Do you love doing some serious off-roading? If yes, you should consider getting a lift kit for your SUV or truck to get that much-needed ground clearance to help you easily traverse any terrain. But you shouldn’t just buy the first lift kit on the market. Instead, you should research and examine the different types of lift kits that don’t operate in the same way.
The best thing about lift kits is that they don’t negatively affect your vehicle’s ride quality because they don’t interfere with the suspension. However, the same can’t be said for suspension lift kits that alter with the suspensions, affecting your truck’s overall drive quality.
Installing lift kits also revitalizes your car’s overall look making it more pleasing to the eye. Continue reading this in-depth article to learn valuable insights before buying and using a lift kit for your vehicle.
What’s A Lift Kit?
Before you jump the gun and visit here to start your search for a lift kit, you must first take your time to understand what it is exactly. A lift kit is an aftermarket car modification that lifts the body or suspension that raises the vehicle’s ground clearance. This suspension enhancement device which raises your vehicle’s ride height typically consists of metal springs and shock absorbers, as well as other components that increase the suspension travel or distance between the wheels and the ground.
Lift kits can be installed on most vehicles, from cars to trucks, SUVs, and even ATVs. Some kits are designed to raise vehicles by only 2 inches, while others can lift them by up to 6 feet. This results in a better-performing vehicle with increased ground clearance by creating more room for large tires and improved handling and off-road capability. After installing the lift kit, you can install taller wheels because the wheels ride a lot higher.
There are two main types of lift kits, namely body lifts and suspension lifts. Understanding these two types of lift kits is essential for practical and financial reasons. With that said, let’s take a deeper look at the differences between these types of lift kits:
1. Body Lift Kit
A body lift raises the car’s body by extending the frame slightly from the chassis, typically by 1-2 inches, and then uses spacers to fill in the gaps between the body and frame. This lift kit won’t increase your ground clearance but creates additional room to fit bigger tires and wheels on your truck or SUV. The body lift kit also gives you more room under your truck for off-road accessories such as winches, lights, and racks.
As the name suggests, the body lift kit doesn’t tamper with your car’s suspension and wheel components but instead basically lifts your car’s body. Besides allowing more room for the bigger tires, the body lift kits are great if you want your car to have an aggressive posture.
Some of the advantages you’ll enjoy from installing the body lift kit include the following:
- Wheel alignment isn’t necessary because the body lift kit is built over the unaltered stock suspension systems.
- Installing body lift kits is a lot cheaper compared to suspension kits while still lifting your car’s height.
- It increases ground clearance, allowing room for possible improvement in your car’s turning radius.
- Installing the body lift kit is easy and straightforward, so you can do it as a DIY project if you’re passionate about mechanical car repairs.
- Body lift kits don’t alter your vehicle’s ride handling or quality but only look to change its performance attributes.
However, the body lift kits do have some downsides which you need to be aware of before opting to install it on your SUV or truck, and these include:
- Body lift kits can place additional pressure on different components of your car, which over time, causes them to weaken and eventually break, forcing you to schedule repairs.
- It doesn’t optimize or improve your car’s overall performance in any manner.
- There’s a noticeable gap between the chassis and body which might not be very pleasing to the eye of some individuals.
- You don’t need to buy new shocks to install body lift kits.
- Body lift kits don’t increase ground clearance, so they don’t provide any definite edge if you love serious off-roading.
2. Suspension Lift Kit
The suspension lift increases your vehicle’s ground clearance by replacing your factory suspension components with longer ones that are designed to fit larger tires. The different stock suspension components that are changed when installing suspension lift kits include heightened leaf springs, coil spring spacers, longer coil springs, and torsion bar keys. With suspension lift kits, you get improved ground clearance and additional space to fit bigger wheels and tires.
There are several reasons why suspension lift kits are a great aftermarket addition to your vehicle, and these include the following:
- They enhance your car’s visibility thanks to the higher ground clearance, thereby boosting your driving experience.
- They boost your vehicle’s suspension qualities, making it better suited to handle rugged off-road conditions such as road crawling.
- It enhances turning radius and wheel articulation by increasing clearance around the vehicle’s tires.
- Your car’s aesthetic appeal is maintained because there isn’t a noticeable gap between the body and chassis.
- You can lift your truck or SUV as high as you wish, unlike body lift kits which limit you to a couple of inches.
- They’re a lot stronger than body lift kits, making them a better pick if you often do a lot of off-roading, as they won’t get destroyed soon.
But as is the case with body lift kits, suspension lift kits also do have their drawbacks including:
- They’re a lot more expensive to install than body lift kits.
- Suspension lift kits lift your vehicle’s center of gravity, which can affect your car’s driving both off and on-road.
- Installing suspension lift kits is much more complicated because it might involve welding and cutting. Therefore, it must always be done by a qualified mechanic and will still take a lot of time to be completed.
- You’ll need to overhaul the entire suspension system of your vehicle if you opt for suspension lift kits. As a result, this alters your vehicle’s handling and ride quality because the suspension system is no longer stocked as the way the manufacturer intended.
