Is It Okay to Lift a 2WD Truck?


Do you have a 2WD that you need to lift? Well, in most cases, 4X4 owners are the ones who perform lifts on their trucks. If you have a 2WD, you might hear some people say that it is not ideal to lift it.  Lifting your 2WD will give you several benefits and only a few setbacks that I will point out later in the guide.

Is It Okay to Lift a 2WD Truck?

Yes, it is okay to give your 2WD a lift as this makes it better at driving off the road and probably makes it look and perform better. A truck lifted high off the ground feels more powerful and can take on different off-road challenges. 

You only need to lift the truck two or three inches higher to change its look and its performance. The lift is possible by placing a spacer in between the frame and the body. These spacers are in the form of high grade nylon. 

But how high can you lift a 2WD truck? Are there are shortcomings to lifting your truck? Read on to learn more.

Why Should You Lift Your 2WD Truck?

Truck levels kits allow you to give your truck a raise from its axles. The raised truck can fit larger tires and gives you more ground clearance so that you can venture off the road. Leveling kits will raise the rear and also the front so that the heights match. 

Some leveling kits allow you to raise your truck as high as 10 inches. However, such a lift means you may have to change your control arms, suspension system, and shocks among other components. You may also need to change the driveshaft if you decide that you want to go higher. 

However, a regular lift of 2 or 3 inches will give you all the advantages of a lift without the need to change components. Below are some reasons you may need to lift your 2WD truck:

Install Larger-Than-Stock Tires 

Most truck owners need to lift the front to fit bigger tires. In most 2WD trucks, you may already have enough clearance to fit larger tires on the rear, but that may not be the case with the front clearance. The fender and the front bumper may get in your way when you need to fit bigger tires

A 2-inch lift can help you raise the front enough to get the bumper and fender out of the way for bigger tires. The lift ensures that the tires do not rub when you take a corner. Better yet, the bigger tires will make it easier for you to drive off the road.

Operate Equipment 

A lift comes in handy for truck owners who run a plow or need a winch. These equipment install on the front bumper and the leveling kit will give the attachments the extra support needed. When you add weight to the front of the truck, the front part may sag a little. 

This sagging causes the wheels to rub against the fender or bumper. When you give your 2WD a lift, the sagging will not result in rubbing. 

Reduce the Sag-To-Flat Issue

If you drive a 2WD truck from the 80s or 90s, it may have heavy sag at the back. Such trucks will sag at the back once you start to haul even light cargo. To ensure this doesn’t happen, automakers usually design the front end to sag lower than the rear. 

This way, the back will sag a little and the front nose will raise a little to give you a flat driving experience. What if you do not haul or tow any cargo?

You need a leveling kit to raise the front and flatten it out with the back when you are not hauling cargo. When you use a leveling kit, you get off some weight from the front end so that your suspension system is at ease. 

Reduce Braking Pressure 

Your 2WD comes with a lower front and a higher back. Such a design is great when you are hauling or towing cargo, but when the truck is unloaded, the design is not so ideal. The lower front compromises handling and can affect your ability to brake in case of an emergency. 

When you use a leveling kit on the front, you create a balance that helps you relieve the stress on your front suspension and brakes. Although this could mean stress on other components, it also means that you get better handling when you drive around corners and when you need to brake in an emergency. 

The kit will not have any effects on the static weight of the truck. The install is simple and allows you to make significant changes without altering the balancing process of your vehicle. 

Get Better Handling

If you need your truck to perform better, drive faster, and handle more rugged terrain, you might need to lift its nose. The lifted truck is easier to handle around corners. There may not be significant changes in the look of your truck, but you will feel more in control when you drive your empty truck. 

Granted, the lift works best when you need to drive faster on the highway or tackle difficult terrain and not when you need to tow or haul. 

If your 2WD truck has low running boards, you will have more clearance when you lift it. Without the added height, low running boards will get damaged when you drive off the road. A leveling kit will help avoid damages to your boards. 

How High Can You Lift a 2WD Truck?

The most you should do is 4 inches. The challenge with lifting too high is that you change the geometry of your truck, and this may affect so many other parts. With a 4-inch lift, you are able to fit larger tires and not affect other components of your truck. 

A 4-inch lift gives you enough ground clearance so that you can drive off the road. If you go higher than that, you may have to change some parts of your truck. 

