While stock trucks can be great performers, drivers may occasionally hit the limits of their capabilities. In many cases, a few extra inches in height can make all the difference.
If you’ve ever wished for some extra ground clearance, visibility, or an easier time seeing over a trailer, you’ve probably dreamed of installing a lift kit onto your truck.
Which Type of Lift Do You Want?
Before you make a purchase, understand that there are two main types of lift:
1. Body Lift
Body-on-frame trucks feature a frame and a separate, bolted-on body. Body lifts, therefore, use spacers to raise the body's height on the frame, allowing owners to install larger wheels and tires.
However, remember that body lifts won’t work with unibody vehicles such as the Ford Maverick since they’re built as a single unit. Additionally, a body lift won’t change the ground clearance without new tires; the possible lift is only a few inches. Nevertheless, body lifts are the cheaper and quicker option.
2. Suspension Lift
Instead of lifting the body alone, suspension lift kits increase suspension height, hence the name. It’s a much more complicated, expensive, and vehicle-specific process than a body lift, as a suspension lift requires new components, including springs, shocks, and control arms. In addition, depending on the severity of the lift, the vehicle may need a new driveshaft or half shafts.
Furthermore, what you gain in ground clearance, you may sacrifice in other areas. Driveshaft angles will be more severe, causing more strain on parts such as universal joints (U-joints) and constant velocity joints (CV-joints). Getting in and out will also be more difficult, and you will most likely need to install a new towing hitch to compensate for the increased height.
The Benefits of a Lift
Though they have their downsides, you’ll be in good company should you decide to lift, and you can expect to enjoy some significant bonuses, such as:
1. You’ll Get a Better View
As opposed to staring at the rear window of the car in front of you, you’ll be able to see over traffic with increased visibility.
2. Ground Clearance Improves
Off-roading enthusiasts will be able to clear once impassable obstacles, and you’ll also be able to get under your truck to work on it with far less effort.
3. It Allows More Tire Options
Regardless of the terrain you encounter, whether sand, dirt, mud, snow, or rock, you can find a tire that fits!
4. You Can See Past Your Trailer
You won’t have to install a camera to get a view above your trailer: Your rearview mirror will be enough.
5. Ride Quality Will Improve
When installing a lift, you can fine-tune your shock and spring setup to allow your truck to soak up bumps and potholes without transmitting harsh impacts to the occupants.
Is a Lift Right for You?
If you’re considering a lift, try driving a professionally lifted truck or two first. Talk to the owners about their experience, as plenty have lift kits and enjoy the results, and you may be one of them. If you plan on purchasing a new truck, remember that many manufacturers will lift their vehicles right from the factory.