On one hand, you want your truck to be exceptionally cool. On the other hand, you do not want to ruin the performance of your vehicle. So, should you install a lift kit?
There are plenty of exceedingly good reasons to put a lift kit on a truck, but there are some challenges you should know about before you begin the process. Here are the basic pros and cons of utilizing lift kits for trucks, so you can make an informed decision about your vehicle.
Pro: Larger Tire Capability
The primary reason many truck owners decide to install lift kits is because it provides them a greater distance between the body of their vehicle and the ground, into which they can install larger tires. Larger tires have plenty of benefits of their own:
- Larger tires increase ground clearance, which improves maneuverability in off-road scenarios.
- Larger tires maintain better traction, even in wet and cold conditions.
- Larger tires provide better handling through self-centering.
- Larger tires last longer thanks to their better performance.
Of course, larger tires come with their own set of cons, as well. Typically, you will need to update your gearing, braking and steering systems to account for the size and weight of your tires. Still, these minor adjustments could be worthwhile if you do need larger tires on your truck.
Being higher up allows you more visibility of the road around you. A lifted truck tends to provide visibility over and around other vehicles and obstacles in roadways, so you can adequately prepare and avoid dangers.
However, it is important to note that the extra visibility provided from lifting your truck is somewhat limited. The higher you go, the more you might see of the distant environment, but the less you will see of your immediate surroundings. Extremely lifted monster trucks, for example, are impractical city vehicles because their drivers have difficulty detecting small obstructions in and around streets.
Likewise, you need to be aware of the position of your headlights when you lift your truck. If you leave your lights in their stock position, they will likely shine into the horizon, where they will do little to improve your nighttime visibility but impair the view of other drivers on the road. It might be wise to install auxiliary lights in the bumpers or on the roof of your truck if you need much more illumination during your off-roading adventures.
Pro: Easier Towing Capacity
With a stock suspension, a truck typically starts to squat under a particularly heavy load. Squatting is when the front of the truck starts to point up as the back is pushed down under the weight it is carrying or towing. Some truck owners like the look of the squat; in fact, the “Carolina Squat” is a suspension modification that makes this angle of the truck permanent. However, squatting is typically bad for the vehicle’s performance, and it radically reduces visibility, endangering the truck’s driver and all other motorists on the road.
Lift kits can combat the effects of heavy loads and reduce squatting, allowing you to tow more safely and efficiently. Lifting the suspension properly should prevent the truck from bottoming out. Plus, you can install additional upgrades during the lift to assist with towing, like a weight-distributing hitch and additional springs.
For many truck drivers, the look of the vehicle is just as important as its functionality. If you appreciate the appearance of a properly lifted truck, you will likely love the look of your own truck once a lift kit is installed.
Con: Worse Fuel Economy
Though lifted trucks in and of themselves are not more gas-guzzling than models with stock suspension, the addition of larger tires tends to reduce fuel economy. You will need to use more fuel to get your larger tires rolling, and considering the current state of gas prices, you might want to hold off on lifting your truck or installing new tires unless you can afford the extra fuel expense.
Con: Gravity Dangers
A taller person has a higher center of gravity. The same goes for a truck. When the center of gravity rises on a vehicle, the risk of rollover increases, especially during sharp turns. Fortunately, as long as you drive safely, you should never find the new center of gravity on your lifted truck to be an issue.
If you want to lift your truck, there are not many downsides to consider beyond cost and competency. Generally, it is a good idea to use a high-quality lift kit and employ the services of an experienced mechanic who can ensure that everything is in working order on your cool new vehicle.