How Does a Truck Lift Kit Work?

Lift kits increase a truck’s off-road capability by creating greater ground clearance and more room for larger tires. Lift kits allow vehicles to clear larger rocks and other obstacles that are common when driving off-road. The greater suspension also smooths out bumps in a rough road, especially when travelling at higher speeds. When considering a lift kit for your truck, it’s important to research additional modifications required to your vehicle, the tire size you desire, and the installation process.

Lift Kit ModificationsModifications

A lift kit may require additional modifications to your vehicle during the installation process, depending on the height you’re going for as well as the model of your truck. These modifications may include extending the gearshift through the truck floorboard and raising the truck’s bumpers. The truck may need to be re-geared to accommodate a change in tire size if the truck is going to have larger tires. Re-gearing may also be necessary to retain the truck’s original mileage. Truck owners should provide a professional truck mechanic with information about the truck model and lift kit to determine if re-gearing will be necessary.

Also, when you alter the suspension and tire height, you also change the shock absorbing system. Sometimes the ride becomes less comfortable as a result. You may need a new shock absorber, so consider looking for a lift kit that has one included. Otherwise, this will be an added expense.

According to ‘How Off-road Vehicles Work,’ a vehicle’s suspension has three main jobs: smooth out bumps, keep tires touching the road and control vehicle stability. The spring absorbs the energy of forces acting on your wheels. The two most common types of springs are coil springs and leaf springs. Both types absorb energy well, but require shock absorbers to decrease or dampen their vibration after hitting a bump. Read more about the difference between a body lift kit and a suspension kit »

Lift Kit Modifications

Tire Size

According to ‘5 Things You Should Know About Car Lift Kits,’ the best way to avoid the use of a wheel adaptor/spacer when installing a new lift kit is to purchase the wheels after buying the kit (not before). This is because many lift kits require a minimum rim offset to work. Wheel adaptors/spacers help get the wheels compatible with the vehicle and its kit, but are an added expense and may still not be sufficient to comply with the needs of a lift kit.

Lift Kit ModificationsInstallation

Although truck owners with mechanical proficiency are able to install their own lift kits, most drivers opt to hire a qualified shop mechanic to do so instead. This prevents any necessary steps from being missed (which could be dangerous) and user error from taking place. The best way to ensure that a shop has experienced mechanics is to do extensive research before hiring anyone.

Most truck manufacturers in the United States are generally prohibited from voiding a warranty due to the installation of an aftermarket part. However, aftermarket parts are often used as the basis for denying a warranty claim. Truck owners should therefore ask the dealership about the effects of installing a lift kit while the truck is under warranty.

Summary

There are several aspects of installing a lifted kit that are important to consider before beginning the process, such as the cost. The price of a lift kit varies greatly depending on the manufacturer, as well as the type of lift (a body lift vs. a suspension lift). Also, if you’re going to be purchasing four new tires for your truck after you’ve installed a lift kit, that’s a costly added expense to consider. New tires may not be necessary from a performance standpoint, but stock tires can appear cosmetically unappealing inside high wheel wells. Additionally, it’s important to consider modifications required for a lift kit, as well as the installation process involved.

Sources:

http://www.4wheeloffroad.com/techarticles/suspension/131_0708_4x4_front_lift_blocks/index.html
http://www.jedi.com/obiwan/jeep/addaleaf.html
http://www.autoanything.com/suspension-systems/what-do-lift-kits-do.aspx