Should You Lift Your Truck? 7 Advantages to Up-Sizing Your Ride
For drivers looking to customize their pickup, there’s no shortage of options. From tonneau covers and winches to bull bars, step bars, and heavy-duty hitches, the market is full of accessories allowing you to customize a truck to your exact specifications. Among these, few improvements are quite as dramatic as a lift kit. While other accessories might improve a pickup’s appearance, utility, or convenience, lift kits can transform a truck entirely, elevating the entire vehicle from anywhere between two and nine inches.
As your Atlanta lifted truck dealer, we can tell you that there are a lot of benefits to having a lifted truck. It’s worth lifting a truck for the enhanced view and ride height alone, but many drivers value this modification for the increased ground clearance, which opens the door to all sorts of off-road fun. If you’ve ever dreamed of cruising the highway or off-road trails in your own mini monster truck, you’ve come to the right place, so let’s get into the difference between the two primary types of lift kits and discuss some of the advantages of a lifted truck.
Types of Lift Kits
Before we get into some of the advantages associated with lift kits, we need to take a minute to break down the two primary types of lift kits: suspension lift kits and body lift kits. When drivers talk about lift kits, they’re often referring to the first type, which lifts the pickup’s suspension along with every other part of the vehicle by anywhere from two to nine inches. Body lift kits, on the other hand, don’t improve ground clearance at all; they simply only the body of the truck away from the frame and are usually limited to between two and five inches. While this can provide some advantages in ride height and overall visibility behind the wheel, it’s a less functional improvement than a suspension lift which gives a truck the type of increased ground clearance that can come in handy when dodging off-road obstacles. A more modest increase in ground clearance can technically be had with body lift kits, but this has more to do with the fact that they can accommodate larger off-road tires than anything about the actual lift kit itself.
So why would a driver opt for a body lift kit with the seemingly superior suspension lift kit on the table? Well, cost, for one. While a suspension lift kit can go a long way in upping a pickup’s off-road credentials, it can cost a pretty penny. While a body lift kit can be had for anywhere between $100 and $750, a suspension lift is going to cost $300 at minimum and up to $2,000, and that’s before installation. That raises another point: while body lift kits can usually be installed by any reasonably competent at-home mechanic, a suspension lift kit is a much larger job requiring not only a good deal of mechanical know-how but a number of tools that the average D.I.Y.-er is probably not going to have laying around. Suspension lifts can take anywhere from 10 to 15 hours to install, compared to two to seven hours for a body lift kit.
Going the professional route adds a good chunk of change to the bottom line, with mechanics charging between $400 and $2,500 for a full suspension lift. This is due to the fact that suspension lift kits require a lot more work than body lift kits, often requiring installers to replace or alter other components to compensate for the pickup’s new alignment angles and lengthen brake lines. That’s not to say that body lift kits are a walk in the park: they also require a driver to adjust a vehicle’s steering angle, brake lines, and transmission linkage, but these additional components are usually included as part of the kit and require no additional investment.
Advantages of Lift Kits
There are plenty of advantages to installing a lift kit, especially a suspension lift kit, and the disadvantages are all relatively minor. The biggest concern when it comes to installing a lift kit is how it may change a vehicle’s center of gravity. The effect of a body lift kit isn’t as drastic as it only raises about 20 percent of the vehicle’s total weight, but a suspension lift kit can elevate as much as 90 percent of a vehicle’s total weight. A higher center of gravity can result in more body roll, which can affect a vehicle’s stability and result in a less responsive ride. Other cons to lifting a vehicle include the possible voiding of your warranty and possibly even decreased fuel economy, depending on the weight of the kit and the size of any upgraded tires. That said, there are plenty of reasons to give your pickup the old lift treatment, so let’s dive into some of those below.
