Lifted Trucks 101: Is it Safe to Lift my Truck?
March 18, 2021
Lift kits are usually one of the first things everyone wants to install on their truck. Not only can lift kits dramatically change the appearance of your truck, especially with a wide wheel and tire setup, but they can also affect the handling characteristics of your truck. But, is it actually safe to lift a truck? We'll find out in today's blog.
Table of Contents
Lift Kit: A lift kit raises the FRONT and REAR of your truck with either a spacer or a complete strut assembly depending on the kit
Leveling Kit: A leveling kit equally balances the height of the truck in the front and rear through a spacer that goes on the top or bottom of the front stock strut
Like the definition above describes, a lift kit lifts your truck in both the front and the rear. But here's the trick: all trucks from that factory come with a "rake" that allows the truck to naturally sit lower in the front. For most trucks, the rake is about 2-inches.
This compensates for any weight added to the bed of your truck or when you pull a trailer so that your truck sits level.
When you install a 3-inch lift kit to your truck, for example, you first need to measure the distance between the ground and the top of your wheel well in the front. For simplicity's sake, let's say that distance is 35-inches.
When you install your 3-inch lift kit, assuming your truck has a 2-inch rake in the rear, your truck will raise to 38-inches in the front, but only 36-inches in the rear.
Again, this is because your truck is already technically lifted 2-inches in the rear to compensate for any added weight.
There are many different types of lift kits out there and we understand it can become confusing when considering all your options.
Depending on your style and the purpose of your truck, the proper lift kit size will vary. Lift Kit sizes range anywhere from 2-inches to 18-inches+, but more often than not, we see 3-inch and 6-inch lifts being installed.
If you go with a kit taller than 6", there are additional suspension components you may want to get to prevent anything from breaking. Also, you will see a big difference in the handling and driving experience with your truck.
Depending on the brand you decided to go with, you may get a spacer or a completely new strut assembly to lift your truck. If you go with a spacer lift kit, it will sit at the top of your stock strut. A strut lift kit will completely replace your truck's stock strut.
Now, to the big question. Is it safe to lift my truck? You may get different answers to this question depending on who you ask, but the general answer to this is, yes.
It is safe to install a lift kit with a proper and professional installation, no crazy off-roading or driving habits, regular maintenance, and other suspension upgrades like CV axles, U-joints, ball joints, bushings, bearings, and an add-a-leaf.
If you want to install a massive lift kit, it is inevitable that you will put more stress on your truck's other suspension components and therefore run the risk of something breaking.
As far as your truck’s handling, it will likely not handle as well and for 6-inch+ lift kits, you do run the risk of rolling over if you take a corner too fast (Don’t be that guy). But as mentioned before, it is important to make the necessary upgrades to prevent anything breaking.
Depending on your style and the purpose of your truck, the proper lift kit size will vary. When you're shopping for your lift kit, the first thing to think about is your style. Ask yourself questions like...
- Do I want to build a show truck?
- Am I going to run a wide tire and wheel setup?
- Do I want to have a truck that rides comfortably for everyday use but still has that extra something to show off to my friends?
If you decide that you want to build a show truck, then you might consider going for a taller lift kit that will really grab the crowd's attention; lift kit sizes for show truck builds range from 6-inches to 18-inches+.
If you don't necessarily want to build a show truck, but you want to run some wider wheels and tires for that bulldog stance, you'll usually need a minimum of a 6-inch lift kit. However, you may need to do some trimming in your wheel well to make this work depending on your truck.
If you just want something a little extra to show off to your friends without sacrificing the comfort and driveability of your truck, we would suggest you look at 3-inch to 6-inch lift kits. This will give you that needed boost without stripping away your driving abilities.
This doesn't have to break the bank either. Rough Country offers a lot of affordable options for these types of lift kits around $1,000, depending on your truck.
As always we offer as low as 0% APR financing, for those who qualify, so you can build now and pay later.
What lift are you running or planning on running? Let us know what you think in the comments!