Vehicle lifts help gain an increased ground clearance and aid towards a better off-road experience. WheelZine does a body lift vs. suspension lift analysis, and reviews the two techniques to determine the benefits both have to offer.
In case you wish to install bigger tires, consider the desired tire size including their diameter, width, and rim offset, when choosing a lift kit as per your needs.
Your passion for off-roading would tempt you to explore muddy, rocky, snowy, and all sorts of earthly terrains. However, it’s very important to tune your vehicle in order to adapt to such unsurfaced paths. One essential tweak that every off-roader must implement is increasing the ground clearance of his/her vehicle.
Increasing the ground clearance enables one to install bigger tires, and also helps prevent the tires from rubbing against the inside of the fenders on rocky and extremely uneven terrains. Body or suspension lift are two methods that can help you achieve an increased ground clearance; however, both techniques have their own pros and cons.
Take a look at a comparison between the body lift and suspension lift techniques, and decide the one that you would be working on.
Major Differences Between Body Lift and Suspension Lift
What is Body Lift?
Body lift is a technique wherein the cab or body of the vehicle is lifted/raised from its chassis. This is achieved by adding spacers over the vehicle’s original body mount bushings.
What is Suspension Lift?
As the name suggests, a suspension lift simply refers to raising the height of the vehicle’s suspension. A suspension lift is possible by replacing the vehicle’s stock suspension components by new ones which include longer coil springs, torsion bar keys, coil spring spacers, heightened leaf springs, and the like.
Pros of Body Lift
- Raises the ride-height enabling installation of bigger tires
- Built over the stock suspension setting; hence, doesn’t require a wheel alignment
- Won’t affect ride quality or handling in any way
- Very cost-effective than its suspension counterpart
- Simple and easy to install, especially for novices
Pros of Suspension Lift
- Improves suspension for off-road conditions
- Relatively higher ground clearance than a body lift (2-12 inches)
- No visible gap between the chassis and the body unlike a body lift
- Increased tire clearance
- Beneficial in the long term
- Convenient pricing options
Cons of Body Lift
- Installation of bigger tires may hamper tire clearance.
- No substantial ground clearance (max. 3 inches)
- An ugly visible gap between the body and chassis
- Added strain on the bolts
- No improvement in the vehicle’s suspension or overall performance
Cons of Suspension Lift
- Drastically affects ride quality and handling
- Very costly as compared to a body lift
- Manipulates the suspension geometry, hence, requiring a wheel alignment
- Bit tricky to install and requires more time than its counterpart
- Raised center of gravity increases the tendency of the vehicle to roll over
Body Lift and Suspension Lift in a Nutshell
A body lift raises the ride height by a maximum of 3 inches; however, it doesn’t affect the performance or handling in any way. A body lift kit normally includes spacers meant to be installed between the body/cab and the chassis. It also includes all the necessary equipment required to align the bumpers, steering column shaft, and the radiator shroud with the increased height. Very briefly, a body lift kit doesn’t really solve the purpose of a better suspension required for off-roading, and hence, it is good for folks who wish to install larger tires on their ride and enhance its looks.
On the other hand, a suspension lift replaces or manipulates the stock suspension framework, resulting in a much better shock-absorbing capacity required for off-road driving. It greatly affects the handling which could be bad or good depending on the experience of the driver. The suspension lift technique does provide an effective ground and tire clearance, making the vehicle adaptable to rockier, uneven terrains. Even though it’s expensive, it is actually useful in terms of off-road driving unlike a body lift.
Which is Better?
If off-roading is your passion, we would suggest a suspension lift. This is because, a suspension lift has real utility when it comes to driving on earthly terrains. It provides improved suspension and allows installation of bigger and wider tires without hampering clearance in any way.
A body lift sounds more of a show off and is only recommended if you wish to make your SUV look better. Also, remember that a body lift isn’t really useful for dirty terrains and off-roading.
Decide wisely, and choose the lift kit that is meant for your SUV model and suits your need. Also, beware of the ride-height restrictions applicable in your area.