If you only need to lift your truck to improve its looks, consider the wear on the tires and the effects on fuel efficiency before you lift. Instead, you can get a 2-inch leveling kit to ensure the front and the back balance out for better handling. 

But can you put a 4 WD lift on a 2WD truck? Yes, if you only need to lift the body and not the suspension, the one you pick will not matter. However, if you plan to lift the suspension, you need to go for the exact suspension lift kit that will match the shocks, axles, and brakes of your truck. 

Is It Worth Lifting a 2WD Truck? What are Some of the Cons?

If you need to lift the truck to improve its appearance, a leveling kit might not do much. The overall look of your truck will remain, as the kit will only give about two inches of clearance. This lift might not even be visible to you. 

If you need to improve the overall appearance of your truck, you need a lift kit that not only adds balance, but actually raises the body of your truck. Lift kits can raise the truck as much as you need, but do not go overboard as this means additional costs. 

When you install a lift kit on a new 2WD truck, there is a chance your warranty will be void. Many insurance providers will cancel the warranty when you make an unusual change on the structure of your truck. If the warranty states that you should not use lift kits, then avoid them. 

You will pay between $2,500 and $7,500 for the warranty, but as part of the initial cost of buying your truck. If the dealer cancels the warranty, you will lose that money, and you are on your own if anything happens to the truck. 

There are dealers who will not even repair your truck once you add a lift kit or make any related modifications. However, if you drive an older model 2WD, your warranty may have expired already, and you have no worry adding a lift kit. Again, some dealers may allow minor modifications like installing a leveling kit. 

Another disadvantage of lifting your 2WD is that the suspension may wear out faster. When you lift the truck, you place more pressure on the suspension equipment, which will suffer stress from the modifications. This stress causes the system to wear and tear out faster that it does in normal conditions. 

Vehicles are engineered to perform in a specific style, and when you change their geometry, you affect a few components. You can reduce the impact that lifting has on your 2WD truck by reducing the size of the lift. Instead of a 3-inch lift, go for 2 inches and your suspension system will experience less pressure. 

Does Your Fuel Economy Suffer?

Yes. When you level your truck, there will be more wind resistance and your truck works harder to maintain the same output.

Your engine will burn more gas to resist the wind that it would with the front slightly lower. The changes will not be so much, but picking a tire one size up can reduce your truck’s fuel efficiency by up to 3 mpg and up to 2 mpg on the highway and city respectively. 

When you lift your truck and probably add larger tires, you will need to reset your truck’s computer and sensors. The odometer and the speedometer rely on sensors placed near the wheels. If the size of the wheels changes, you will need to recalibrate the system to ensure you get accurate readings. 

These readings are important for your safety on the road. They also ensure that you follow local driving regulations. A complete revolution is important in torque, traction, and gearing control. 

To get these readings, the automaker considers the diameter of your wheel and tire. After a lift, your truck’s speed might read lower than it actually is. This means you might drive faster than you intend, putting your life in danger.

During installation, talk to a professional installer who will help tune your computer and sensors to the new height and tires of your truck. 

How Much Will It Cost You To Lift Your 2WD Truck?

A leveling kit will lift the front of your truck and give it a unique appearance. If you still need more ground clearance, you can install a lift kit to raise your truck even more. 

You will likely spend more than $1,000 to lift your truck. The cost will depend on the quality of the components you go for, whether you do the work yourself or hire a professional, and the number and cost of components that you choose. 

Basic leveling kits will cost as cheap as $50 with more expensive kits going for more than $2,000. The price of these kits will vary based on the make and model of your truck. 

Can You Put a 4WD Lift on a 2WD Truck?

You can, but this will add to the cost of the lift kit. 

Labor will cost you $500 if you choose to go with a professional. If the lift kit needs more components and parts, the cost will go up. Parts such as coil spacers, torsion keys, block kits, and strut extensions will add to the cost of lifting your 2WD truck. 

If you go for suspension lift kits, you may have to pay up to $5,000 for the kit before you even buy other components and pay for labor. 

Closing Thoughts

Lifting a 2WD truck has so many advantages. If you do not tow or haul a lot, and you only need your truck to go off-road, then a leveling kit or lift kit will help. However, you need to ensure you do not go overboard with the lift kit as so much a lift will affect other components. 

If you have the technical skills to install your own kit, you will save some money. However, if you have never done it, I recommend you get a professional to do it for you. If done wrong, the lift will affect the balance and handling of 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.

Recent Posts