Difference between a Body Lift Kit and a Suspension Lift Kit

Difference between a Body Lift Kit and a Suspension Lift Kit

When it comes to modifying vehicles for better ground clearance or enhanced aesthetics, two popular options are body lift kits and suspension lift kits.

These kits serve the same purpose—to raise the height of your vehicle—but the way they achieve this goal and their impact on performance differ.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between body lift kits and suspension lift kits, breaking down their pros, cons, and ideal applications.

What is a Body Lift Kit?

A body lift kit essentially raises the body of the vehicle away from the frame. It involves installing a series of spacers (usually made of a durable material like polyurethane) between the body and the vehicle’s frame.

These spacers elevate the body, providing space for larger wheels and tires without altering the suspension geometry.

Pros of Body Lift Kits

  1. Cost-Effective: Body lift kits are generally less expensive than suspension lift kits.
  2. Ease of Installation: These kits can be easier to install, often not requiring extensive changes to the vehicle’s existing structure.
  3. Preserved Ride Quality: Since they don’t alter the suspension, body lift kits maintain the factory ride quality.
  4. Cosmetic Boost: They can provide the “lifted” look without affecting the vehicle’s handling.

Cons of Body Lift Kits

  1. Limited Lift: You can usually raise the vehicle only up to 3 inches using a body lift kit.
  2. Gaping: The space between the body and the frame becomes visible, which some people find unattractive.
  3. No Performance Enhancements: They don’t offer improved off-road capabilities.

What is a Suspension Lift Kit?

A suspension lift kit, on the other hand, replaces or modifies the components of a vehicle’s suspension system to raise the height. This type of lift usually involves swapping out shocks, springs, control arms, and other suspension components for taller, more robust versions.

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Pros of Suspension Lift Kits

  1. Increased Ground Clearance: These kits provide significantly more ground clearance compared to body lift kits.
  2. Improved Off-Road Performance: With a suspension lift, you’ll get enhanced suspension articulation, which is crucial for off-roading.
  3. Greater Lift: Suspension lifts can raise a vehicle by as much as 12 inches or even more.
  4. Better Shock Absorption: Upgraded shocks and springs can improve ride comfort, especially over rough terrains.

Cons of Suspension Lift Kits

  1. Costly: These kits can be expensive, both in terms of parts and labor.
  2. Complex Installation: Professional installation is often recommended due to the complexity involved.
  3. Potential Warranty Issues: Modifying the suspension might void your vehicle’s warranty.
  4. Reduced Fuel Efficiency: The greater height and weight can reduce your vehicle’s miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating.

Comparative Factors


  • Body Lift: Less complex, easier to reverse.
  • Suspension Lift: More complex, often requiring specialized skills for installation and tuning.

Aesthetics vs Performance

  • Body Lift: More for aesthetics, less for performance.
  • Suspension Lift: Designed for both aesthetic and performance enhancements.


  • Body Lift: Generally more affordable.
  • Suspension Lift: More expensive due to component costs and labor.

Ideal Applications

  • Body Lift: Best for those looking for a less expensive lift for mostly cosmetic reasons.
  • Suspension Lift: Best for serious off-road enthusiasts who need greater ground clearance and improved suspension articulation.


Both body lift kits and suspension lift kits have their pros and cons, and the best choice depends on what you’re looking to achieve. If you want a minor lift without a significant investment, a body lift kit may be the way to go.

On the other hand, if you’re an off-road enthusiast looking for maximum performance, a suspension lift kit will better meet your needs.

Always consider your driving habits, your vehicle’s intended use, and your budget when choosing between these two options.

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Difference between a Body Lift Kit and a Suspension Lift Kit

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40 FAQs on Body Lift Kits and Suspension Lift Kits

General Questions

  1. What is a lift kit?
    • A lift kit is a vehicle modification that raises the ride height, either by lifting the body away from the frame or by altering the suspension system.
  2. What’s the difference between a body lift kit and a suspension lift kit?
    • A body lift kit raises only the body of the vehicle, while a suspension lift kit modifies the suspension components to raise the entire vehicle, including the frame.
  3. Do lift kits affect vehicle performance?
    • Yes, especially suspension lift kits which can improve off-road performance but may also affect fuel efficiency and on-road handling.
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Body Lift Kits

