suspension lifts, adding a body lift to your vehicle is the simpler way of giving height to your vehicle. The variety of body lift kits you'll find are between two and five inches, so you can choose between a decent amount of heights for your system. One of the key benefits is that body lifts don't affect how you drive your vehicle or the vehicle's performance.
Here are some additional benefits you can experience from using a body lift on their vehicle:
- Easy installation
- Allows for the installation of larger tires
- Lower price than installing a suspension lift
- Can use in conjunction with a suspension lift
The cons of using a body lift on your vehicle include:
- Can create an unappealing gap between the frame and body of the vehicle
- Creates an additional strain on parts of the vehicle
- Doesn't increase the performance of the vehicle
- Doesn't aid the vehicle in off-road conditions, potentially making it a challenge for trucks to drive over terrain
Generally speaking, body lifts are a good choice if you're working on a budget and don't go off-roading often. Additionally, if you already have a suspension lift installed, you can add a body lift to it. That said, a body kit can only lift a car a few inches off the ground, so you won't be able to navigate particularly trick terrain.
What Is a Suspension Lift?
Instead of lifting only the frame, suspension lifts boost the entire body and parts of the vehicle. These kits allow for a significantly more dramatic lift, sometimes up to even 18 inches. The main reason suspension lifts are the more popular choice with truck owners is because they give more ground clearance.
This capability makes it safe for the driver to drive on a variety of terrains without causing damage to the vehicle. The main downside is that installing a suspension lift requires more modification to the vehicle, and in turn, is harder to build.
Here are the overall benefits of using a suspension lift:
- Allows for higher lift compared to a body lift
- Allows for the extra space to install bigger tires
- Causes less wear and tear
- Has more kit options available
- Makes it safer for vehicles to drive on rough terrains because they're less at risk of damaging the underbody
- Absorbs the resistance between the tires and the road, making handling the vehicle easier
The disadvantages of using a suspension lift:
- Affects what it feels like to drive your vehicle
- Most suspension lift kits and options cost more than body lift kits
- Drivers will need to complete a wheel alignment
- The installation process is more difficult
- Puts the driver at a higher risk of rolling over with raised height
- Drivers may need to update other systems in their vehicle
Ultimately, suspension lifts are the better option for you if you have more extensive technical knowledge about cars, are going to regularly take your vehicle on rough terrains and have a larger budget. Keep in mind that to install a suspension lift system, you may have to first update other parts of your vehicle to accommodate it. These systems require more caution when operating the car, as well.
Choosing the Right Lift Method
When choosing the best lift system for your car, you'll want to consider factors including your budget, purpose and experience level. As stated previously, both systems have their ups and downs, so it all comes down to personal preference and needs. Here's an in-depth look at each factor so you can figure out the right option for you:
1. Cost Expectations
Considering body lift vs. suspension lift prices, you'll find that body lifts are more inexpensive. The steps to install a body lift on your car are straightforward, as you don't have to make many alterations. If you're looking for a simple way to boost your vehicle's height without spending too much money, a body lift will likely be the better choice.
2. Off-Roading Purposes
If you're planning on going off-roading several times a week, choose a suspension lift to install on your vehicle. These lifts are better for your vehicle overall and greatly decrease the odds of you damaging the underbody of your vehicle or yourself by using wider tires that can handle tricky terrain. The only risk is that the vehicle may be more susceptible to rolling over if you're not cautious.
3. Experience Level
If you're a beginner at modifying vehicles and plan to install the lift yourself, the better option would be to use a body lift. That's because installing a suspension lift is more time-intensive and challenging. Additionally, adding a suspension lift to a vehicle can require you to install other parts on the vehicle. This process can get complicated, so it's best to choose a body lift if you're installing it DIY.
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