Lift kits had their infancy in the US military, during World War 2. Almost every vehicle had a higher body and suspension than what you would see on the road.
This is primarily because of a need for offroading. They were expected to ford rivers and deliver goods and personnel in high-speed off-road operations. After WW2, the soldiers came home with an intense desire to keep that fun off-roading going.
Enter: the lift kit. What is a lift kit and why should you care? Keep reading to find out.
Suspension Lift Kits
Suspension lift kits are the lift kit you’ll want if you’re planning to do some 4×4 off-roading. These are recommended for intense off-roading like dune jumping. There’s more info for how to rig up your specific SUV or truck model all over the internet.
But what is the suspension lift kit? Simply speaking, suspension lift kits lift the whole vehicle higher. They increase the height of the suspension, raising the body and the frame.
This is different than a body lift kit, as you’ll see later. It’s quite a bit more complicated than body lift kit systems and tends to be the more expensive version.
The best advantage is that the sky’s the limit. Some suspension kits actually improve performance, but in general, you won’t want to go too high. This will change the center of gravity of your vehicle, so you won’t want to corner going too fast. That is, there’ll be a higher risk of rollover.
Also, if you want to go into a parking garage, you’re likely going to have a hard time.
A suspension lift is also the most aesthetically pleasing. Those good looks and increased (off-road) performance boosts come at a hefty price, though.
Body Lift Kits
For those not too concerned with off-roading but still wanting a certain look for their vehicle, body lift kits may be a better option. Quality spacers generally start at $100 for most vehicles.
This kind of lift kit raises the body off of the frame of the vehicle. Most cars are built with the “body over frame” principle. The frame is a platform that the body rests on.
Installing blocks or spacers puts extra height between the frame and the body. The fender is also attached to the frame, so you’ll probably want to customize it along with the body lift kit for aesthetics.
There’s no actual performance gain here since the frame is still as close to the ground as before. You can only go a maximum of about three inches on most vehicles, too.
The only performance gain you’ll get is probably only from larger wheels you can now mount. Although, you’ll only get about another two inches on wheel diameter most of the time. There is also a visible gap that spacers and blocks create.
Some opt for a combo suspension of body and suspension lift kits.
Introduction To: What Is a Lift Kit?
So, what is a lift kit? Other than an extra few inches for those who are a bit taller, that’s a tall order to answer. Most of the time it’s either a body lift or suspension lift.
Off-roading is a lot of fun, and with this guide, you should have an idea of how you want to go now. Need more advice about customizing your vehicle? Don’t hesitate and keep browsing our articles for the latest news and advice!