Lift kits are a great way to raise your truck so you can go off-roading and get a better suspension. Modifying your vehicle can always pose a risk, especially if you’re not a professional, so you need to have a clear understanding of how lift kits can affect your truck positively and negatively.
Lift kits can damage your truck if they’re installed incorrectly and speed up the wear and tear process. Many lift kits will void warranties that came with new trucks, so read the fine print before you make any decisions. Lift kits can also affect the steering and handling of the truck.
Lift kits do offer many benefits, however. They can keep your tires on the ground on uneven terrain and improve your visibility, which will make it safer for you and other drivers. Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons of lift kits and how they might affect your truck.
What Lift Kits Do
You’ve probably seen tall trucks that seem to tower over other vehicles. The extra height comes from lift kits, which is a type of modification that can be added to pickups. Lift kits raise the vehicle off the ground for more clearance and suspension. This modification is used for off-roading and doesn’t really do anything for city and highway driving.
There are two types of lift kits: body and suspension. They both achieve the same goal of lifting up the truck, but they accomplish it in different ways.
Body Lift Kits
Body lift kits raise the entire body of the truck. They allow for more room for bigger tires and give you more clearance. Having plenty of clearance is crucial if you want to take your pickup off-roading because the more you have, the less of a chance you have to damage the underside of your vehicle.
Body lift kits don’t usually go past 5 inches (12.7 centimeters). This is usually enough for the typical off-roader, but if you really want to get away from the road or want to make your vehicle something truly unique, this might not be enough for you.
But, if you’re looking for something that won’t change the handling feel of the ride, body lift kits are the best option. They keep the suspension and wheels in place and only move the body.
Suspension Lift Kits
Suspension lift kits can greatly change how your vehicle drives because it raises the suspension. Depending on how high you lift your truck, parts might have to be replaced with longer parts, which is what causes the handling and drivability to change.
If you want your pickup to be taller than all the others, suspension lift kits are the way to go. They can raise your truck up to 12 inches (30.48 centimeters).
Risks of Lift Kits
A lift kit is an additional feature that wasn’t intended to be used by the manufacturer. This means that there are risks involved when installing them, whether you choose to do it yourself or get it done at a mechanic shop. Here are a few of the issues that can be caused by lift kits.
A lift kit might void the warranty if your vehicle is new enough to still have a valid warranty. Since the kits are modifications that weren’t provided with the vehicle, the manufacturer most likely won’t cover any damage that’s caused to your vehicle because of them.
If you want to install a lift kit on your vehicle that still has a warranty, you should read the fine print to see if it will cause any problems. Some manufacturers might allow two-inch lift kits to be installed, but this isn’t guaranteed.
Lift kits might affect the handling of your vehicle. Handling is affected by the suspension pieces, so it’s no surprise that suspension lift kits will affect handling more than body lift kits.
The center of gravity will be higher, which will make the truck less stable. You’ll have to drive slower and be careful on turns because turning too fast can result in a rollover.
You may also find that steering is more difficult if you installed a suspension kit that is higher than just a few inches. This is because the original parts have to be replaced by longer parts.
Faster Wear and Tear
Lift kits require your truck to have longer parts under the hood and bigger tires. Bigger tires will speed up the wear and tear process because they put more pressure on the axles, ball joints, and shocks.
The tires themselves will wear out faster because big tires are made for off-roading instead of city driving. Spending more time on city roads and highways will cause the treads to wear down faster. Big tires will also require the truck to use more engine power to make the truck move, which will also contribute to the wear and tear of the vehicle.
If you want to use a lift kit that raises up your vehicle several inches, you should expect to spend more money on maintenance since your truck will wear out faster than if it didn’t have the modification.
Benefits of Lift Kits
Lift kits aren’t all bad. If they were, nobody would use them. There are several benefits that make lift kits appealing to truck drivers.
- Better visibility. Body and suspension lift kits raise the height of your truck, which improves visibility for you and other drivers. You’ll sit taller than everyone else, and other cars will be able to see you better.
- Better traction. Since lift kits require you to put bigger tires on your truck, you’ll have better traction when you’re off-road.
- More clearance. Having more clearance will prevent your truck from getting damaged. Large rocks, bushes, and other debris are less likely to scratch up the underside of your vehicle.
How to Minimize Damage
There are a few tips you can follow to minimize damage when you install lift kits on your truck:
- Choose a trusted brand. Research lift kit brands to find one with great reviews. Choosing the cheapest brand with little to no reputation might end up being a regret later. It’s better to invest in quality products.
- Don’t buy secondhand. You might be tempted to buy a used lift kit, but there are dangers to doing this. You won’t be able to know exactly how long they were used and how they were used; they may have been heavily used and took a lot of damage. Many people who sell their used kits may feel inclined to hide this information just so they can get their money back.
- Choose an older vehicle. It’s not recommended to put lift kits on your new truck since they might void the warranty. If you have an older truck that has an expired warranty, that would be better. It’s better to take older vehicles off-roading instead of newer ones since they’re going to get dirty and scratched anyway.
- Call a professional. If you have any doubts at all about installing a lift kit correctly, take the kit to your mechanic so they can install it for you. Getting a professional is the best way to prevent damage. If you’ve never done it before, you might make a mistake that will cause long-term damage that will be expensive to repair.
Lift kits can damage your truck, but you can minimize the damage by making sure you buy a quality kit and have it installed properly. Lifted trucks will need extra maintenance to avoid damage, so be sure to have your truck checked out frequently.
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