When deciding whether or not to lift your truck you will most likely go over the different amounts of lift that are an option to you. To narrow it down, most trucks are lifted anywhere from 3-inches to 12-inches. You might be thinking that any amount of lift will greatly enhance your vehicle and that it doesn’t really matter how much lift you go with, but there is actually a pretty big difference between just a few inches.
A 4-inch lift is considered standard and comparatively doesn’t affect maneuverability or gas mileage. A 6-inch lift can cost thousands of dollars more, and can also end up using more fuel and make the vehicle less drivable. The 2-inch difference can also be illegal in many states.
Keep reading to find out more about what exactly you should take into consideration when deciding how much to lift your truck, whether a 6-inch lift is really a 6-inch lift, and the average difference in cost.
What to Take Into Consideration
There are a few things to consider before laying down the cash involved to make the lift of your dreams a reality.
Before you start, you should ask yourself if you need a lift to improve the function of your truck, or if you just really want one. Anyone who has bought a new truck understands wanting to immediately make it their own, making it the beautiful car of their dreams. If you’re constantly offroading, having a lift on your car can help you clear rocks or tree stumps, and make it less likely for you to get high-centered. However, if you actually need to use your truck to pull things, or you commute a lot, larger tires and a higher center of gravity aren’t going to be very helpful.
This is especially true for those who need to use their truck beds for transporting equipment or a dirt bike to a work site or competition. Being able to access those things isn’t as easy when you have eight inches of extra height.
Something else you need to research is which lift and specifically, which lift kit, is going to affect your truck the most. While some are all-inclusive (usually the more expensive ones,) some will require you to get new parts such as new driveshafts, exhaust modifications, steel braided brake lines, carrier barrier drop brackets, axle shims, or other items you didn’t realize you needed.
A Six-Inch Lift Doesn’t Always Mean 6-Inches of Gain
Another reality that doesn’t usually set in until after a lift is installed is the realization of what a 4-inch or 6-inch lift really means.
This is extremely important to keep in mind when deciding how many inches to lift your vehicle, as a specific lift sometimes isn’t going to be exactly what it is advertised as. While the lift from the lift kit itself is pretty accurate, you need to take into account other amounts of lift from other additions.
A great example of this is the fact that you may need bigger tires to accommodate your now taller, less stable truck. Because of this, the addition of larger tires can also dramatically add to your vehicle’s overall height. This can mean not being able to fit your decked-out truck into your own garage at home.
Based on a few different reviews involving measuring before and after a lift kit was installed, it was average for a six-inch lift to cause the front end of a vehicle to gain around 8-inches and the back end to gain around 5-inches. This was only true when new tires were installed, which is necessary when dealing with a 6-inch lift.
For a graph explaining what this means, be sure to check out the video below so you can roughly estimate just how high your lifted truck will end up being.
Another factor some people don’t consider when lifting their truck is how exactly it feels to drive such a tall vehicle. You may think you’re prepared to drive what can be akin to a monster truck on the freeway, but imagining and doing are two very different things.
You’ll find that drivability and the overall performance of your vehicle are a lot different than a regular truck. As the center of the truck’s gravity is higher, you’ll need to keep your speeds lower than what most truck owners would like, especially while turning.
Something to keep in mind when considering lifting your truck is that starting out small and working your way up is always better than wasting time and money on a lift that doesn’t benefit you. A lot of truck owners find that a lower amount of lift is usually satisfactory and that they couldn’t imagine going any taller.
This way you can also avoid the fact that some states and cities have pretty strict laws when it comes to lifted vehicles. Lifting your truck too much can be a violation of some of those laws, which can really limit where you can drive and park.
The Cost of Each Lift
There is actually quite a big difference in cost when it comes to 4-inches of lift vs. 6-inches.
To raise your truck by 2-inches to 5-inches, your lift would be categorized as lower scale. Lower scale lifts typically cost anywhere between $400 to $12,000, depending on you truck and how much work you yourself want to put into it.
For higher-scale lifts, which are categorized as anywhere between 6-inches to the extreme of 12-inches, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1500 to $15,000.
This difference also depends on whether you want to install a lift kit or a suspension kit, which can be a bit more costly, but much more cost effective, and ultimately much safer.
Pros of a Four-Inch Lift
- A four-inch lift is easier to drive and causes fewer problems when it comes to maneuverability. Driving faster and taking turns more quickly are much easier when compared to a taller lift.
- A 4-inch lift can allow you to fit into more spaces, such as garages, parking spots, car washes, etc. While this might not seem like a big deal, it can become a pretty big hassle when you constantly have to park in the back of a parking lot or you can’t fit into your own garage anymore.
- It’s a lot less of an effort to access a truck that is only lifted 4-inches. Even if you do spend money on a set of steps, your shorter friends and family members will thank you for keeping the climbing to a minimum.
- There is much less fuel consumption. When lifting trucks, it’s a general rule that the bigger and taller a vehicle is, the more fuel it’s going to run through. So the shorter you can keep your lift, the less you’ll end up spending on gas over the years.
- A 4-inch lift is overall less expensive, not only when it comes to gas but also tires. The less lifted a truck, the smaller the tires you can get away with keeping or installing. 33-inch tires are definitely a bit more affordable than 35-inch ones.
- A lot of people find that a 4-inch lift gives them just enough of a lift to make the truck look better than when they bought it but doesn’t break any laws or keeps them from parking in their own garages.
Cons of a Four-Inch Lift
- Some may realize that a 4-inch lift is simply just not as cool as a larger lift.
- While it’s a pretty good amount of lift, 4-inches can be insufficient when it comes to off-roading or Overlanding. Sometimes you need the height and larger tires to get through difficult terrain.
Pros of a Six-Inch Lift
- If you’re looking to actually gain some off-ground clearance and capability six inches is enough for off-roading or even Overlanding.
- Depending on how big your truck is, a six-inch lift is the only way to go. While smaller trucks shouldn’t be lifted too much, it would be a shame not to let larger vehicles show off a larger lift.
- If you want 35″ tires, a 6-inch lift is the perfect amount of lift to accommodate them.
Cons of a Six-Inch Lift
- 6-inches can sometimes just be too much to handle. This includes not only maneuverability but also cost.
- It’s required that you need bigger, more expensive tires for a taller lift.
- A bigger outfit means more money spent on filling up at the gas station.
- Depending on which state you live in, there could be more laws against a 6-inch lift than a 4-inch lift, leaving you unable to drive your newly lifted truck in most places.
- You’ll find fitting into spots like garages, parking spots, and driveways can become just a little bit more difficult.
In the end, if you still can’t decide whether you want a 4-inch lift or a six-inch lift, the best way to know for sure is to test drive them. Check out the difference by asking a friend to take their truck out on the road or test-driving one at a dealership. Or simply just ask around to see what other people’s experiences have been.
Whether you go with a 4-inch lift or a 6-inch lift, you’ll still have the truck of your dreams.