Lift Kits: A do-it-yourself job?

Since off-roading is our goal, we’ve got to either turn our stock vehicle into off-road material ourselves or get a professional to do it.

A lift kit is the first place to start when upgrading your vehicle. An increase in the ride height of your truck will allow for mounting larger tires and the increase axle clearance will allow you to over things


What to know

Some lift kits for trucks may seem simple, and you might be tempted to not buy certain lift kit components, thinking you can do without them and ultimately half-ass the job. Making modifications without the required parts can be seriously disastrous.

Depending on how much room you have in your fenders, you might be able to jam some larger tires on without too much trouble. But without a lift kit, you’re going to have some tire rubbing, which isn’t good for the tires or the truck.

People do some funny things to make their vehicle off-road-capable like welding together U-bolt extensions, and not buying an extended brake line or engine case mount, or a longer driveshaft, etc. Please don’t try to fashion your own parts to save a few dollars. Even basic lift kits include essential pieces like longer U-bolts and shock absorbers.

Long story short

Installing a lift kit means altering a lot of things. It’s a drastic change. So, all the components are important to upgrade and make changes where needed.  There are some things to do that are essential to the success of the job!

Rigging things arbitrarily and skipping steps not only puts your safety in question, but also increases the likelihood of having to dish out more money to repair or replace broken components down the road. So if you’re going to do it yourself, please do it right. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

The best way to go is to buy a specific kit for your truck and if you don’t have a replete understanding of everything that needs to be done, find a technician who does.

Why buy Tires and Wheels in person?


Tire and wheel internet shopping not always the best

Just because the internet or an over the phone salesperson says a set of wheels and/or tires will fit on your vehicle doesn’t necessarily mean they will. We recently had a customer come into our shop with a set of tires he had purchased online. Unfortunately, he had to make a decision to either exchange them for the correct size or have us increase the lift of his truck. To be fair, it wasn’t any fault of the customer. Not everyone is familiar with whether or not a particular tire will fit a particular vehicle, which is why we stress to everyone that it’s important to first do your homework/find out what dimensions the wheels and tires are that are currently on your vehicle before buying another set.  And if you don’t know where to start when going for bigger wheels or tires, please take your vehicle to a technician and have them take a look.

The whole issue lies in the difference in talking to a person over the phone whom you’ll never meet and talking to an expert technician, face-to-face. The difference is obviously night and day. The technician can see and touch the vehicle and determine with accuracy the right tires and wheels based on all the variables in front of him. The aftermarket sellers on the internet can’t provide the same level of technical support in the realm of tires and wheels, much less for other off-road vehicle parts. Most of the time they are strictly selling a part, not providing customer service.

Ask a Technician 

The biggest part of the equation is figuring out which part is the right one for the job. Without having any professional direction, buying an off-road vehicle part over the internet can potentially lead to not only a huge annoyance, but also extra money out of your pocket that you could’ve otherwise kept.

The most common parts bought without consulting with a technician are wheels and tires. If the kit on the vehicle is designed for a 20″ x 9″ wheel, and a customer wants to put 20″ x 12″ wheels, he would have to go down in tire size or go taller on the lift. The thing to remember is that changing one variable effects all the others. Furthermore,  people often times don’t consider clearance issues and backspacing (how far the wheel sticks out away from the truck).

When you order the wheels online, the company you’re buying them from most likely isn’t asking you questions about how far your fender sticks out from the chassis or how much of a lift the vehicle has, or what dimension tires and wheels are currently on the vehicle. And these are the most important things to consider before making the purchase!

What kind of tire do you currently have on your vehicle?

Also, look at the load rating of the tires. For example, if it’s an E range, there’s a large amount of weight it will be able to handle. A D range is not able to carry as much weight. Remember, even if they are the same size, not all tires are equal.

Wheels have ratings too

When changing wheels, consider the terrain you drive on: highway, hunting camp, somewhere in between? Is it that you just want an aggressive look? Like tires, wheels have ratings as well, and it’s important to look at what weight vehicle they can support.