If you have a truck or an SUV, it is very likely that your friend who is an auto mechanic has offered to lift your vehicle to create more room for bigger wheels and tires and to allow you to look down at the cars on the road. Even if you do not have any plans to use the vehicle for off-roading, lifting it by several inches can improve its aesthetic appeal which is enough reason to have a lift done. However, will lifting the vehicle void its warranty and affect performance?
What are lift kits?
Lift kits are aftermarket products that are intended to lift a vehicle higher up the ground. Aftermarket products are not made by the vehicle manufacturer which means that you need a professional auto mechanic to install them for you. However, most lift kits are made by reliable manufacturers of aftermarket products to ensure that they fit the design, size, and shape of specific vehicles to improve safety and stability.
The two most common kinds of lift kits are body lift kit and suspension lift kits. Body lift kids are more common because they are more affordable and easier to install. Most vehicles nowadays are designed and constructed as “body over frame” which means that the body of the truck or SUV is placed or attached to a metal frame which is the foundation of the vehicle.
When a body lift kit is used, the body of the vehicle is physically removed from the frame before spacers are installed between them. Afterward, the frame will be reattached but with longer bolts to secure it. The body lift kit will basically prop up the body of the vehicle away from the frame without any adjustments to the suspension or mechanical system.
Since a gap is created between the body and the frame, a gap guard has to be used to cover the frame’s visibility. It is also worth noting that lifting a vehicle will change its centre of gravity and can seriously affect handling. A body lift kit can only raise a vehicle by about 1 to 3 inches maximum height.
Meanwhile, suspension lift kits will allow you to lift the vehicle as high as your desire. You can add 12 inches or more to the clearance of the vehicle but it would be pretty expensive. It is also a complicated job because the entire vehicle has to be lifted higher from the axle and wheels of the vehicle without impairing its performance.
The drawback to suspension lift kits is they wear down over time and would require repairs or replacement making it potentially more expensive. When the vehicle is lifted too high, a stabilizer might be needed to avoid rolling over too easily. It is also more difficult to get in and out of the vehicle.
A lift kit is more frequently used by vehicle owners because it does not change the quality of the ride. An aftermarket lift kit will not void the vehicle’s warranty as long it does not cause any failure that will require a warranty claim.