You ask, and we answer all your questions about truck lift kits for your vehicle.
Q: I think my truck would look AWESOME with a lift kit, but I don’t know much about them. What do I need to know before I invest in a truck lift kit installation? – DZ, Westlake, Ohio
A: Let’s face it, there is something very powerful about driving a truck with a lift kit installed. Originally, a lift kit was installed so that your vehicle had a higher clearance to enable a steeper approach, the ability to travel above rough terrain and tackle difficult breakover angles. Often in today’s vehicle modification market, people get them simply for the aesthetics. No matter your reason, there are some things to keep in mind when thinking about getting a lift kit installed in your truck or Jeep. Here are some things you might be asking yourself, and D&S Automotive has the answers:
Which Lift Kit Installation Type Will I Need?
Every manufacturer has different requirements for lift kits, and kits are produced primarily around the type of drive train your vehicle has. The typical kit includes strut spacers, coil springs and lift blocks. Some kits include replacement trailing arms and control arms. Depending on the type of kit installed, you might need additional alterations on brake lines, steering geometry and drive shaft length to ensure safety and proper driving capabilities.
Body Lift vs. Suspension Lift?
Again, this depends on your intent after getting the kit installed. A body lift kit will use spacers to increase the height of the cabin. A body lift has no impact on clearance, but it does enable you to use a larger tire. If you are looking for a more dramatic difference, or if you are looking to take your truck for some rugged off-road driving, you probably want to consider a suspension lift kit. You can add larger, wider wheels and tires and adding performance coilovers can help you handle the terrain as well. Performance coilovers lift the truck 2-3” and help keep the center of gravity low to help with balance.
Can I Install My Own Lift Kit?
This is never a good idea! An improper lift kit installation will lead to all sorts of problems. It can cause issues like premature wear of your driveline and suspension system components, unsafe handling on pavement and other factors that can lead to poor and unsafe vehicle performance. Keep in mind that while you may see this as strictly a cosmetic change, this isn’t a window tint – you are basically re-engineering the undercarriage of your vehicle. Unless you are a master mechanic with years of experience, it’s just not worth it to try to tackle a life kit install on your own.
What Am I Not Thinking About That I Should Be?
There are some things to keep in mind long term when adding a lift kit to your vehicle:
• Larger tires are different than traditional tires
Because of their size and weight, they can cause a little more wear and tear on your brakes and you’ll need longer distances to make stops. Your speedometer readings can vary a little because of the height of the tires and your acceleration and towing ability can be impacted slightly.
• Modifications might be necessary
As we said above, a suspension lift might mean some adjustments. Your brake lines might need to be extended as could your driveshaft and U-Joints. If your driveline angles are altered by ten degrees or more, you could have additional stress on components like the transfer case.
• Proper alignment becomes even more critical
Getting a lifted vehicle aligned properly can be tricky, and it can require some trial and error. Improper alignment can overload stress ball joints and wear them out.
• Extreme lifts can mean needing extra accessories
It is recommended that you consider an upgraded sway bar and steering damper for lateral stability. Without the upgrades you can end up with a vehicle that wanders, is hard to drive over bumps, and is unpredictable, all of which can be dangerous.
• City driving can get complicated
Parking garages could be out, as could some drive-thrus and car washes! It can also make using the truck bed itself less practical, depending on the height. If this is just for show or for off-road adventure, you’re fine. If this is your everyday vehicle, you might have some things to consider!
What About Service and Warranty Coverage?
Most dealerships are going to defer service on a lifted vehicle. You will need alignments, and of course you’ll still need things like oil changes. D&S can help you will all of those needs, and you can always contact us for continuing service needs. As for warranty, an altered suspension system can absolutely void out some manufacturers warranties. To be sure about coverage, you’ll need to consult with your dealership for confirmation. Most of our lifts carry a parts warranty, and our accessory department would be happy to handle any lift kit warranty questions that you might have!
So, now you’ve thought it through, you know what to expect, and it’s time to move forward. D&S Automotive is Northeast Ohio’s lift kit installation expert. We’ve got the experience, the technicians to make it happen, and great parts from BDS Suspension, Rough Country Suspension Systems, Zone Offroad Products, Superlift Suspension and more. When you put all of that together, you’ve got the best team and products in the area to get your truck looking and performing just like you envision it. Consult with our team today, and let’s make your dream truck or Jeep a reality!