How To Choose the Best Suspension System For Your Truck and Where to Get it Installed
There are lots of reasons you might want to install a lift kit on your truck or SUV. Maybe you want to increase your off-road capabilities, you want to install larger tires, or you just want it for aesthetics. There are a whole bunch of reasons you might want a lifted truck.
Before you go out and buy your lift system, take some time to educate yourself on the best ones, and what can go wrong if you don’t get it installed correctly. No matter what your reasons for wanting a bigger truck, SUV, or Jeep, you are totally justified. But if you want advice from professionals, keep reading to figure out how to get your lift kit done right this summer!
What is a Lift Kit?
So first off, let’s define what we mean by lift kit. It’s a term that’s commonly used to describe a couple of different things that all look aesthetically similar. What we actually mean is the more general term suspension lift, which can happen two different ways, with a lift kit, and with a leaf spring lift.
Types of Lifts: Lift Kit, Leaf Spring Lift and Truck Leveling Kits
- A Lift Kit is an aftermarket product package used to raise the suspension of a specific make and model of truck or SUV. Some kits only provide the most critical and hard to find pieces, leaving the literal nuts and bolts up to you and your workbench. Other kits come with almost everything you need like lift blocks and coil spring/strut spacers. Lift Kits lift the suspension of your vehicle and help to give better handling in off-road environments and allow for bigger wheels and tires.
- A Leaf Spring Lift is probably the most simple method of adjusting your truck or SUV height. Vehicles outfitted with leaf springs just have to add more leaves. If you’re unaware, leaf springs are just layered pieces of steel that absorb the shock your car feels from going over bumps in the road. By adding more leaves, you can effectively raise the height of your vehicle. However, this does not increase your suspension at all and can prove to be a rougher ride.
- The last type of lift on our list isn’t a suspension lift at all. Truck Leveling Kits don’t actually adjust your suspension. Truck leveling kits add space on top of your suspension system, giving the aesthetic of a lifted truck without actually changing the suspension. This does not improve your vehicle’s off-road capabilities. So if you actually want to fling some mud, we’d advise staying away from a leveling kit.
How Hard Is It To Install a Lift Kit?
While we’d like to give you a uniform answer to that question, it really varies depending on the kit and the vehicle. Perhaps most of all, it depends on your knowledge of cars and tools. But if you want a boost of confidence, take a look at this thread on a Wrangler forum titled “Should I Install a Lift Kit Myself or Am I Crazy?“.
Someone without extensive knowledge asks the simple question, am I biting off more than I can chew? Well, the responses are overwhelmingly supportive. Most folks say that with a little help and the right tools, it shouldn’t be too difficult to install a lift kit, but of course, that’s not every story.
Like we said earlier, lift kits don’t come with all the same parts. Extensive lift kits tend to need very serious modifications to the vehicle. Replacing control arms, trailing arms, and entire drive shafts are not uncommon on bigger jobs. Remember, you’re going to be changing the way this car is shaped underneath. Your arms or drive shaft may need extensions to accommodate new steering geometry.
While some kits can be simple, the implications to your vehicle’s handling are much more complex. So if you do plan to get a lift kit and install it yourself, take time. Take time to see how your handling is affected, your braking, your line of sight. There’s a lot of subtle differences, but when installed correctly, lift kits are a beautiful thing.
If you want to see what a professional installation looks like, check out our buddies at Les Schwab install a Fabtech kit on a 2016 Dodge Ram.
What are the Best Lift Kits?
Sorry if we scared you a little bit, but it’s important to know that not every installation is going to be simple. If you want an installation that is going to be simple, check out some of our picks for great quality and easy-to-install lift kits that are out on the market now.
Zone Offroad Products
Zone Offroad Products offers lift kits that are competitively priced and made with ease of installation in mind. They have lifts from as low as 1.5” all the way up to 8”. The lift kits come equipped with a variety of parts like taller coil springs, billet spacers, additional leaf spacers, relocation brackets- everything you need to get your higher vantage point.
But don’t take our word for it, here’s a customer review from a Jeep driver who was able to install the kit himself and loves it!
Fabtech Motor Sports
Our buddies at Fabtech are always a quick recommendation from us. They have a huge selection of kits for almost every make and model under the sun. They build all of their parts in house to the highest standards of quality, and they back it up with great warranties on their products for free. It should be noted that you are only eligible for this warranty if you have a professional installation. While they can guarantee their product, they can’t guarantee sub-par workmanship.
If you look at lifted trucks side by side, you’re going to notice the truck with the Superlift kit. The reason is that Superlift has lift kits that go all the way up to 12”. Of course they offer the standard 1.5”-8” for most models, but if you want to go even higher, Superlift is one of the only options. Luckily it’s also a great option. The biggest kits come with everything you need to accommodate your increased size that you might not be thinking of, like new brake hoses. They also offer a limited lifetime warranty because they’re confident in their superior suspension lift kits.
How Can I Make Sure I Get My Lift Kit Done Right?
Just like people, lift kits come in all different shapes and sizes. Some come with more or fewer parts, some come with more or less warranty protection, but with the right knowledge, they all come with exactly what you need. However, the only way to ensure that your lift kit is installed correctly is to get it done by a professional.
When we say done correctly, we don’t just mean that your truck is higher. We mean that your truck is safe, and most importantly that the driver is safe. An unsafe vehicle makes for an unsafe road, and as we said before, there are lots of subtle adjustments that come with changing your suspension system. There are changes to your handling and different laws in each state regarding heights, and bumper, light and license plate placements.
If you want installation done by professionals with the knowledge and tools you know you can trust, there’s only one thing to do. Contact the suspension experts at your local Northwest Motorsport and see how you can even enter to win a lifted truck!