Are you thinking of lifting your truck or SUV? Are you tired of the same old looks? Perhaps you want to take it off-road, but the bumper keeps rubbing the ground? Lifting can have a lot of drawbacks, despite its general appeal.
Lifting affects more than just a vehicle’s height. It affects aerodynamics, shocks, balance, responsiveness, steering, acceleration, braking, fuel cost, gear ratio, speedometer accuracy, and the list goes on.
You might have a hard time driving and maintaining it after you lift it drastically. You might come to know that you lifted it more than the law allows in your area. You may also discover that your truck is better than before if you find just the right height to raise it to.
I’m here to dispel any doubts you may have. Keep reading to find out how high you can legally lift your truck. And, once you’ve finished, you might also be enlightened about how high you should lift your truck.
How High Can You Legally Lift a Truck
The laws for lifted vehicles vary from state to state. Some restrict body lifts, while others restrict suspension lifts. For example, in Washington, you can add a maximum of four inches of body lift, although there’s no restriction on suspension lifts.
Some states impose them based on the height of the headlights from the ground, like the 60-inch limit in Alabama and the 54-inch limit in Alaska and Arkansas.
Some states look at the overall height of the vehicle, while others look at the gap between the body and the frame. Some only put restrictions on the bumper and/or frame height, like New York, Indiana, Idaho, and Maryland.
For instance, you can put a maximum of five inches of gap between the frame and the body in California and four inches in Connecticut.
You are allowed to lift your truck up to three inches only in Delaware and two inches in Georgia and Massachusetts.
Some states, like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Maine, and Hawaii, let you lift to varying heights depending on the weight of your vehicle.
Some states don’t have any laws at all prohibiting truck lifts, while others are lenient towards them. For instance, Idaho, Alaska, and Arizona’s laws are quite lenient, and states like Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana have no laws prohibiting the lifting of trucks.
The laws are not wholly similar in any two states, and sometimes they vary in two counties of the same state. What this means is that you should inquire with the authorities before you jump in to lift your truck.
You can follow this link to see the details of lifting laws in every state. But let me remind you again: these laws are subject to change, and you should always double-check.
Now that you know how high you are allowed to lift your vehicle, you should know how high you can lift your truck without losing that sweet driving experience, or how high you should lift it to make it better suited for yourself.
How High Should You Lift a Truck
It always depends on you. If your objective is to turn heads and drive on the road above everyone else, you can lift it as much as you like.
But you should keep in mind that a drastic amount of lift significantly changes the vehicle, and you must know if the changes will make you regret it later.
So, what happens when you lift your truck too high?
When you lift a vehicle, the steering and suspension geometry change dramatically. You will probably find it leaning or self-steering towards one side. Lifting can result in lowered shock resistance as well.
Because a lift changes the angles of the UCAs, or upper control arms, and the suspensions, it changes how the vehicle drives and reacts.
Lifting drastically without keeping the consequences in mind will make your truck unresponsive, hard to steer, and harder to speed up and down. Also, fuel efficiency will drop significantly.
But if you’re looking for practicality and comfort, you should only lift it to a certain height. If you’re a regular on rough terrain, a front lift and/or a 2–6-inch lift on the front and rear will serve you well.
You should discuss your preferences and goals with your mechanic. Show him the kit you’re planning to buy.
Suspension Lift Kits: Your Best Option for Drastic Truck Lifts
You should decide your ideal lift height before you start your lift project. You can combine different lift types to reach your goal. And these 1-2-inch small body lifts and spacer lifts are quite inexpensive and straightforward compared to the higher lifts.
To lift your truck more than six inches, you’ll need a suspension lift kit. There are many options, and their cost will range from four or five hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. But cheap lift kits are never actually a good idea.
While it may appear that you are getting the same thing from a dirt-cheap option because it does lift your truck, this is not really true.
A kit priced from $10,000 to $15,000 will certainly include components that address the alignment and steering issues caused by raised heights.
A cheap lift kit will almost certainly never address these issues other than simply raising the vehicle’s height, which will surely downgrade the driving experience and affect the quality and longevity of the vehicle.
Expensive kits come with better shocks and adjustable suspensions to keep up with the weight of the bigger tires, the changed center of gravity, the larger wheel travel, and so on.
You don’t really need to spend too much on lift kits if all you need is a 2–5-inch lift. Typically, it will cost you between $400 and $5,000. To raise it further, you might need to spend as much as $10,000 to $15,000 on a lift kit. Scared yet?
Yes. A standard leveling kit will allow you 2 inches of lift on the front to level the front and back. You can also choose to lift just the front for off-roading capability if you don’t plan on lifting the back at all, which is going to cost. But doing so will reduce the truck’s ability to carry loads.
If you don’t address the changes that lifting brings with it, your truck will only change for the worse. Remember, lifting just the right amount will only serve you well with improved looks, performance, and responsiveness, which most cheap kits probably won’t offer you.