A spacer lift is an affordable way to lift your Tacoma, but may not be the best option for rough, off-road adventures.
- A spacer lift raises the truck height without removing suspension parts.
- Tacoma enthusiasts should compare the pros and cons of spacer and suspension lifts.
- Spacer lifts are less durable than suspension lifts, especially for off-road use.
- Spacer lift kits are readily available from various aftermarket manufacturers.
It’s normal to want your Tacoma to look beefier and more aggressive. A lift kit helps you achieve the desired appearance, but some can be complicated to install. Instead, you may consider the benefits of a Tacoma spacer lift.
In this guide, I reveal the main differences between the spacer and suspension lift. I will also discuss some downsides to the spacer lift and show you how to install one.
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What Is a Spacer Lift?
The spacer lift is designed to raise the vehicle height slightly without removing any suspension parts. Because the spacer lift fits above the coil spring or strut assembly, you don’t have to pay for more suspension parts. You also have a shorter installation time as a result.
Typically, a Tacoma spacer lift can raise the height between 1 and 2.75 inches. These lifts are called the “budget boost” in the automotive realm since minimal financial investment is required.
Spacer vs. Suspension Lift
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each lift kit type before recapping what each has to offer.
Spacer Lift Pros
- No need to replace suspension parts – it works with stock coil springs and struts
- Simple installation
- Accommodates a larger wheel size
- Lower cost
- Less time spent installing
- Retains factory ride
- Minimal maintenance required
Spacer Lift Cons
- Can’t lift vehicle too high
- Can’t adjust ride quality – no change in spring rate
- Increases wear to suspension components
- Spacers don’t have as long of a life
Suspension Lift Pros
- Can achieve higher heights
- Possible to improve the ride quality
- Makes off-roading and rock crawling easier
- Designed to handle bumps better with an upgraded suspension
Suspension Lift Cons
- Reduces gas mileage
- Complicated installation
- Takes more time to install
- Increased clearance makes it more difficult to get in and out of the vehicle
- Not compatible with every vehicle type
Comparing these pros and cons makes it a little simpler to figure out what’s best for your Tacoma. If you don’t have a lot of money, the spacer lift is going to be cheaper. It also allows for a decent boost from 1” to 2.75”. However, the suspension lift will go much higher, even up to 6 inches.
If you plan to do the installation yourself, the spacer lift is going to be much easier and take less time. However, it’s not too complicated to do a suspension lift if you have mechanical experience. You could also choose to have a professional install either one, but the labor for the suspension lift costs more.
One more perk the spacer lift has going for it is that less maintenance is needed. You can lift the truck and not think about it again.
So, why would someone choose the suspension kit over the spacer lift? The suspension lift is more durable. It handles stress better and is designed specifically for off-road use.
Spacer lifts aren’t indestructible. One of the biggest problems with putting spacer lifts on your Tacoma is that they won’t hold up to off-road abuse. If you plan to go off-road, you need to upgrade the suspension as a whole.
You must also consider what happens if the spacers aren’t installed properly. If the spacers are too high, you may notice trouble handling, or there could be compatibility issues with the suspension. For that reason alone, I always recommend talking to a professional before having spacers installed.
Many more complicated issues, such as unusual noise and handling issues occur with the suspension lift kits. However, it’s not impossible to have some of the same problems if the spacers are installed incorrectly.
Should You Get a Lift?
A spacer lift kit isn’t for every Tacoma owner. If you want to gain a little more height to your Tacoma without spending a lot of money, the spacer kit might work for you.
It’s even possible to increase the tire size a little bit with the right spacer lift, which is a common reason why truck owners opt for this type of lift.
However, if you want to gain a lot of height from your Tacoma or spend a lot of time off-roading, the spacer might not work well. You would do better with the suspension lift kit instead.
Spacer Lift Kits
When purchasing a spacer lift for your Toyota Tacoma, you must ensure it’s compatible with your truck and is constructed from high-quality parts. With so many knock-off companies on the market, it’s difficult to find a reputable brand that can be trusted.
If you have some mechanical knowledge, you may not have trouble installing a spacer lift on your Tacoma. The job requires a minimal amount of tools and can be done in a reasonable amount of time.
For general instructions, check out this helpful video.
With that, I must caution you against installing your lift kit yourself, whether spacers or suspension. It’s very easy to mess something up, leading to costly repair bills down the road. If you aren’t well-versed in working on these systems, I highly encourage you to pay a professional instead.
It’s fun to modify the Tacoma truck and make it your own. One way to change the appearance is through the use of spacer lift kits. Getting a high-quality spacer kit doesn’t cost much, and the installation is pretty simple.
Remember that once you start modifying your Tacoma, you may want more. It’s natural to fall in love with making modifications, only to desire more from your truck once you start. You may end up purchasing a suspension lift in the future anyway.