Are you wanting to lift your GMC stock Sierra? It is completely possible, but there is a limit when it comes to tires and the height allowed.
The GMC Sierra can fit 33-inch tires without any upgrades to suspension or leveling kits. However, the larger tires may result in some rubbing. This can be avoided with the use of a two-inch lift or leveling kit. A leveling kit can be purchased and installed at almost any local auto shop.
What is a leveling kit, you ask? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to install a leveling kit to put 33” tires on your GMC Stock Sierra.
Fitting 33 Inch Tires on a GMC Stock Sierra
Before buying anything, it is important to know the basics of your Stock Sierra. The GMC Sierra comes with stock tires ranging between 29 to 32 inches tall, depending on the year it was manufactured. For trucks manufactured between 2007 and 2013, the tire size will be on the lower end of the spectrum with a rim size of either 17 or 18 inches.
For the older GMC Sierra’s running a 33 inch tire on stock suspension will be more difficult than doing so on a newer model.
Older models of the GMC Sierra will need a one to a two-inch lift kit and potentially some trimming to reduce rubbing on the wheel wells. There are multiple types of lift kits that can create the needed space, learn more about these types of kits in the sections below.
The newer models of the GMC Sierra can fit 33-inch tires on the stock setup without any added lift. However, there may be some rubbing. This can be solved by using a lift kit or by using bump-outs and spacers.
Additionally, you will need to make some adjustments if the larger tires are also wider than the stock wheel. A wider tire, while giving better traction, will be more likely to rub and will therefore need spacers or fender trimming.
Adding these larger tires will give your truck better ground clearance improving its ability to drive off-road, they can even make it look cooler.
Pros and Cons of 33 Inch Tires on a GMC Sierra
If you are thinking of putting 33-inch tires on your GMC Sierra, you should review the pros and the cons before doing so. Larger tires create plenty of benefits but can also lead to a slew of negative results.
Benefits of using 33-inch tires on your GMC Sierra include better ground clearance, improved towing capabilities, cooler looks, and can even make for a more enjoyable ride.
With better ground clearance you are able to do more with your GMC Sierra. When off-roading, the worries of bottoming out on a rock are decreased with the added height of the truck. These larger tires not only make it easier to off-road over taller obstacles, but they can also provide more grip and handling.
Larger tires will also absorb more shock and therefore make for a smoother ride. However, some lift kits while raising the truck actually limit the shocks. This can lead to a much bumpier ride than you had with stock tires.
The last pro to consider is the look of the truck. If you drive a truck, you already know that it looks better taller. Shorter drivers may even find improved visibility while driving with the addition of bigger tires!
While these pros certainly make the 33-inch tires sound very appealing, before you go buy a new set, consider the cons too.
Aside from having to spend thousands of extra dollars on top of the price for the truck, adding larger tires and a lift kit does come with other negatives. Larger tires affect things such as the brakes, turning radius, fuel economy, and the sound of the drive.
Adding larger tires will negatively affect the gas mileage of your GMC Sierra. Although this factor ultimately comes down to money, it will be more of a long-term negative than just the cost to install it.
Larger tires require more power, and therefore more fuel, in order to move. Over time, this will decrease your fuel economy and you will end up buying gas more often than with stock tires.
In addition to more fuel, larger tires can often require more powerful systems. Because the stock brakes are designed to slow a smaller tire, they may wear out faster when used with a larger tire. In the interest of safety, you may need to upgrade your GMC Sierra’s braking system too.
With larger tires it is also harder to turn, which is already difficult to do in a truck. Because one rotation of the tire will carry you further on a larger tire, it will be more difficult to make tighter turns. Although this may not harm your off-roading adventures, it can make in town tasks such as parking more difficult.
Because one rotation will move the vehicle further than the smaller tire, your speedometer and odometer will no longer be accurate. While the difference may be minimal, overtime the numbers will add up. If you purchase larger tires, you will need to recalibrate both systems to ensure accuracy.
If after hearing all the cons of running 33-inch tires on your GMC Sierra you still think the risk is worth the reward, then go for it!
Ultimately it is your vehicle and your decision. Only you know how the truck could perform better under your circumstances. So take the leap and run bigger tires on your Sierra, chances are you will not regret it.
GMC Sierra Lift Kits
In order to create space for the larger tires, you are going to need a lift kit, but with so many different types of kits available, it can be hard to know which one to choose.
The three general types of lift kits include leveling kits, lift kits, and body lifts. Find out the difference between these types of kits below!
A leveling kit is hardware that raises the front of the truck or vehicle so it matches the height in the back of the truck. It usually will add a maximum of 2 inches in the front, hence the name leveling.
For a stock-styled stance, spacers can be placed on the back two wheels when paired with a leveling kit, creating a bit more height on all four wheels.
Leveling kits are simple and can usually be done with spring spacers or torsion keys.
In the GMC Sierra’s case, you will need to create extra room for all four tires not just in the front. Because of this, a leveling kit may not be the best option. Without creating extra space in the back for the larger tires, there will be excessive rubbing and can potentially damage your vehicle.
A lift kit is similar to a leveling kit because it raises the height of the truck. The difference between these two types of kits is that while the leveling kit only raises the front of the truck, a lift kit raises both ends. Additionally, lift kits are able to raise the entire truck much higher than a leveling kit could.
This is typically done by modifying the suspension parts.
Standard lift kits range anywhere between 1 to 10 inches. However, if a truck owner is looking for something larger, there are plenty of custom kits that can be purchased. Keep in mind that the higher you raise your GMC Sierra, the more likely you are to run the risk of rolling over, so anything larger than 10 inches may be excessive and dangerous.
Lift kits are frequently referred to as suspension kits. New springs, shocks, and other things will be added to lift the truck.
A lift kit raises the entire truck from the ground, making it easier to off-road so you do not damage the underbelly of your truck.
A body lift is much different from both a leveling kit and a lift kit. A body lift will raise the entire body of the truck away from the frame. While this occasionally creates room for larger tires to be added to your truck, it is not the best way to go about creating tire space.
While standard suspension lifts are able to go as high as 10 inches, a body lift is limited to only 2 to 5 inches.
If you are just wanting taller tires, this might be the option for you. If you are wanting to do outdoor activities and need better ground clearance, a suspension lift will be a better option for your GMC Sierra.
Installing a Lift Kit
Once you have your lift kit picked out, you can take it to your local auto shop and have it installed.
However, if you are looking to save a bit of money on this Sierra upgrade you can install the kit yourself.
Be sure to read all of the instructions that accompany your lift kit and ensure you have all the pieces and tools you will need to complete the project. If you will be making any other upgrades to the vehicle, now would be the time to do so since it will already be lifted and disassembled.
Watch the video below to see an example of how to complete a suspension lift on your GMC Sierra.
If you have little experience working on vehicles or are worried about messing up the installation, you can always take the truck to an auto shop. While this will cost a bit more money, it will be worth it to guarantee proper installation.