Lifting a Jeep can be an easy way to improve the look and feel of your ride. You can also get better clearance and more visibility when sitting up higher. But you should make sure you don’t harm your Jeep in the process of lifting it.
Lift kits can be bad for Jeeps if someone doesn’t set the kit up properly. Adding a lift kit can negatively affect the ride quality, even if the installation is done well. Lifts will also require ongoing maintenance to keep the lift from affecting the vehicle.
You can do a lot to upgrade your Jeep after you buy it. Lift kits are a popular tool to raise your vehicle, but are they worth it? Keep reading to find out how lift kits can affect your Jeep and if you should use one.
Lower Ride Quality
A good set of tires not only keeps your Jeep moving, but it can affect how everything feels. Tires can help absorb some shock from the road, so you can get a smooth ride. But when you use a lift kit, you can lose some of that ride quality.
When you use a lift kit, you typically swap out the tires for a larger set. That way, you can navigate on or off the road, and you can get more traction. But those changes aren’t always positive.
Bigger tires may absorb some things on the road, but you may feel more bumps. If you run over something small before lifting your vehicle, you may not notice anything. But after using a lift kit, you’ll be able to feel small things you never thought about before.
Bigger tires won’t just affect how your car feels to ride. It can also affect how you need to brake to slow down safely. Using bigger tires can reduce how effective the brakes are because big tires don’t rotate as fast.
A bigger tire also has greater torque than a smaller tire, and sometimes, the torque is higher than what the vehicle can handle. In that case, braking will be more difficult with the larger tire diameter.
You can still use the larger tires and brake well, but you’ll need to give more space and time to do so. It may take a couple of extra seconds, so be sure to experiment after you use a lift kit on your Jeep. That way, you can continue to drive safely, and you’ll know how to adjust your driving habits.
When you use a lift kit on your Jeep, you can also affect vehicle handling. Lifting a vehicle will change its center of gravity, so you’ll need to maintain even more control while driving. Depending on how high you lift it, you may need to relearn how to drive.
This can affect how you maneuver through turns and on winding roads. If you aren’t careful during a big turn, you may cause your truck to flip over. While that’s not always going to happen, it’s something to be aware of.
If you want to lift your Jeep, make sure you practice driving it after. Take it slow and focus on the basics before you get comfortable driving higher up. Then, you can take to the streets or off-road with your vehicle.
More Wind Noise
You may also notice that your Jeep is louder after you use a lift kit, and this is no accident. Raising your vehicle means you’re exposing more of the suspension parts and steering parts to the elements.
As wind passes under your vehicle, it can cause more noise than if you didn’t use a lift kit. Unfortunately, resolving this isn’t as easy as if a door or window was causing the noise. You may have to deal with the loud sounds as you drive.
More exposure can also cause the steering parts to wear down more quickly. Because of that, you’ll need to spend more time and money on vehicle maintenance. Or you may need to reduce how often you drive your Jeep.
While you may get some more wind noise while driving, it can take longer to reach the speed necessary for that sound. A lift kit can cause your Jeep to accelerate more slowly than before. Adding bigger tires and raising the overall height can reduce your acceleration.
You’ll need more space to reach speeds fast enough to drive on the highway. And if the on-ramp is too short, you may not be driving fast enough before the lane ends. Now, if you plan to use your Jeep for off-roading, this won’t be such a big deal.
When off-roading, you probably won’t need to go as fast as on a highway. However, it can still affect you when driving at slower speeds. So be sure you consider how fast your Jeep accelerates now, and prepare for it to take longer.
Bad Fuel Economy
Whether you plan to use your Jeep every day or on special occasions, you need to consider its fuel economy. Many 2019 Jeep models get over 20 miles per gallon when you combine highway and city driving. However, some do get slightly less than this.
But no matter what your vehicle’s current mileage is, you may lower it by installing a lift kit. Some Jeeps may reduce their fuel economy by 20 percent after a lift, and if your Jeep already doesn’t have the best mileage, that can be devastating.
The extra height of your vehicle can affect the aerodynamics, which affects fuel usage. So while a tall vehicle may look cool, it’s not very efficient. If you need to drive long distances, you may want to keep your Jeep how it is.
Now, you can use a lift kit without experiencing a ton of problems. If you choose a high-quality lift kit, it will have all of the parts you need to safely raise your Jeep. Combine that with help from a professional who can raise your vehicle, and you may not have a ton of problems.
However, getting the best lift kit can cost a lot of money. Some kits cost over $1,000, and that doesn’t include the price of labor if you take it to a shop. You’ll need to pay for the time a mechanic spends working on your Jeep.
You can install the lift kit yourself, but you may make mistakes. Unless you have a ton of experience with lifting vehicles, you should leave this to the professionals. If you don’t, you may very well ruin your Jeep.
Even the best lift kit and the best mechanic won’t keep you from voiding your car’s warranty. If you buy a new Jeep, lifting it can void your warranty, so you’ll need to pay more for repairs and other maintenance.
Now, some dealers may be stricter than others in terms of the lift height. So you should ask your Jeep dealer what their terms are to figure out if you’ll lose your warranty coverage.
If you lose your warranty, you may want to wait until it expires before you use a lift kit. You can also get an older Jeep that doesn’t have a warranty, and you won’t have to worry. Either way, you should consider the potential costs of lifting your vehicle and how that relates to future maintenance.
Lift kits aren’t inherently bad for Jeeps as long as you get a good kit and help from a professional. They’re a great option for any Jeep that you want to use off-road or where you want some extra height. As long as you’re okay making some compromises, you can use a lift kit whenever you want.
- MotorWeek: Tires & Ride Quality
- Los Angeles Times: Bigger Tires Are Likely to Reduce Braking
- Wikipedia: Automobile Handling
- Better Soundproofing: How to Reduce Wind Noise in a Car
- Jeep Reviews: Does a Lift Kit Void the Warranty on my Jeep?
- Wrangler Forum: Lift Kits ruin Vehicle?
- Jalopnik: I Regret Lifting My Daily Driver
- NAPA Know How Blog: Lifting a Truck’s Suspension – Why, How and Whoa!