How to Choose Truck Lift Kits

Deciding on vehicle suspension alterations, whether to lift, level or lower your truck or SUV should be considered seriously. Take in to account the vehicle, and think about how you will use it with the suspension alteration. The trucks or SUVs that we use for a multitude of different purposes; daily-driving, work truck, or a weekend project work vehicle with the possibility of some off-roading.

The following points should be considered when purchasing a suspension lift kit

The height of the Lift: Will you be playing in the mud, driving over boulders or just want a bolder lifted stance when driving around town? If you live in a flood or hurricane prone area, a little lift makes a lot of sense.

Lift the Front, Back or Both: You can purchase inexpensive lift kits to just lift the rear of your truck or more expensive kits to lift the front and back in different heights. Can You Use Stock Wheels and Tires: Some of the more expensive truck lift kits depending on the height of lift will require you to change out your stock tires and wheels adding to the cost of the project.

Are Shocks Included: Does the truck lift kit provide performance shocks to support the desired lift and performance? Some kits require you to upgrade to a performance shock adding to your cost of the lift.

Basic Vehicle Modifications: Some truck lift kits require you to extend your steering column, lift your bumpers, lower your fan shroud and connected parts to prevent overheating. Some may require exhaust modifications and some welding and/or cutting may be necessary.

Vehicles Factory Warranty: Installation of certain suspension lift kit components may void your vehicle’s factory warranty as it pertains to certain covered parts; check with your local dealer for warranty coverage before installation of a lift.

Professional Installation or Do It Yourself: Some of the suspension lift kits can be somewhat tricky to install and may require more than your two hands. If your good with tools, mechanical stuff and have a buddy who’ll help, you probably want to have any problems. All the kits I reviewed come with complete instructions and tech support from the manufacturer.

Advantages of a lift:

  • Ensures better ground clearance
  • Lessens adverse impact on your vehicle from uneven terrain
  • Gives your vehicle a rugged look
  • Your friends look up to you

Types of lifts

There are two types of lifts: body lifts and suspension lifts. Body lifts involve using a system of blocks to raise your vehicle above the frame. If you are looking for only a visual effect, and not a great performance, then go for a body lift, which is cheaper. But if you are looking for quality performance, and are prepared to pay for it, then you need a suspension lift.

Your Chevy’s suspension may need to be modified, depending on the kind of springs it comes with. For instance, if your Chevy comes with torsion bar suspensions, tuned torsion keys or longer bars could be needed. If the factory-fitted springs are coil springs, both fore, and aft, they could have to be replaced by taller springs. Similarly, if your Chevy’s rear sports leaf springs, adding some leaf inserts could be the solution.

Your truck will also get a new bigger steering column, in keeping with its more extensive profile.

Installation:

You should get the installation done by a professional. Do not risk your vehicle’s stability, in the hands of an amateur mechanic.

Price:

The price varies, (usually in the range of $100-500) depending on the kind of lift you select, as well as the brand, and source from which you buy.

Flipside:

With most suspension lift kits, you end up wearing out CV joints and ball joints. The rear suspension is easier to lift with shackles or add-a-leaf; the front is more difficult to do without losing ride quality. No matter what you do to lift, there will be some loss of ride quality, but you can minimize the effect, by choosing a good kit, and installer.

Report Card:

If the installation is properly done, you’ll whiz through any terrain; parking barriers will no longer threaten you; hills and bumps will look smaller than they are; when caught in a traffic snarl, you can get away by making your own lane. Also, your social life will change for the better. So, if you’re looking more prominent, worse, and more robust, go for it!

Brands recommended:

Air-lift, Superlift, Fabtech, and Truxxx. (They supply lifts for both 4WD and 2WD trucks.)

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