The Ins and Outs of Lifting Your Truck
Buying a new truck is like purchasing an adult-sized Lego set, there is an endless array of ways to customize your rig. There’s tinting, off-road bumpers, and of course, big tires. But the lingering question is always this: should you lift your truck? You’ll need to consider a few important things before taking the plunge. Do you like how your truck drives?
Lift kits are very good at providing one thing – lift – however, what you can’t always count on is ride comfort. The factory tunes the suspension of each vehicle extensively to offer the best possible ride, utility, and performance. Adding a two- or three-inch lift is a sure-fire way to upset that balance, which can make city-driving an absolute nightmare. When buying a lift, make sure that the kit is designed specifically for your vehicle and that it is soft enough to allow for daily driving.
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How much are you willing to spend?
Lift kits vary widely in price and complexity, but like many things – you get what you pay for. “Pucks” and “spacers” that sit above or within the coil spring and “Add-A-Leafs” for the rear leaf springs are two cheap and cost-effective ways to raise your vehicle. But these have a tendency to adversely affect handling and ride comfort. Buying a complete set of coils or leaf springs will quickly jack-up the price of your purchase, but generally the end result is much superior.
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Will you install it yourself?
Many people overlook the fact that buying a lift is just step one– installing it is another. If you have the experience, the garage, the tools, and the time, it can be done in an hour or two. But if you’re new to the lifted scene, make sure you seek help from a friend or a trusted mechanic. Trust us, compressed coils are a force to be reckoned with.
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It’s never that easy.
It isn’t uncommon for drivers to experience odd shakes, wobbles, vibrations or noises after they install a suspension kit. This occurs because lift kits change the geometry of your driveline, creating a steeper angle between the differential and driveshaft. If left untreated, a severe angle could lead to a very expensive repair bill, so make sure to use an angle gauge to check to make sure everything is to spec once the lift is complete. If things don’t line up quite right, you can install degree shims to lessen some of those angles.
Just know what you’re getting into. Cruising through the trails in a lifted truck can be one of the best feelings around, but know that there is always compromise. Those who spend $100 on a lift kit are rarely pleased with the end result. If you’re going to go through with it, do your research and do it right the first time.