Will Air Shocks Lift My Truck – My Experience

My answer will be “no,” if you’re looking for a straightforward answer. You can still inflate them with maximum pressure to get around an inch of extra height, but doing that on a regular basis will be damaging to the shocks.

First, you need to understand whether your truck is equipped with an air suspension system or an air suspension lift kit. You can read more on that here to find out how air suspension systems are used to lift trucks.

Now let’s get to today’s discussion. Can air shocks lift your truck?

Let me elaborate on the answer I’ve given above so that you understand how air shocks work, how some people claim to have used them to lift their trucks, and what the drawbacks are if you decide to do the same.

What are Air Shocks

What are Air Shocks
Air Shocks

Air shocks are the main component of an air suspension system. They are specialized airbags that are connected by air pipes to an air tank.

By adjusting the air pressure inside the air shocks, you can make the ride smoother or stiffer according to the specific needs of a situation.

Air shocks come in various specifications, but all of them do the same thing. Like other shock absorbers that come with standard suspension systems, they provide your truck with stability by dampening vibrations and bumps caused by irregularities on the road surface.

Air shocks replace the struts and springs as well. So, air shocks alone do the job of struts, coil or coilover springs, and shock absorbers in a conventional suspension system.

How Does Air Shocks Lift a Truck

By increasing the air pressure inside, air shocks can be inflated according to the needs of the user.

When the pressure is maximized, the inflated shocks push the vehicle upward to lift it a bit, but this is not supposed to be used for this purpose.

The adjustable pressure of the shocks comes in handy in various situations. For example, you can level your truck on all fours even when there’s a heavy load that is distributed unevenly across the back.

If the weight is too heavy,

Air Suspensions Vs Air Lift Suspensions

Air-lift suspensions are specialized suspension systems that are made with lifting vehicles in mind. This means these are just a special kind of lift kit.

These kits come with air shocks that are more inflatable than normal ones, giving a truck a lot more height when inflated. They are also rated for higher weight-carrying capabilities.

As opposed to normal air suspension systems, these were made to lift a vehicle, along with all the other advantages that an air shock would provide, like adjustable spring stiffness, keeping a truck level with any amount of load, preventing sagging when towing or hauling, and a lot more.

So, an air shock can lift a truck if it’s one that comes with one of the few air suspension lift kits available on the market.

Leveling a Truck with Air Shocks

Leveling a Truck with Air Shocks

This is a viable thing to do with any truck. Though the factory height of a truck on the front is always a bit lower than the back, a truck fitted with air suspension almost never requires a leveling kit.

The reason for that is that, when there is no load on the back, you can adjust the pressure in the shocks so that the front shocks are pressurized more than the rear shocks so that the vehicle stands level.

Again, when the truck is carrying loads, the back will get lower anyway, and the stance will be more level.

Now, if the back is still higher, you can raise the front as needed to make the truck level. If the back is sagging more than the front, you can pressurize the rear shocks until the truck sits level. It’s as simple as pressing some buttons.

What Happens When You Lift a Truck with Air Shocks

What Happens When You Lift a Truck with Air Shocks

So, you bought a truck that comes with an air suspension system, and you found out that pressurizing the shocks lifts the truck up a bit.

Now you’re thinking, “What if I could use this extra height to install some bigger tires on those wheels?”

Well, you could technically do so, as is the case for many trucks. But this will come with a lot of challenges.

First of all, to install bigger tires, you’ll need that extra space in the wheel well all the time, or else the tires will grind against the fender wall.

To keep that space always available, the air shocks have to be permanently inflated. This poses many challenges, which I’m going to talk about now.

Issues with Drive Quality

Maximizing pressure in the air shocks will increase the ride height for sure. But it’s also going to make the truck ride extremely rough.

The shocks will be too stiff, and you will undoubtedly feel every pebble, hole, or bump your tires will encounter. The ride quality will deteriorate, and the truck will be too jumpy at zero loads and too shaky with any amount of load.

You will encounter extreme vibrations and shakiness, and as a result, more fatigue and tiredness too.

The reason most people lift their trucks is for ease of off-roading. But lifting a truck by increasing air pressure in the shocks will only make the off-roading experience worse.

Durability Issues

All air shocks are rated for a certain weight and pressure level. They are not built to be kept at maximum pressure all the time.

So, if you’re constantly keeping them pressurized, they will wear faster, and there will be leakage issues sooner than you’ll realize. The shocks may even fail mid-drive, which will leave you in a helpless situation.

Air shocks are pricey, and you don’t want to damage them or use them up too soon.

Also, other components of the truck will take a toll as well. Because the truck will drive rough and there will be a lot of vibrations, which will cause more wear and tear on every component attached to the whole truck.

Leveling Issues

As I’ve told you earlier, one of the key advantages of an air suspension system is its ability to keep a truck level with any amount of load on the truck.

If you keep your air shocks at maximum or close to maximum pressure all the time, you’re basically giving up on the ability to level your truck in different load-carrying situations.

This means if there’s a heavy load on the back, or if you’re towing or hauling, the back is going to sag, which you’ll definitely not be able to compensate for, neither by increasing pressure in the rear shocks nor by dropping pressure in the front shocks.

Let me explain. The front shocks cannot be lowered, as there may not be enough space for the tires if you do. The pressure on the back cannot be increased, as it’s already very high, and further pressurizing may damage the shocks.

What You Can Do to Avoid These Issues

The easiest and wisest thing you can do is not lift your truck with its air shocks. You should take advantage of their versatility and adjustability, but not abuse those things.

What I mean by that is, you can use air shocks to make your life easier, but don’t overdo it by using them for other extravagant purposes.

You can lower them when you need a smoother ride or when there’s minimal weight on the truck; you can raise them when you’re off-roading with weight and need stiffer springing.

You can raise selective shocks for leveling, towing, snowplowing, or doing other heavy-duty stuff or to compensate for sagging or leaning on the front, back, or side to side.

If you need to lift your truck, install an air-suspension lift kit. If you want to do it without spending big bucks, there are other lifting options available for you, like leveling kits, body lift kits, air shock spacers, frame adjustments, etc.

You can also combine them to get your desired height without pressurizing your air shocks unnecessarily.

Common Questions about Air Shocks Lift

How Much Weight Will Air Shocks Lift?

When you load your truck with heavy weight on the back, air shocks will help you keep your vehicle level for optimal riding experience.

Different air shocks have different weight ratings and you should check the specifications before you decide to buy a pair or two for your truck to ensure they meet your needs.

How High Will Air Shocks Lift My Truck?

While you can make your truck ride a couple of inches higher by increasing air pressure inside the shocks, they are not designed to be used for lifting purposes and this extra height will pose a lot of challenges.

The option to raise these suspensions is straightly for adjusting to different load levels and road surfaces.

Can I Add Spacers With Air Shocks?

There are aftermarket air shock spacers available. So, if you must have that extra suspension height without pressurizing the shocks too much, you can install an air shock spacer.

This type of spacer sits over the axle and adds several inches of extra height under the air shocks.

Do Air Shocks Increase Payload?

Air shocks cannot and do not intend to increase the amount of load a truck can carry. They just change how a truck handles loads on its back and the way a truck can be adjusted to ensure a comparatively better driving feel.

link to “can you lift a truck with air suspension”