  1. How much does a body lift kit cost?
    • They are generally less expensive than suspension lifts, ranging from $100 to $500, not including installation.
  2. How high can a body lift kit lift my vehicle?
    • Generally up to 3 inches.
  3. Is a body lift kit reversible?
    • Yes, you can revert to the original settings by removing the spacers.
  4. Can a body lift kit improve my off-road capabilities?
    • Not significantly; it’s mostly cosmetic.
  5. Will a body lift kit affect my vehicle’s warranty?
    • Possibly, always check with your manufacturer first.
  6. How long does it take to install a body lift kit?
    • Typically 4-6 hours, depending on the vehicle.
  7. Do I need special tools for a body lift kit installation?
    • Standard automotive tools are generally sufficient.

Suspension Lift Kits

  1. How much does a suspension lift kit cost?
    • Prices can range from $300 to over $2000, excluding labor costs.
  2. How high can a suspension lift kit lift my vehicle?
    • Up to 12 inches or more, depending on the kit.
  3. Is a suspension lift kit reversible?
    • It’s more complex and often not easily reversible.
  4. Will a suspension lift kit affect fuel efficiency?
    • Yes, it can reduce miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings.
  5. How long does it take to install a suspension lift kit?
    • Usually 8-12 hours, depending on the complexity.
  6. What are the common components in a suspension lift kit?
    • Springs, shocks, control arms, and sometimes sway bars and track bars.
  7. Will a suspension lift kit affect my vehicle’s warranty?
    • It’s very likely, always check with your manufacturer.
  8. Do I need professional installation for a suspension lift?
    • Given the complexity, professional installation is often recommended.


  1. Which lift kit is easier to install?
    • Body lift kits are generally easier to install.
  2. Which lift kit is better for off-roading?
    • Suspension lift kits.
  3. Which one is better for larger tires?
    • Both can accommodate larger tires, but suspension lifts offer more space and better performance.
  4. Which one preserves the original ride quality?
    • Body lift kits, as they do not alter the suspension.
  5. Which one is cheaper?
    • Body lift kits are generally cheaper.
  6. Which one is better for towing?
    • Suspension lifts, as they often include heavy-duty components suited for towing.
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Safety Concerns

  1. Are lift kits safe?
    • When installed correctly and used as intended, they are generally safe. However, taller vehicles may have a higher center of gravity and increased rollover risk.
  2. Do I need to recalibrate my speedometer after installing a lift kit?
    • Usually not for body lifts, but often necessary for suspension lifts, especially if larger tires are also installed.
  3. Will a lift kit affect my vehicle’s braking?
    • It can, particularly if larger tires are also installed. Brake upgrades may be needed.
  4. Can a lift kit affect my vehicle’s balance?
    • Yes, lifting can shift the center of gravity and affect vehicle balance.

Maintenance and Upkeep

  1. Do lift kits require special maintenance?
    • Suspension lift kits may require periodic inspections and adjustments. Body lift kits usually require less maintenance.
  2. Can I install a lift kit myself?
    • Body lift kits are usually DIY-friendly, but suspension lifts often require specialized tools and expertise.
  3. Do lifted vehicles have higher maintenance costs?
    • Generally, yes, especially with suspension lifts.
  4. Do I need alignment after installing a lift kit?
    • Yes, for both types of lifts, an alignment is highly recommended.


  1. Can I install both body and suspension lifts on the same vehicle?
    • Technically yes, but it’s generally not recommended due to safety and balance concerns.
  2. Do lift kits affect resale value?
    • It can, either positively for off-road enthusiasts or negatively for those looking for an unmodified vehicle.
  3. Do I need to notify my insurance if I install a lift kit?
    • Yes, failing to do so may void your coverage in case of an accident.
  4. What are the common brands for lift kits?
    • Brands like Rough Country, Skyjacker, and Pro Comp are popular choices.
  5. Do I need to upgrade my wheels and tires after installing a lift kit?
    • Not necessarily, but many people choose to do so.
  6. Can lifting my truck affect the steering?
    • Yes, especially with suspension lifts, steering modifications may be needed.
  7. Do lift kits come with warranties?
    • Many do, but coverage varies. Always check before purchasing.
  8. What are the legal limits on vehicle lifting?
    • This varies by jurisdiction. Always check local and state laws before making modifications.

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