Lifting your truck or SUV is a popular mod for those who want increased ground clearance, a different stance, bigger wheels and tires, or to stand out from the crowd. The two most popular methods to do this are a body lift or a suspension lift. Both can be achieved by the use of lift kits. So, what’s the difference between body lift and a suspension lift?
In this article, we’ll perform a body lift vs suspension lift comparison and present our findings to you. Then, you can determine which is best for your truck or off-roader. If you’re still unsure, our professional off-road experts can help you decide.
If you’re looking for ways to lift your truck or off-roader, look no further than our Truck Suspension section. Here, you’ll find a great array of lift kits, as well as accessories such as bushings, stabilizers, shock absorbers, and leveling kits. We’ve even got the opposite – lowering kits – as well as air ride suspension systems. Ready to learn about suspension lift vs body lift? Here goes.
What is a Body Lift and How Does it Work?
A body lift, as the name suggests, simply lifts the body of your SUV or truck off the frame. Of course, this can only be done on vehicles that feature body-on-frame construction, as the body should be distinctive from the frame.
A body lift can help you achieve some extra overall height over the road, and pave the way to install larger tires and wheels. Note that a body lift on its own does not increase your ground clearance. It does not improve your approach, departure, or breakover angles as well. Hence, a body lift does not affect your off-roader or truck’s ride and handling characteristics, or make it any better off-road. Hence, it’s not something done by moderate to serious off-roaders, but mainly pursued by those who seek aesthetic improvements for their off-roader or truck, such as installing larger wheels and tires, as well as a higher-riding cabin.
What is a Suspension Lift and How Does it Work?
A suspension lift is a bit more involved as it lifts your suspension components, giving you better ground clearance and a higher ride height. A suspension lift raises your frame higher off the ground, as well as your body. Typically, the distance between your body and frame remains the same, unlike with a body lift.
With a suspension lift, your overall off-road performance will improve, as your approach, departure, and breakaway angles all improve. Your vehicle’s ride and handling characteristics will change, but this can be tuned to your liking by choosing the appropriate components and tweaking by a trained professional.
The suspension lift is the most common avenue pursued by off-roaders, as it is a surefire way to improve your off-roader or truck’s off-road abilities. It is comparatively less common for a suspension lift to be performed on a vehicle purely for aesthetic purposes.
How to Determine if You Need a Body or Suspension Lift
We’ve already given you a fairly comprehensive explanation of the body lift and the suspension lift, which should help you decide which is best for your truck or off-roader. However, if you need more considerations, here they are.
Body lifts are less expensive than suspension lifts, as they use fewer in their kits. Suspension lifts require more components, careful installation, and re-alignment of your vehicle post-installation. However, note that as a DIY project, there’s plenty of potential for problems if it’s done wrong, and both should ideally be performed in a workshop, by trained professionals.
Ride and Handling
Body lifts preserve your vehicle’s stock ride and handling characteristics, but suspension lifts tend to alter it. The most common complaint with a suspension lift is that the vehicle rolls more under cornering, particularly at higher speeds. This can be addressed through the installation of a sportier suspension set-up. However, body lifts aren’t totally immune from changes in ride and handling, as we shall discover in the next point.
Center of Gravity
A body lift or a suspension lift is going to increase your vehicle’s center of gravity, there’s no getting around that. This means you’ve got to be more careful when driving, particularly if cornering at higher speeds. However, the height increase in your vehicle’s center of gravity is comparatively larger with a suspension lift since the body plus the frame are being lifted.
With a body lift, the frame remains at nearly the original level, so the overall center of gravity of your truck or off-roader will not increase that much. However, you will still notice some ride and handling effects as a result of the increased center of gravity.
You don’t get any extra ground clearance with a body lift, as we’ve already mentioned. With a suspension lift, you can easily gain several inches of ground clearance, as well as the resultant improvement in approach, departure, and breakover angles.
Amount of Lift
Typically, body lift kits top out at 5 inches, but some of the more extreme suspension lift kits can raise your vehicle by a whopping 12 inches. Of course, most people will go for around 2 – 6 inches of lift.
Body lifts may require additional components to extend steering rods, but suspension lifts require these, plus extended brake lines, and the installation of steering stabilizers as well.
Lift Kits and More from 4 Wheel Parts
If you’re wondering how to start your lifted journey, 4 Wheel Parts is an excellent place to do so. Just swing by one of our 100+ stores peppered across the nation, or start browsing our online inventory. Then, you’ll find a fantastic array of options from the world’s best brands, backed by superior expert advice, competitive prices, and robust warranties where applicable. It’s no surprise that we’ve got lifetime customers who can rest easy. Why not join the community?