Trucks are amazing, not only for their ease of use and convenience but also for their versatility, as they offer some added capabilities that normal four-wheelers cannot possibly match.
One such thing is towing. This means pulling extra weight attached behind them. But, when a truck is lifted higher than its intended height, that is the height it came out of the factory with, its towing capability gets affected.
So, can you tow with a lifted truck?
Yes, you definitely can. But, towing with a lifted truck can be a tricky proposition because there are many intricacies involved.
So, before you hit the road with your lifted truck and trailer in tow, it’s important to understand the risks you’re carrying, how your truck’s towing capabilities are affected by lifting it, and the things you can do to resolve the issues that a lifted truck poses to towing.
What Happens When You Tow With a Lifted Truck
A lifted truck can tow, yes. But, with the lift, comes some added complications; things that affect your truck’s performance, capability, and safety. Let’s look at what happens when you try to tow with a lifted truck.
When you put a heavy weight in the back of a truck, it sags. This is the reason every truck comes out of the factory with its front a couple of inches lower than the back. So that when carrying a heavy load, the truck will sit level, providing a good amount of traction on the front tires.
Lifted trucks are a different story altogether. The back of a lifted truck sags more with the weight, causing the front end of the truck to sit higher, causing them to sit loosely on the ground.
This means the front tires are deprived of traction, making the truck’s steering significantly worse. The reduced maneuverability increases the risk of accidents and mishaps on the road.
The aerodynamics of a lifted truck is generally worse than its stock version. Also, lifting causes the center of gravity and the center of mass to sit higher. This makes them less stable.
Although a properly lifted truck’s decreased stability is not usually noticeable, the setbacks become evident when you tow with one.
The truck becomes easier to topple, especially at higher speeds or sharper turns. And it’s also more difficult to control in windy conditions.
The extra height of the suspension coils means when you attach a trailer to the back and try to pull it, extra weight is being put upon those springs.
This gets even more worrying as lifted trucks’ suspensions are expanded and softer, targetting increased offroading capability. The truck sags when carrying a large amount of weight. This put a lot of extra stress on the rear suspensions.
Also, the suspension alignment on a stock truck is optimized for towing and weight carrying. The altered alignment of the suspensions of a lifted truck causes significantly more stress on them, causing it to wear out more quickly and potentially leading to dangerous handling problems.
The added weight on the back adds to the already affected acceleration and breaking capability of a lifted truck.
Also, the hitch sits higher than it’s supposed to be. This means the weight of the trailer won’t be properly aligned with the truck, something that is necessary when towing.
As a result, the truck feels more sluggish when speeding up, especially from zero. Also, the trailer is extremely unstable. The braking distance is increased. When speeding down, the truck feels sloppy, raising safety concerns once again.
You may love the looks and advantages of a lifted truck, but it’s undeniable that lifting reduces its capacity in terms of how much weight can they tow. Also, the truck’s maneuverability, balance, and performance get significantly reduced when towing.
That does not mean you can not make your dream lift project come to life if you also want to tow with it. Let’s talk about some things that can improve the driving experience and the towing capability of a lifted truck.
Remember, a lifted truck will still be inferior to a stock truck in terms of the towing experience. But, these things can resolve some prominent issues a lifted truck faces when towing.
The height of the hitch increases with the height of the body from the ground. As a result, the ball joint moves up from its original place, where the alignment of the trailer and the truck is optimal.
The trailer sits unevenly as its tongue has to reach up to the raised ball joint of the hitch. This is where a drop hitch comes to the rescue.
An easy-to-install drop hitch will lower the ball joint, making the trailer and the truck better aligned.
To address the issue of the rear end of the truck sagging under the added load of the trailer, you can add helper springs to the rear suspension. The approach varies in terms of the type of suspension used in a truck.
For leaf spring suspensions, you can add a leaf or change them to firmer ones. In the case of coil springs or coilover spring suspensions, you can put thicker springs on or add rubber springs over the originals.
The most convenient are air suspensions. These can be adjusted easily to increase the air pressure inside them, giving you the ability to make them firmer and reduce sagging when towing.
And when you’re done, you can go back to that sweet lifted truck experience by simply dropping the air pressure. The truck will be jumpy and off-road-ready in no time.
The bigger tires usually accompanying a lifted truck reduce torque. If towing is something that you frequently do, the smaller tires would be a better choice for you because the truck can generate more power with the smaller tires, something that’s essential for towing.