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Lifting Your Truck Is Easier Than You Might Think

If you’re into off-roading, you’ve probably heard about lift kits. They can be an advantage off the beaten path, increasing ground clearance and making room for larger tires better suited to off-road conditions. Drivers who use them also usually enjoy the higher point of view and more muscular looks.

You may have wondered, “Is a lift kit something you can install yourself?” There’s good news if you’re considering installing a lift kit. They are less expensive than you probably think, and doing it yourself is an option. As with most things, knowledge is power. Let’s review some common questions about lift kits.

What Is a Lift Kit?

While it seems self-explanatory, it’s a little more involved than first meets the eye. A lift kit will raise your vehicle to make driving on rough terrain easier. This can be an important upgrade for off-roading or if everyday driving takes you over difficult roads. A lift kit can be as simple as lift blocks or include extended shocks, upgraded springs, new suspension components, and other parts.

What Does a Lift Kit Do?

There are two main kinds of lift kits. Suspension lifts raise your vehicle by altering the suspension geometry to place the frame of the vehicle higher above the ground. Body lifts work by simply lifting the body above the frame with spacers. Both methods will allow you to fit larger wheels, but only a suspension lift will significantly increase your vehicle’s ground clearance.

What Kind of Vehicles Can Use Lift Kits?

Just take a quick trip down to the store and you’re likely to see trucks on the road that have been lifted. It’s not unusual to see them even in the middle of a metropolitan area. Lift kits aren’t just for trucks, though; they can be added to almost any type of car. Pickups, Jeeps, and larger SUVs are the most commonly lifted vehicles, but after a few minutes of searching online, you can find just about every vehicle equipped with a lift kit. There are even lifted station wagons and sports cars, although these usually require engineering a lift kit yourself rather than buying one off the shelf.

Where Do I Find a Lift Kit?

Lift kits can be purchased through many automotive parts stores. They are also available online, both on the websites of stores specializing in car parts and accessories and on the websites of larger retailers. You can also go to larger retailers in person; the caveat is that you are unlikely to find knowledgeable help if you need it.

Which Lift Kit Should I Get?

Now we get down to the nitty-gritty: choosing the right lift kit. It might seem overwhelming, but the good news is that focusing on four factors can help shift through the many choices. What vehicle do you have, and what suspension is it using? What will you be doing on the road? What size tires do you want? What is your budget for this project?

A body lift does exactly what it says. Your vehicle will gain a few inches of height, which allows you to upgrade to larger tires better suited for your driving needs. Despite the boost in height, this type of lift kit is not recommended for off-roading, as this lift will not raise your ground clearance. One advantage to a body lift is that it will not change the way your vehicle feels from behind the wheel.

A suspension lift, however, will change how your car feels on the road. Raising the suspension will give you the extra ground clearance to enhance your vehicle’s off-roading performance. You can achieve the greatest height with a suspension lift. Just keep in mind that the higher you go, the more likely you are to need a professional for the installation.

There are kits meant to provide one-size-fits-all coverage, but depending on your needs, they might not be the best match. This is one of the reasons that buying the kit from an auto parts store you can visit in person is a good idea. The sales team there can show you the kits they have in stock and see which ones will provide the outcome you desire.

What Does a Lift Kit Cost?

Installing a lift kit isn’t going to put the hurt on your wallet you might have first assumed. The kits themselves range from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand. It depends on the brand, how involved the kit is, and other factors, such as where you purchase the kit. You can save yourself from shop labor fees by doing a DIY install. At most, you might have to shell out money for some pizza and drinks for the friends who come over to help.

There may be additional charges after installation. You’ll probably want new tires and possibly wheels. This should be part of your project budget to avoid surprises. You should also budget for an alignment, a necessary process after most installations. Unfortunately, that is one thing you can’t do at home unless you have advanced skills in mechanic work.

Can I Install a Lift Kit at Home?

The simple answer is yes. Body lifts can be done from the comfort of your driveway with the right tools, some automotive experience, and, ideally, an extra pair of hands. Suspension lifts take more skill, and you’ll need a post-alignment adjustment done by a professional. An experienced DIY owner can tackle this project, but beginners should probably avoid starting with this kind of work.

It’s advisable to gather your tools ahead of time. No one wants to be halfway through a project and find out they need to run to the auto parts store. If you’re already doing a bit of automotive DIY work, you probably have most of the tools in your garage right now. A short list of the tools needed will typically include your usual selection of sockets and wrenches. You’ll also need a jack and jack stands that are rated for the weight of your vehicle.

It’s hard to give an exact estimate on how long this project will take you because that will depend on the type of lift kit, your experience working on cars, and how much help you have. If you have prior experience, you may be able to knock it out in an afternoon. Beginners will need more time and should plan on taking a whole weekend.

Is Installing a Lift Right for You?

There are many factors involved when deciding if installing a lift kit is the best option for you and your vehicle. For drivers excited to try their hand at some serious DIY, lift kits are easier to install than most people would assume. This can be a cost-effective way to avoid shop fees for those experienced with home installations.

Once the decision is made to install your lift kit at home, then you need to find the right kit for your needs. Tools need to be gathered. Plans need to be made to have alternate transportation while the vehicle is being worked on. Finally, after all the planning, you can get down to seeing your goal come to fruition.

Remember, you’ve got this. If you feel like you’ve gotten in over your head, there are many resources online to turn to for help. You can also contact a local shop to help finish it up. The odds of doing it properly yourself are in your favor. Enjoy the process, and think about how great it will be knowing that you did it yourself next time you’re off-roading.