Does a Lift Kit Affect Ride Quality?


Lift kits are a great way to gain extra clearance for your truck and allow you to do some serious off-roading. There are many different kinds of lift kits, and not all of them work in the same way.

Adding a body lift kit to a truck will not affect the ride quality since the suspension of the vehicle is not altered in any way. Suspension lift kits do alter the suspension and will affect the ride quality. The higher the lift kit, the more the ride quality will change.

Why would you want to buy a body lift kit over a suspension lift kit? Or vise versa? Read on to learn more about lift kits and how they affect your ride.

Lift Kits

If you are new to the lift kit world, then some explanation might be in order. Lift kits are equipment that you can buy and install in order to gain higher clearance, install larger wheels and tires, or simply make your vehicle perform better on rougher terrain. Because lift kits are sold separately from the factory vehicle, the kit must be purchased after-market. There are a few places you can buy a lift kit, but the best is to buy one from a company that specializes in lift kits for specific vehicles. In the past, it was quite popular to lift trucks at home, but now many reliable companies make and install lift kits professionally. Installing a lift kit on a vehicle can be a complicated process, and if it is done by an amateur, the overall safety and integrity of the vehicle can be at risk.

So, what are the biggest benefits of installing lift kits? What’s the point? If you love to take your truck out of the city and into the mountains, lifting your vehicle will give you even more clearance than ever before. With more clearance, you can drive over larger rocks, deeper ruts, and rougher terrain. Installing a lift kit to your vehicle also allows you to have bigger wheels and tires, which can add to the overall appearance of your vehicle and make your vehicle look even more rugged.

Lift kits are most commonly installed on trucks or SUVs, but they can be used on just about any type of vehicle. It is not recommended, however, to lift a small vehicle.

There are two main kinds of lift kit: body kits and suspension kits.

These two types of lift kits are actually quite different, and you will get different results from each. If you are afraid of affecting the ride quality of your vehicle, then you should take it easy with how many inches you add. Bigger isn’t always better.

The more radical the lift kit, the more it’s a complete re-engineering of suspension and drivetrain angles. Suspension lift kits can alter steering and suspension geometry in significant ways, affecting road manners and handling, while possibly wearing out suspension and drivetrain parts prematurely. 

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Let us look at the two kinds of kits in more detail so that you can make the decision for yourself as to which kit is best for you.

Body Lift Kits

A body lift kit is the kit you want to buy if you do not want the ride quality of your vehicle to be affected.

This lift kit works by removing the body of the vehicle from the metal frame, and then installing spacers or blocks. These spacers or blocks are added to the metal frame, and when the body of the vehicle is reattached, the spacers or blocks will raise the body higher up from the frame, giving it the lift. Longer bolts are used to reattach the body to the frame now that spacers or blocks are in the way.

Because a body lift kit only involves the frame and the body of the vehicle, it does not affect the suspension, and therefore will not affect the overall ride. You will still be able to gain a few inches in height, but you will not need to worry about harming your vehicle. The handling might feel a little different after installing the kit, which is due to the change in the center of gravity of your vehicle.

The biggest benefits of installing a body lift kit are that it does not affect the driving quality, it is great for off-roading, and it is the most cost-efficient option.

There are a few drawbacks to installing this kind of lift kit as well. You are limited as to how much height you can add to your vehicle; body lift kits can only lift to a maximum of 5 inches. If you want to lift your vehicle more than 5 inches, then you will need to install a different kind of lift kit. However, the higher you go, the more your ride will be affected. Because body lift kits don’t go higher than 5 inches, they ensure that you will not change the ride. Another drawback to body lift kits is that they tend to leave a gap between the body and the frame of the vehicle, and that gap can be rather unsightly. Luckily, you can purchase gap covers that solve this problem. The bumpers are not raised with the body, which can also look a little strange.

Suspension Lift Kits

Suspension lift kits are great in many ways, but they do run the risk of affecting the ride quality of your vehicle.

Suspension lift kits are quite different from body lift kits and they are more complicated to install. It also costs more to install. Suspension kits work by lifting the vehicle up from the axle and wheels instead of by the body and frame like on body lift kits. The installation process is different for trucks, SUVs, and cars. Additionally, the installation also varies between the different models of car or truck within any given brand. So no matter what vehicle you have, you will need a specialized installation. Because each vehicle is different, the installation of suspension lift kits is more difficult and more expensive.

A suspension lift is the go-to choice for any serious off-road driving. It involves replacing everything from the shocks/struts and leaf springs to control arms, trailing arms, and sometimes even the driveshaft and steering components.

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Suspension lift kits work directly with the suspension, and therefore will change the ride quality. You still may want to consider a suspension lift kit if it fits more criteria for what you want.

Suspension kits can lift your vehicle a maximum of 12 inches. That’s a lot! Body kits won’t be able to give you that kind of lift, so if it’s a lot of height you are looking for, suspension lift kits are your only option. You do need to be cautious, however, because if your vehicle is too high, it can roll easily and you will need a stabilizer to counterbalance. Suspension lift kits can also wear down over time and will need more repair. They can also increase the cost of normal maintenance.

Other Things to Consider:

You might want to consider a few other things before installing a lift kit on your vehicle. Watch the video below for more information:

There are some other cons to installing any kind of lift kit onto your vehicle. Some states have specific regulations for vehicles, such as light brightness bumper height. Before installing a lift kit, always check with local regulations to make sure that you don’t accidentally alter your vehicle so much that it makes it illegal to drive on city streets. Adding a lift kit also has the potential to void any warranty you have on your vehicle. Suspension lift kits are especially bad for this reason because they alter the default factory mechanical system and many companies don’t like that. Make sure the lift is worth it and that the pros outweigh the cons before you go ahead with such a drastic modification.

Installing lift kits at home by yourself can be risky. While it may save you on costs at first, any problems caused later on will be pricey. It is always best to get your vehicle lifted by a professional. The professionals will ensure that your vehicle comes out better than ever, and they will be able to do proper tests to make sure the ride quality is still good and that nothing detrimental is wrong with the lift installation. They may also come with their own warranty against improper installation, or faulty parts, which you won’t get if you do the installation on your own.

You also might consider skipping lift kits altogether and go with a leveling kit instead. Leveling kits offset the factory “rake” and will still add some height to the front of your truck and will give you higher clearance. These kinds of kits are much cheaper and are the safer option because they change less about your truck.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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