There’s no beating the view you’ll get from behind the wheel of a lifted truck. With body lift kits offering between two and five inches of lift and a suspension lift kit giving drivers as much as nine inches of increased height, you’ll have a birds-eye view of everything on the road. This can make all the difference when it comes to spotting upcoming road hazards, traffic jams, and other vehicles, improving your overall driving safety and confidence. You’ll also stand out more on the road, making it easier for other drivers and pedestrians to spot you and avoid any potential collisions.
#2: Improved Ground Clearance
Gaining some additional ground clearance is the most common reason drivers opt to install a suspension lift kit. From off-road obstacles like rocks, fallen logs, mud pits, and sand to common road hazards like speed bumps, curbs, and railroad tracks, you’ll be able to clear most impediments with a minimum of fuss. There’s a reason almost every off-road truck on the market includes some sort of suspension lift: it’s the easiest way to ensure that your backcountry adventures don’t turn into an unexpected overnight trip.
#3: Access to Underbody
The additional clearance offered by a lift kit means that it’ll be easier than ever to access some of those hard-to-reach corners of your vehicle’s undercarriage. This is especially handy for avid off-roaders who might want to check for any potential damage after a particularly rough ride. It also means less reliance on a vehicle jack and jack stands to get underneath the vehicle, making spot maintenance and repairs easier than ever.
Lifting a truck doesn’t necessarily help a truck’s towing capacity, but it doesn’t hurt it much, either. The biggest advantage when it comes to towing with a lifted truck is the fact that thanks to the added clearance and ride height, a lifted truck is less likely to bottom out when you’re towing or hauling a heavy load. Lifted trucks might require a drop trailer hitch to accommodate the increased ride height, but you’ll still be able to tow just as much as you always have.
#5: Larger Tires
The improved ride height and ground clearance of a lifted truck also allow drivers to switch out their stock tires for an upsized set of off-road-ready treads. Larger, all-terrain tires are a must-have for any off-road adventure, giving drivers increased traction and control on technical unpaved trails. These all-terrain tires also feature a more aggressive groove pattern than their stock siblings, giving drivers improved performance in snow, ice, and other challenging road conditions.
#6: Resale Value
This one comes with a bit of a caveat. While a lift kit will increase your truck’s appeal with a certain set of buyers, it could limit its overall appeal on the market. Not all pickup drivers are looking for a lifted beast with eight additional inches of ground clearance over the stock model. Some just want a reliable daily driver that’s reliable and low-maintenance. That said, a good lift kit can certainly raise a truck’s profile in the eyes of some buyers, especially those looking for a ready-made off-roader that’s already undergone the costly and time-consuming lift process. When selling a lifted vehicle, it’s all about reaching the right audience, so try listing the truck on off-road-specific publications, websites, or social media marketplace groups if you’re looking for a quick sale and the best possible return.
Lastly, a lifted truck just looks cooler. There’s no denying the imposing silhouette of a lifted truck, and while appearance isn’t usually the first item on a truck owner’s list, it’s a nice perk all the same. There’s just something about the feeling of being behind the wheel of a mini monster truck that you just can’t get enough of.
Maybe You Should Lift Your Truck
No matter whether you’re looking for increased ride height and ground clearance, an easier-to-access undercarriage, a better view, or just to make a statement with a lofty cabin, lift kits provide a great way to customize your ride to your exact specifications. It’s true that suspension lift kits can be an expensive, time-consuming process, but body lift kits offer many of the same advantages with a much lower barrier to entry.
Even better, go with a factory-lifted model. Automakers have been producing a whole slew of off-road-ready trucks in recent years, almost all of which include some type of suspension lift. The Chevy Silverado Trail Boss and ZR2, for example, both include a two-inch lift as a standard feature. This is pretty standard for factory-installed suspension lifts, which are usually limited to between two and three inches, but they can still go a long way in improving a pickup’s off-road performance and often come packaged with a laundry list of additional off-road components like skid plates, locking rear differentials and more. If you are interested in getting your hands on a lifted truck, come visit us, and we will help you find a model that’s already lifted or assist you in finding and installing a kit on your current model.