Home » Lifted and Leveling Struts vs. Strut Spacers
Lifted and Leveling Struts vs Strut Spacers

Lifted and Leveling Struts vs. Strut Spacers

Adjustable ride-height struts give you the option to level out the front of a late-model truck or SUV. This outcome is accomplished by using a coil spring collar that changes between the factory and leveling height.

The results you receive often depend on the lifted and leveling strut brand you select. Bilstein is a popular choice because it offers multiple grooves where the snap ring sits, with the coil spring collar sitting on top of that.

When the vehicle sits on the strings, it settles less than it would if you were running with a non-preloaded coil spring.

Although the lift works best for off-roading, some vehicle makes and models have better aerodynamics when the truck sits level. That means your fuel economy could increase, or you might have an easier time tracking behind the wheel.

Lifted and Leveling Struts vs. Strut Spacers

Lifted and leveling struts account for the shortcomings one can find in some spacer kits. You receive suspension up and down travel, eliminating the limitations and over-extensions that occur while offering a more comfortable ride. You’ll get the clearance you want and the stability you need.

If you have a truck or SUV built in the past decade with struts and springs as part of the front suspension, several options are available to consider for your lifting and leveling needs. Outside of the Bilstein products, you can choose from Rancho or Pro Comp to deliver the desired results.

Although strut spacers are another option to help with lifting and leveling, you won’t have as much flexibility with that choice. It can even be as expensive as having new struts installed, which is why it tends to be the superior choice for many drivers.

There is even an option to use the spacers and lifted struts simultaneously, but it is not recommended to use the maximum leveling height with the mounting while using a spacer. That would result in a push of three inches or more above factory height.

Any late model trucks or SUVs are typically not recommended to exceed three inches above factory specs without an extended upper control arm. If you were to install the strut and spacer together, the result could produce significant spacer-related maintenance problems.

◼️ What Are the Pros and Cons of Adjustable Height Struts?

When you have lifted and leveling struts or something labeled “adjustable height,” you have the same thing. That’s because the coil spring collar on the product sits at different heights on the body.

The collar might change orientation or have different grooves that it sits on to function, but the result is the same for the vehicle.

By changing the bottom mount for the coil spring and retaining the top mounting, the result is a premature compression that causes the vehicle to squat less than it would on non-compressed springs.

This design option for lifted and leveling struts delivers a few pros and cons worth considering.

List of the Pros of Lifted and Leveling StrutsList of the Cons of Lifted and Leveling Struts
• You’ll see benefits in the amount of suspension travel that occurs with these struts.
• It won’t compromise the droop travel like spaces would, which means there’s minimal risk of damage to the lower mount.
• Improvements to the ride dynamics occur with the new shock absorbers.
• There is a noticeable increase in the levels of ground clearance you receive for your truck or SUV.
• It is possible to increase your towing or hauling capacity or capabilities when driving in off-road conditions.
• Depending on the products selected, it could be the same price as a steel strut spacer or a billet.
• The installation is more difficult if you’re only putting in the struct because a coil spring compressor is required for the work.
• This option is overkill for anyone who isn’t going off-road or requires more articulation.
• Lifting a truck or SUV can decrease the fuel economy of the vehicle because it is no longer streamlined into the wind.
• There can be increased wear and tear on the vehicle’s suspension.


Lifted and leveling struts are a sensible investment when you do a lot of off-roading, have gravel roads as part of your commute, or want to have a more even appearance for your vehicle. If your truck or SUV gets used for driving to work or running errands more than anything else, it would be cheaper to install spacers to accomplish the results you want.

◼️ Here’s My Strut Recommendation: Bilstein 5100 Series

When you want to use lifted and leveling struts for your vehicle, the Bilstein 5100 Series is your best choice. You’ll find several options available that work for most vehicle makes and models in the industry today.

The zinc-plated finish stands up to the work these struts provide for your truck or SUV. It delivers up to 2.75 inches of lift, depending on the application, while letting you customize the overall experience. You’ll notice improvements to the handling and wheel travel right away after the installation.

You can install spacers with these shocks, but that step increases the risk of extending the ball joint beyond its limit.

Although the Bilstein struts aren’t easy to install, it’s still worth the investment. Don’t forget about upgrading the rear to ensure you receive the most stable right possible.

◼️ Alternatives to Consider for Lifted and Leveling Struts

If you don’t like the build quality for Bilstein 5100 series struts, you can find a few additional options online that provide a similar outcome.

You might consider using one of these alternatives if your current make and model is out of stock with your online or local Bilstein provider.

