Anyone who has ever gone off-roading knows that their tires need to get as much traction as possible out in the wilderness. And to accommodate their large tires and be able to clear fallen logs and boulders, a lot of off-roaders install lift kits on their rigs.
Trips & Tricks
Why Your Off-road Rig Needs a Lift Kit
Types of Lift Kits
There are actually two types of lift kits – one for the body and one for the suspension. A body lift kit does what the name implies. It raises the body up off the vehicle’s chassis. It enables the owner to install larger tires by raising the wheel wells, which are a part of the body, off the tops of the wheels. However, it doesn't do anything to enhance the ground clearance of the vehicle. If you're thinking of getting into off-roading, you'd be more prepared for the wilderness by getting a suspension lift kit.
A suspension kit lifts the suspension of your vehicle as well as the body. When paired with a large set of tires and wheels, it can provide you with enough ground clearance to clamber over boulders, ford rivers and streams and easily clear fallen tree trunks that would halt the progress of a regular vehicle.
Why Do I Need a Lift Kit?
One of the pleasures of joining an off-roading club or going on an off-road trip with your friends is running into one of these obstacles. It's an opportunity for everyone to pull over, have a snack and offer their own ideas on how to get over or around the obstacle.
Shock absorbers take a lot of punishment on an off-roading trip. They absorb all the ups and downs of the terrain while carrying the total weight of the vehicle. Besides a sturdy lift kit, you want to buy the toughest shock absorbers you can afford.
Installing a suspension lift kit on your vehicle allows you to install larger heavy-duty shock absorbers, and this can be important to keep you from getting stranded far from the main road.
The rule in off-roading is to always be over-prepared. Large tires provide a positive gain in ground clearance, and the more rugged the terrain, the more clearance you need. Off-roading is not how fast you reach your destination. It's the experience of getting there.
Off-roading can take a mathematician’s problem-solving expertise and put it to the test. Figuring out how to get a ton and a half of steel over a boulder or a mammoth fallen tree blocking your route is no mean feat. You don't only need clearance in situations such as these. You also need as much turning radius as your vehicle can offer.
And this is one of the secrets of a good lift kit.
By raising your suspension, you also improve your wheel articulation and turning radius. This can be vital when negotiating a narrow path among boulders or trees.
Will a Lift Kit Affect My Vehicle’s Handling?
A lift kit will affect the quality of the ride and the handling of your vehicle. It also affects the center of gravity in your vehicle, meaning that you'll have to be more careful taking corners and driving at high speeds in a vehicle with this modification.
If your vehicle also serves as the family SUV or car, you may want to consider changing it to a vehicle better suited to the wilderness than trips to the local mall. Off-road vehicles with raised suspension are not meant to be driven at the speeds you're used to driving in town.
To Lift or Not to Lift?
Installing a lift kit on your vehicle is a significant step and investment for a new off-roader, so you need to make sure you choose the right kit for your brand of SUV or truck.
But for those who love their new pastime and lifestyle, nothing can compare to the feeling of conquering any type of terrain you run into, and a lift kit makes this possible.
Visit the Overland website and have a look at the lift kits we offer; from two-inch kits up to a 10-inch kits, we can help your rig tackle any terrain. While you’re there, browse all the other products that can help make your next off-road journey a success.