If you own a pickup truck, you’ve probably considered installing a lift kit. These kits tend to be popular with outdoor enthusiasts and those that like to draw attention to themselves on the road, but installing a lift kit will change certain aspects of your vehicle for better and for worse.
You should be aware of the potential risks and benefits of owning a lifted truck so you can make a more informed decision. It all depends on what you’re looking to do with your truck and how much money you’re willing to spend.
Lifted Truck Pros:
- More Ground Clearance
Lifting your truck does just what you think. It raises the suspension of the vehicle, which puts more distance between the ground and the underbelly of your truck. This can be an asset when exploring off road areas. You can drive over rocks, hills and other debris without worrying about damaging critical components.
- Thicker Tires
The best reason to lift your truck is to make space for larger tires. This increases the surface area so your tires make more contact with the road. Your tires will have more traction in the mud, rain and snow. All-weather or all-terrain tires also come with deeper grooves and better tread patterns to keep the mud and dirt at bay. It’s just what you need to take the outdoors by storm.
- Better Views
Raising the suspension also gives you a better view of your surroundings. Some people like the look of driving a tall truck with big tires, while others simply enjoy seeing more of the road. Sitting down low can make you feel small, so consider changing your perspective.
- Improved Off-Road Performance
Having a lifted truck will take you farther into the wilderness. With bigger tires, better shocks, and more ground clearance, you will be able to cruise over unpaved surfaces without batting an eye. This is a great choice if you spend a lot of time off-road. But you won’t be able to reap the benefits if you mostly use your truck to run errands and drive to work.
Lifted Truck Cons:
- Poor Handling
Raising the suspension affects the way you handle your vehicle. It raises the center of gravity, which can make it less stable and harder to control. Having wider tires can offset some of these problems, but it will take some getting used to. You will need to give yourself more time to stop and turn, as the risk of flipping over increases. You will also notice more vibrations at high speeds.
The more your lift, the more noticeable these changes will be. Some states have laws prohibiting lift kits for this reason. It is generally a bad idea to lift the suspension more than six inches. Mechanics may refuse to complete the job, citing safety issues.
- Less Fuel Efficiency
Adding a lift kit will also add weight to your vehicle, which can affect fuel efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that for every 100 pounds of additional weight, a vehicle can lose between 1% or 2% of fuel economy. If your modifications are heavier than the original components, you will likely have to pay more at the pump.
- Added Maintenance Costs
Lifting your truck can put added pressure on important components, including your brakes, suspension system, driveline, CV joints, and tires, especially if you like to put your vehicle through the wringer. You might also have to shop for replacement parts for diesel fuel systems, such as a new EGR cooler, IPR valve, and other parts that prevent permanent damage.
- Potential to Void Warranty
Adding a lift kit may also void your truck warranty, forcing you to cover the cost of repairs out of pocket. Some automakers don’t want their customers making aftermarket adjustments. Check with the manufacturer and read through your warranty to see what’s allowed and what’s not. It may also depend on the nature of the repairs. If the mechanic concludes that the damage was caused by the aftermarket part or accessory, the repairs won’t be covered under your warranty.
It’s best to start small and work your way up incrementally when lifting your truck. If you’re new to the world of lifting and leveling, start out with a two-inch lift. These kits should come with everything you need to lift the suspension, including new shocks, spacers, springs, control arms and lift blocks. Most lift kits that lift the suspension two or five inches run between $400 and $1,200, but that’s just the start of your budget.
You will also need to pay for a professional installation unless you have experience and access to the proper tools and equipment. Don’t forget about the cost of a new set of tires if you plan on going off-road. You will also need to replace diesel parts more often to make sure your truck is running smoothly. You may also have to pay more in insurance or find a new policy altogether. Talk to your insurance provider for more information.
Prepare to Leave the Road Behind
There are so many factors to keep in mind when deciding whether to lift your truck. Set aside plenty of money for the kit itself and additional accessories to make the most of your new ride. Safety should be your first priority. Don’t assume you know how to drive a lifted truck until you have some experience under your belt. Explore the outdoors with caution as you leave the pavement behind. This can be a great way to turn every trip into an adventure. Just make sure you’re prepared for the road ahead.