For most people, their four-wheelers are a precious possession. People spend a fortune just on getting the right look (we’re not here just to make some mall crawlers). Maintenance is another expense.
Lifting or leveling is good not only to get that hardcore appeal but also to improve performance with done correctly. Whether you want to level your car for aesthetics or ground clearance, getting the right sized tire for your lifted truck is important.
There are three ways to achieve the desired height and lift type for your ride:
- Leveling Kit
- Suspension Lift Kit
- Body-lift Kit
What Is A Leveling Kit For A Truck?
Trucks are meant to carry loads on their back. So they are slightly higher on the rear end. It might not look uniform when it is not carrying any load. So a leveling is applied to achieve an equal height.
A leveling kit is only to increase the height by 1 or 2 inches in the front. It is not a necessary set of equipment. It is primarily applied for appearance.
How Does A Lift Kit Work?
The lift kit would increase the height both on the front and back of the vehicle. It has a good shock absorption mechanism. A suspension lift kit is suitable for bigger vehicles that carry heavy loads on uneven surfaces.
What Is A Body Lift Kit?
This kind of lift is different from a suspension lift. Here the frame remains at the same level. Only the body is lifted slightly using spacers and blocks. It can be lifted to 2-5 inches. Since there is no suspension, it won’t protect the vehicle from bumper or road resistance. There is no improvement in ground clearance.
Which Is Better A Leveling Kit, Lift Kit, Or Body Lift?
A suspension lift kit is for full-blown clearance and leveling. While it gives a better-rugged look, it is also more expensive and difficult to install. It requires more components than the other kits. One can decide whether a leveling kit or a lift kit would be suitable depending on the purpose.
If it is only to match the front height of the vehicle with the back, leveling would suffice. It will give slightly better clearance than no leveling. But it won’t give a better suspension off the road. If you want to drive the vehicle on rough terrain like hilly roads, you need something to enhance the suspension.
Going for a Lift kit is advisable. However, one only wants to increase the height with no other changes, Body-lift is the best option. If one wishes to put bigger tires that is possible for body-lift. It takes less time and is easy to install. One can do it on their own with some basic knowledge. Also, it is more economical than the other options.
Advantages Of Leveling Or Lifting Your Truck
Other than the stylish appearance, there are other advantages of leveling or lift kit:
- It fixes the raked stance of a truck.
- It allows you to fit tires of larger sizes than the usual size for the vehicle. It improves handling and gives better acceleration.
- A lift allows smoother turns and enhanced performance on off roads.
- Larger lifts and small tire sizes can increase the offset. This provides better support for the vehicle on wet or snowy roads.
- The lower tilt on the front makes the wheel push against the front fender while on rough roads or bumper. Leveling can save the wheels from that damage.
- It allows better visibility of roads. Especially in traffic.
- Lifting does not affect the payload capacity.
- It reduces the load pressure on the suspensor and brakes when the vehicle needs to stop abruptly.
- With a leveled vehicle, one can add some features on the front like a plow or a winch. It will prevent the vehicle from sagging.
Types of Components Used In Leveling And Lifting
If you are just buying a kit you should not need to change many parts. But you will have to know what you are doing or else you could cause more problems, such as, throw your alignment off or develop some crazy camber.
- Adjustable control arms – It connects the wheels with the steering. It adjusts the angles while driving and keeps the axle in the center.
- Bushings – A tube-like rubber material that reduces the resistance between two surfaces. It is generally used for preventing noise and vibration.
- Track bar drop racks – It keeps the axial alignment straight with the level of the frame.
- Sway bar links – It connects the suspensor to the external end of the sway bar.
- Coil spring spacers – It’s a disc placed on top or bottom of the spring of a suspensor. It helps lift the vehicle slightly (25mm) without affecting the spring rate. It is made of metal, rubber, or polyurethane. Some brands may add bump stop relocation.
- Torsion Bar keys – These are metallic plates in the shape of a key. Provides suspension by resisting the torque twists due to vehicle movement.
- Strut extension – It functions like spring spacers, except that it is adjustable. It allows maximum wheel travel. It is used in vehicles with coil-over struts.
- Shocks – It minimizes vehicle movements to keep it steady. When the acceleration increases or the road is rough.
- Lift blocks – It uses blocks to lift the vehicle body. It is usually made of glass-filled nylon that has high compressive strength.
How Do You Read A Tire Identification Number?
A lot of information is present on the inside wall of the tire. Some people miss that while replacing tires. Wrong tire size can degrade the gas mileage. Too tall a tire will require greater torque to move the vehicle.
And if it’s too short, it will lower the top speed. So to get the right tire size for your vehicle, even with a leveler, is important. Say the tire has a marking of:
- P denotes the tire is suitable for a passenger car
- There could also be LT marking instead which stands for “Light Truck”
- 225 is the tire width measured in millimeters
- 70 is the sidewall aspect ratio percentage compared to tread width
- R stands for radial (it could also be D for diagonal)
- 16 is the rim diameter measured in inches
- 91 is the load index
- S is the speed rating (maximum sustained speed of 112 mph (270 kph).
Some tires have a different marking standard. Like 35×12.50R18. Here, 35 refers to the total diameter of the tire from ground to tip. The width of the tire here is 12.50 inches and the rim size is 18 inches again. When shopping for lifts, usually one has to know about the total diameter of the tire.
What Size Tires Will Fit My Lifted Truck?
For different tire sizes, the lift requirement varies. The motive should be to get good wheel clearance, shock absorbance, and smooth performance. It shouldn’t affect the driving speed or cause rubbing. The rim width can be 17 or 18 inches for tires 35 inches and up.
- 35″ tires – 3-inch lift
- 37″ tires < 3 inches
- 3 inches would do fine but not for off-roading. You will want something like a 5.5 or 6.5-inch lift with this size tire.
- 38” tires – 6-inch lift minimum.
- 38-inch tires may require you to trim away some fender or body
- 40” tires are the largest tires available. They require an 8-inch lift. You may get away with only a 6-inch lift since 40-inch tires are usually narrower than 38” tires.
So what is the best size tire for a 4-inch lift? Either a 35” or a 37” size tire would give you the best balance of performance and ability for a 4-inch truck lift. It is subjective but this is the most common configuration you will see driving around on weekends.
So your 4-inch lift makes your stock tires look a little thin? You have some options to choose from. A 4-inch lift is the most common for Jeeps and equivalent trucks. The best size tire for a 4-inch lift I think is a 37-inch tire.
You most likely will not have to cut away much fender or body. It will look badass and it will ride great. This mod will, of course, lead to more mods. But that is half of the fun with a truck anyway, so bring it on!
Thanks for reading and stay dirty