Many people consider a leveling kit as a wallet-friendly option for getting their vehicle more ground clearance. But, is a leveling kit bad for your rig? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a leveling kit.
Is a leveling kit bad for your truck? Well, yes and no, don’t you love that answer? Let’s take a look at what a spacer lift is, how it works and answer the age-old question: Is a Space lift bad for my truck?
Like most of us in life, we have a budget. Despite what you may see online and on Instagram or YouTube, none of us have $10-20k laying around to dump into our rigs. In fact, I’m willing to bet most of the trucks you see on the road with a small lift have a spacer lift. Very few rigs on the road are refitted with new suspension components from top to bottom specifically engineered for a lift.
Now, I can already hear the Jeep crowd booing from their lifted Rubicons, but don’t let them fool ya.
While many jeeps do have complete suspension rebuilds to lift their Jeep, quite a few in their crowd have a spacer lift, Jeepers don’t like to talk about them, like an uppity family whose child has a felony record, they love them, they have dinner with them, but they……just don’t talk about it.
What is a Spacer lift? Well, as the title suggests, a spacer lift is a small “spacer” generally 1-2.5 inches in thickness that’s placed on top of the coil spring, effectively raising the vehicle’s height in return. Think high heels for trucks. Ok, bad analogy but you get the point.
Spacers are made of a variety of materials but most often some sort of dense plastic, rubber or metal depending on where they are purchased. I’ve seen high quality materials used with good fit and finish. I’ve also seen poor welds that I wouldn’t trust and rubber spacers on ebay (yikes).
What are the advantages? The most obvious advantage is price. Depending on where you buy the spacer kit, it generally is picked up for prices between $100-$200. Another advantage is the ability to install yourself. With a traditional lift kit, you will need a full vehicle lift and extensive cutting/drilling and in some cases welding tools to get the job done. Almost all spacer lifts can be installed in your driveway with basic hand tools and a set of jack stands. Install time is only a few hours. Another advantage is the raised ground clearance your vehicle gets.
What are the disadvantages? That’s where all the drama and strong opinions come in. Many will argue that the whole reason to lift is to effectively raise your vehicle for more ground clearance and I’m proved off road capability.
Once your truck is off roading, your suspension is now being compressed, stretched and pushed beyond its standard settings. When you have a spacer lift installed, the spacer being wedged on top of your coil, has already put the coil in a stressed position before any driving starts, let alone before any articulation and stressful positions that off road driving brings.
Additionally, the new angles that will be created from the spacer change the geometry of important parts like your Upper Control Arms. Under a heavy load with some flexing, it could definitely not be good. Check out a thread here for more on possible failures.
Something to consider, take a look at the biggest companies in the lift kit world (trucks and jeeps). Almost all of them offer spacer lifts as a budget option (take that for what it’s worth) if they were the end of the world as some suggest, I think these bigger companies would have dropped them long ago.
Beyond that, be realistic about what you will do with your rig. Will it be weekend camping trips where you won’t leave a well-traveled dirt road? Or will you be heading to Moab Utah to tackle Hells Revenge?
So, is a spacer lift bad for your rig? Probably not, just don’t go trying to compete or impress others with off road capabilities. Use your new and improved ground clearance for what it was intended. To get to that new offgrid public hunting or camping land over on some remote BLM campsite. Don’t know how to find those, click here, we got you!
Overall, depending on how deep (or shallow) your pockets are, you have unlimited options for your vehicle. Remember, it’s your vehicle. All too often we get suckered into trying to impress the Internet comments section on how much money we spent on our rigs, like 10-year-olds flexing their new Fortnite Legendary Character skins.
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