To Lift or Not to Lift: A Jeep Owner’s Guide
What Is a Lift Kit?
A lift kit is an after-market kit that is installed between the frame of the vehicle and the suspension. The two most common types of lift kits used are suspension lift kits and body lift kits.
A suspension lift kit accomplishes two things. First, it raises the height of the vehicle’s body. Second, it raises the suspension of the vehicle. Depending on the type of suspension kit installed, it can also raise the height of the vehicle’s frame.
A body lift kit, on the other hand, uses spacers that are installed in between the body and the frame. The suspension clearance will not be lifted and remains at the same height. The body of the vehicle will be higher off the ground, but the clearance height will not be raised.
There are other lift kits you may encounter, yet they will either be suspension lift kits or body lift kits. For example, there are long arm lift kits, coil spring lift kits, and short arm lift kits. Each of these is essentially a different type of suspension lift kit.
Why Should I Lift My Jeep?
There are a few different reasons why people decide to invest in Jeep lift kits and lift their Jeeps. The first reason is so that you can install larger tires onto the Jeep. Some people want to enhance the look and appearance of their Jeeps with bigger tires.
If your objective is to make some aesthetic appearance upgrades, then getting a body lift kit to install bigger tires would be a good fit. Just remember that the ground clearance will not be increased.
The second reason to lift your Jeep is when you want to improve off-road performance. If you want to increase the tire size for off-road purposes, then you should consider a suspension lift kit instead.
With larger tires and a suspension lift kit, you get more stability when off-road. Another benefit is improved traction to overcome a wide range of driving conditions, such as snow, mud, steep inclines, rocks, sand, and so on. A suspension lift kit will increase the ground clearance of your Jeep.
Why Should I Not Lift My Jeep?
Some people want to keep their Jeep 100% stock with the original parts and components. Jeeps already come with higher clearances than other vehicles. If you use your Jeep as your primary vehicle and do not plan on doing off-roading or do not want bigger tires, then you may decide you do not want to lift your Jeep.
Even if you do not lift your Jeep, you can still enjoy some light off-road driving on dirt roads, dirt trails, beaches, and other such places that do not require increased clearances. Your Jeep will still be fun to drive and perform well.
What Things Should I Consider?
If you have your heart set on lifting your Jeep, there are some things you will want to consider as follows:
What size tires do you want?
The size of the tires will determine what type of lift kit you will need to install. If you merely want to go up a few tire sizes and add some custom wheels, then a body lift kit should be fine. It will provide the inches of lift needed to get slightly larger tires.
If you want to customize your Jeep for some serious off-roading and get the biggest tires possible, then a suspension lift kit is the best choice.
How high do you want to lift the Jeep?
Deciding how far off the ground you want your Jeep will determine what type of lift kit you will need. Please bear in mind that the higher you lift the Jeep, the more it will change the center of gravity of the vehicle. You will need to alter your driving habits to prevent roll-overs, especially when going around tight corners.
Are you going for looks or improving off-road performance?
We already touched on this consideration a little bit. If your Jeep is a daily driver and you merely want people to notice your Jeep, then you may only require a body lift kit to enhance the appearance of your Jeep.
Yet, if you want to go all-out and raise the Jeep higher, even if you do not intend to go off-roading, you may want to consider a suspension lift kit. Not to mention, if you ever decide to sell your Jeep, the off-road capabilities gained with a suspension lift kit could net a higher sales price.
What Size Lift Kit Do I Need?
When we talk about size and lift kits, we are referring to the inches of lift you want to achieve from lifting your Jeep. To increase the lift and tire size, the kit you use depends on whether you are going for aesthetic improvements or off-road performance improvements.
Keeping these things in mind, here’s a breakdown on the amount of lift you get with the various lift kits:
Body Lift Kits
You can get anywhere from an inch to about three inches of lift with these kits. Spacers are installed to add the addiction clearance around the wheel wells to get larger tires.
Coil Spring Lifts
This is a suspension lift kit that raises the suspension of the Jeep from an inch to about four inches. If you do not plan on replacing the control arms and want to stick with the stock ones, then the maximum lift you can get is about two and a half inches.
Otherwise, you will notice ride quality issues and driveline vibrations if you do not replace the stock control arms. You may also need to replace the track bar to get the maximum lift possible with coil spring lifts.
Short Arm Lifts
This type of suspension kit includes everything found in coil spring lifts, as well as the addition of longer control arms and track bars. With this type of lift kit, you can achieve a lift between two inches and five inches. Yet, there might be some other modifications needed for maximum lift with this kit.
Long Arm Lifts
With this suspension lift kit, you can get the maximum lift out of your Jeep. The kit will include just about everything you need to lift your Jeep. However, there are some aspects of lifting that are not included in the kit, such as a new driveshaft and regearing the axle gears.
If your goal is to become an off-road warrior, then a long arm lift is a great choice. You can achieve a minimum lift of three inches and lift it to around seven inches or higher.
How High Should I Lift My Jeep Wrangler?
The higher you lift your Jeep Wrangler, the more there will be other things that need to be done for the lift kit to be installed correctly. You may need to have the speedometer and gear ratios corrected to match the size of the bigger tires. You may need to invest in longer shocks, new suspension parts, longer track bar and control arm lifts, and so on.
In the end, it really comes down to what your intentions are for lifting your Jeep. Some people start with a body lift, gradually start upgrading by adding a coil lift, and then a short- or long-arm lift. The costs for these upgrades can start to add up.
If you have your eyes set on a specific lift kit, then it is better to get that lift kit installed than spending a lot of money going from one kit to the next.
Can I Buy a Jeep Wrangler Already Lifted?
If you want to save time and money and drive off with your Jeep Wrangler already lifted, you should consider buying a lifted Jeep. You can choose from existing inventories or custom design and build your ultimate Jeep with the lift kit, features, and options you want.
To learn more about buying lifted Jeeps or custom building one, please feel free to contact Pilson Lifted Trucks and Jeeps at 217-234-6461 today!