When shopping for lifting and level struts, you’ll discover that each product comes with a specific make and model compatibility. In these examples, Toyota and Mazda vehicles work with the direct links.

Once you decide that the quality of those struts is what you want for your make and model, you’ll need to switch the listing to one compatible with your overall needs. If you register your truck or SUV in your Amazon Garage, that process is almost effortless.

You’ll know immediately if the struts you’ve selected have compatibility with your vehicle.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Strut Spacers?

Since a new set of struts is often perceived as an expensive investment for a truck or SUV, it is not unusual for drivers to opt for spacers instead.

This choice is also popular for new truck owners who want to level a vehicle when their current struts haven’t put on many miles. It’s simple, easy, and creates permanent results without requiring a significant time or cost investment.

If you’re thinking about installing spacers instead of lifted and leveling struts, here are the pros and cons you’ll want to consider with this investment.

List of the Pros of Strut SpacersList of the Cons of Strut Spacers
• You don’t need to worry about disassembling the strut to put on the spacer.
• A coil spring compressor isn’t required to complete the lifting process with this product.
• It’s easier to maintain the factory ride by installing a spacer instead of using new struts for that purpose.
• The cost of a spacer is significantly less than most struts, even when they’re made from billet aluminum or solid steel.
• If you settle for rubber spacers, you can find them for as little as $30 for a pair online.
• They’ll work with an aftermarket kit or a factory suspension.
• You receive a fixed lift amount, which means you don’t need to worry about settling or sagging.
• Adding spacers to your struts will not increase the suspension capability of the vehicle.
• That means you won’t get an improved off-roading experience with this installation.
• There is a significant loss to down travel when using spacers, adding more risk to the strut since the bottom becomes the limiting strap for the lower control arm hang.
• Spacers don’t change the spring rate on the struts, which means you won’t see improvements to the capacity or stiffness of the product.
• If the spacer isn’t bolted on correctly, it’s possible for it to fall out.
• This issue is especially true for the models that just snap into place.
• You’re adding an inch or two of solid material that limits the cushioning levels you receive, creating the potential for a looser drive and finish.

If you’re a daily driver who rarely does any off-roading, strut spacers are the best choice to consider. However, when you explore the countryside regularly and use your truck or SUV as more of a recreational vehicle, it’s better to invest in lifted and leveling struts.

Here Is My Strut Spacer Recommendation: Supreme Suspensions Lift Kit Series

When your goal is to get a level ride without doing anything to your struts, a spacer is the best choice to consider. You can add lift quickly without creating a significant repair or upgrade to manage. That’s when the Supreme Suspensions Lift Kit Series is the product you want to have by your side to produce results.

The bolt-on installation for these strut spacers is relatively manageable. It takes about four hours to complete, although an experienced mechanic or DIY expert could probably do it in half the time.

You’ll need to enlarge the retainer plate holes to replace the half-inch factory U-Bolts with the extended 9/16-inch option that comes with the product. It’s also a good idea to have your alignment evaluated after this upgrade since the weight can change slightly on lighter trucks and SUVs.

◼️ Alternatives to Consider for Strut Spacers

Some vehicles are compatible with leveling kits that don’t require a round spacer that supports your strut.

That means you can get the results you want for a fraction of the cost of a new set of adjustable height struts. Most leveling kits are even cheaper than metal spacers, although the high-quality plastic ones are about the same cost as the following items.

You’ll need to be careful when shopping for these items because the overall lift might not be at the level you want. It’s not unusual for levelers to max out at two inches.

Is It Worth Using Lifted and Leveling Struts Over Spacers?

Most vehicles benefit from the use of lifted and leveling struts over spacers because it increases the flexibility of the vehicle’s profile without creating over-extension. That means you have extra stability while gaining improved visual aesthetics because the nose isn’t pointed downward.

When you look at the cost of grabbing a lift system for your truck or SUV, you’ll need to budget around $400 for most vehicles to get a high-quality kit with the parts you need. However, if you prefer the Bilstein brand for this upgrade, a complete set can reach up to $900.

The good news is that you don’t need new coil springs to create the results you want when lifting. Factory springs will work, but you must be careful to avoid exceeding three inches of lift when there are higher settings on the raised and leveling struts.

I prefer using the struts for this need, especially when the design has multiple ring settings because it makes ongoing adjustments simple and easy to complete. Since the lowest groove delivers the factory height, while the highest should offer the highest lift available for your truck or SUV’s design.

You can make additional modifications to go higher, but I’d recommend staying at 2.75 inches or a little lower. This choice maximizes the leveling potential without worrying about the risks of future maintenance costs.


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