- It’s advisable you do additional modifications to different parts of your car. For instance, you’ll need to modify the front CV axles to avoid joint separation as well as the driveshaft and rear end to avoid issues of too much u-joint wear.
Types Of Lift Kits
There’s a broad range of suspension lift kits. You need to understand the difference between all these to know which one best suit your car and needs. Here’s a look at the various kinds of lift kits to guide you into picking out the perfect one:
- Beam Suspensions
They’re one of the most common suspension lift kits used by off-roading enthusiasts. During the installation of beam suspensions, the leaf springs are removed and replaced with a continuous bar stretching across the entire axle to support your car’s frame. It doesn’t boast a great load-carrying capacity, but it isn’t that expensive, making it an ideal pick if you’re on a budget.
- Spring Over Axle Lift Kits
This kind of suspension lift kit does a great job of increasing your vehicle’s ground clearance. It also simultaneously boosts your SUV’s wheel articulation, and this helps deliver better traction when traveling through rough terrain.
You should consider getting the spring-over axle lift kit if you’re a serious rock crawler because this type of suspension lift can travel through rough terrain with different levels of height. It does this by ensuring your vehicle’s tires maintain maximum traction with the ground and accurately lifting the springs to guarantee your safety.
- Leaf Spring Suspension
This type of suspension lift kit should be installed by getting rid of the old leaves and replacing them with newer ones. It creates more room between the frame and axle plus boosts your vehicle’s load-carrying capabilities.
- Shackle Reverse (S/R) Suspension Lift Kits
If you love traversing mildly rough terrains such as forests and deserts to enjoy the scenic views, you need to install the shackle reverse suspension lift kits to your car. These lift kits do a great job of absorbing shocks when traveling through such bumpy terrain. This suspension lift works by the shackle getting moved to the spring’s back while the solid mount goes to the front, which is why it’s called the reverse shackle.
- Coil Suspension Lift Kits
These suspension lift kits are popular among off-roading enthusiasts because they provide a superb all-around experience when driving your truck or SUV, thanks to its excellent handling, traction, smooth ride, and perfect height. The coil suspension lift kits also give you plenty of room to alter your vehicle’s ride style, whether it’s the dampening or its height.
The coil suspension lift kits have these many benefits despite having cheaper springs that’d need welding during installation. This is because it offers you superb articulation, which helps make you comfortable when traveling on rough terrain.
Choosing The Best Lift Kit
There are several factors you need to consider before deciding to install lift kits on your car. Below is an overview of the things you need to consider to help you choose the best lift kit:
1. Your Budget
You must consider your budget when looking for the best lift kit for your truck or SUV. Ideally, you should go for a lift kit that’s reasonably priced because this often strikes the perfect balance between delivering superb ride quality and durability to affordability.
It’s best to avoid the costly lift kits because these, in most instances, tend to be overpriced due to marketing ploys. Likewise, keep away from the very cheap ones because they’re of poor quality; at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
2. The Right Brand
You’re spoilt for choice regarding the manufacturer from whom to buy your truck’s lift kit. However, you want lift kits from a manufacturer that guarantees superb quality. To help you pick out one manufacturer over another, you should consider the quality of components, performance capability, customer service, warranty, ride quality, cost, and ease of installation.
The best way to find out which manufacturer makes a quality lift kit to buy for your SUV is by reading customer reviews. Reading customer reviews on platforms such as Amazon will help you determine the ideal lift kit depending on your car’s make, year of manufacture, and model.
3. Your Desired Height
The height that lift kits raise your car differs depending on whether you go for the suspension lift kits or body lift kits. Therefore, you should first identify your needs to help you make a prudent decision.
If you want a lift kit capable of going over rugged terrain such as rocky grounds, suspension lift kits would be better picks. In contrast, body lift kits would be perfect if you aren’t into too much off-roading yet want greater tire clearance.
4. Quality Of Shocks
Another way to know the best lift kit for your car is by inspecting the quality of the shocks. This is essential because shocks directly impact your truck’s ride quality. Buying cheap lift kits means you’re most likely getting one with inferior-quality shocks, and this negatively affects your car’s overall ride quality.
Is Getting A Lift Kit Worth It?
Most probably, you’re asking yourself this question if you’re on the fence about whether to get lift kits for your car. There’s no simple answer because you need to examine the pros and cons to determine if getting this aftermarket addition would be a wise decision. This is especially crucial considering certain downsides associated with installing the lift kit such as poor gas mileage and voiding your vehicle’s warranty.
Because lift kits haven’t been made to be the same, you need to be careful to decide which is best suited to your vehicle. If you’re into off-roading or live in an area with harsh terrain, it’ll ensure that your comfort inside your vehicle isn’t compromised, thanks to enhanced ride quality. If you don’t know where to start in your search for your truck’s lift kit, worry not. This in-depth guide details what you need to consider when searching for a lift kit.