Truck & Jeep Lifts 101: How to Give Your Ride the Height It Deserves

If you’re interested in raising your truck or jeep with a lift kit, we’re here to walk you through everything you need to know. There are lots of options when it comes to truck and jeep lifts, but one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is how high. Lift kits range from the small, usually adding just an inch or two, to the extremely large, with some adding 8 inches or more to the height of your vehicle. So, how high is too high?

We’ll help you make sense of the different sizes of lift kits, so you can make the right decision for your vehicle. Give your ride the height it deserves with these truck lift kit tips.

Why Jeep and Truck Lifts?

If you’re not sure if or why you need a truck lift kit, there are generally two reasons for this. The first being style—i.e., you want to impress everyone you pass on the road by driving a truck or jeep with larger tires and aftermarket wheels. Maybe you still plan on driving on the highway to get to work every morning, but you love the idea of driving the toughest truck in town.

The other reason being function. Investing in an off-road truck or jeep lift kit means giving your vehicle more ground clearance. The body of your truck or jeep will rise a few inches or more, so you don’t have to worry about smashing the front of your vehicle into large rocks, boulders, and other obstacles. This usually means you love cruising through the outdoors, going off-road, and exploring all that nature has to offer. More ground clearance also gives you the freedom to add larger tires to your vehicle, so you’ll have more traction when you’re driving over rocks, snow, ice, and mud.

Finding the Right Height for Your Truck or Jeep

Once you have a better idea of why you want to raise your truck or jeep, you can start looking at some different lift kit brands—but, before you buy, here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you go about lifting your vehicle:

How Do You Plan to Use Your Vehicle?

Before you invest in your first truck suspension kit, you should ask yourself how you plan on using your new creation.

If you want to use your truck to run errands and get to and from work, you’re probably better off with a smaller lift kit—one that’s just an inch or two tall. You won’t notice too much of a change in terms of your driving experience, and you’ll still have plenty of room for bigger tires.

If you plan on tackling the outdoors, cruising up and down the side of a mountain or roaming through uncharted forests, you might want to upgrade to a larger lift kit for more ground clearance. Lifting up your truck or jeep will allow for larger tires and help you avoid more obstacles in nature, so you won’t damage the underbelly of your vehicle or get stuck moving over a large boulder.

DIY or Hire a Mechanic?

Another consideration to keep in mind is how you plan on installing your lift kit. Certain smaller jeep lift kits are relatively easy to install. If you’re fairly familiar with your vehicle, you could attempt to install the kit yourself without the help of a mechanic, which will help you save money.

Larger lift kits tend to be more complicated. Few may even require you to weld a few items to your truck. Unless you’re an experienced welder or mechanic, it’s usually best to leave this to the professionals. If you order a lift kit online, make sure you can find someone nearby to install it for you.

Handling Your Vehicle

Smaller lift kits won’t affect your ability to control your vehicle on the road. You’ll sit up a little higher when you’re behind the wheel and, depending on the exact make and model of your truck or jeep, you should be able to drive as you would normally.

Larger lift kits or those that raise the body of your vehicle by more than a few inches will alter your car’s center of gravity, which can slightly alter how the vehicle handles. Understanding your vehicle’s center of gravity can help you avoid costly accidents on the road. Yet, with a little bit of practice, you should be able to get the hang of it. If you plan on squeezing into tight parking spaces or parallel park in the city, you might want to choose a smaller lift kit.

If you’re going for larger tires, you might have more trouble cruising along the highway. Wider, thicker tires can wear away faster on the highway. You might also hear a lot of noise when your truck or jeep reaches top speeds. If you’re a long distance commuter, you might want to stick with a smaller lift kit.

Legal Issues and Permits

Some states have strict laws regarding truck lift kits. If you raise the body too much, you could be in violation of your area’s safe-driving regulations. For instance, Iowa is in the middle of passing a law that would limit lift suspensions to just five inches. Take a minute to brush up on the truck suspension laws in your state, city, or province.

Special Modifications

Every vehicle is different. Some makes and models may need special modifications before you can install a lift kit. Make sure the lift kit is compatible with your make and model and check to see if you need to install additional parts, such as new wheels, axles, or gears. 

Is It for You?

Raising your truck or jeep is an exciting prospect. You can cruise over obstacles that would otherwise be a hassle, and you’re sure to have the biggest, meanest truck in the neighborhood. However, make sure you know what you want to get out of these modifications before you spend the money. Keep these considerations in mind as you go about finding and installing your first lift kit.

Kelly Tuttle serves as the Web Content Manager for Truck Hero and Superlift. Kelly oversees all Web Content including copy, video, images, and SEO for Truck Hero from the Ann Arbor, MI headquarters. Before joining Truck Hero, Kelly was the Sales, Marketing and Web Coordinator for Milacron, Inc. In her free time, Kelly enjoys everything about the outdoors including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and spending time with her animals.

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