Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

A lifted black Chevy Silverado z71

Do You Even Lift? The Pros and Cons of Lifted Trucks For Sale

The automotive world can be a really weird place. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a useful vehicle, then spend thousands more to customize it to your liking. That can mean any number of things, but one thing that tends to stand out the most is a lift kit on a pickup truck. That is primarily because they literally stand out above the crowded streets. If you can find lifted trucks for sale in the used car market, they’ll have the same effect at a fraction of the price.

One of the oddest things about lifted trucks is that, unlike many other modified vehicles, lifted trucks serve a very specific purpose. Decals, tinted windows, multi-tone paint jobs and undercarriage lights do not enhance the performance of a car. They can certainly look pretty cool, but they don’t help you use your car for anything other than aesthetic appeal. A lifted truck, however, has great utility added. If you are looking for lifted trucks for sale, you are probably aware of some of these things. You might not know some of these little tidbits, though.

Versatility

Despite the fact that pickup trucks have gained popularity as passenger vehicles in recent decades, a pickup truck is still the most serviceable vehicle type on the market. They generally are equipped with the horsepower and torque to handle hauling and towing needs. And, as the world usually works, the bigger the truck is, the more powerful it is likely to be. SUVs have a lot of the same engines but lack the exterior/open cargo space that trucks have. Sports cars have some pretty large and very powerful engines, but their frames are not built or designed to tow things behind them. Pickup trucks cover both of those extremely important bases.

When it comes to towing, a lifted truck will give you an inherent advantage over a regular pickup truck. Of course, much of this equation depends on the weight of the truck against the weight of the trailer. They should have an appropriate ratio. You don’t want to be hauling a tiny trailer behind a large, lifted truck any more than you would want to haul a horse trailer behind a Toyota Camry. It will be very difficult to control from a weight to weight perspective.  A lifted truck distributes the weight differently to allow for greater optimization of towing power.

Off-Roading

Another one of the more useful reasons to own a pickup truck is for recreational purposes, i.e. off-roading. While a lot of stock pickup trucks are perfectly suited for that (and some even cater especially for that crowd), a lifted truck will provide a ton of additional advantages. First of all, and most obvious, is that you are less likely to get stuck in mud, sand or wet terrain with a lifted truck than with a stock truck. Not only is the terrain further away from the truck body, and less likely to bog it down, the tires and wheels get a little extra torque when the body is further from the ground. This allows for a little extra engine muscle if you find yourself getting bogged down. Second, when you are off-roading, the terrain you are going over will likely have some rocks, branches and other debris. In a stock truck, hitting some of those sharp objects can do catastrophic damage to your undercarriage. With a lifted truck, you are far less likely to have those rocks and branches even hit you, much less do any serious damage.

A lifted gray GMC in the forest

Daily Driving

Not everybody goes off-roading, a lot of people will use the lifted truck purely for its aesthetic appeal. That still means they will have to do daily driving. The same principle with the off-road stones and sticks applies to even daily driving. Potholes can sometimes pop up out of nowhere. Perhaps a route that you take on a regular basis installed a couple of new, unannounced speed bumps. If you hit those obstacles with a stock truck (or, even worse, a car) even just a little bit faster than you should you could seriously damage your vehicle’s alignment. With the added suspension of a lifted truck, those potholes and speed bumps become minor inconveniences, but speed bumps you should definitely slow down for! They are there for a reason.

As far as daily driving goes, one often overlooked convenience of a lifted truck is, well, that you can look over just about everyone else on the road. If you frequently take roads that get regular traffic jams, there is little more frustrating than not seeing what is in front of you. You don’t know how long you will be there. Should you be patient and wait for the next 50 feet you can crawl? Or should you go ahead and put it in park and make a snack?

Us mere mortals in cars and stock trucks don’t have the advantage of sight that those in lifted trucks do. They can see over most of the cars, trucks and SUVs in traffic. This allows the driver extra time to prepare for something ahead of him, which could be extremely fruitful. As all drivers know, seconds could mean the difference between safety and disaster. Having the ability to see further down the road than those around you could save your own life, as well as fellow drivers. Never really thought of a lift kit as an optional safety feature, huh?

The Cons

Naturally, there will be drawbacks, as with any after-market addition. Most will come in the way of jealous looks or bewildered gawks. Some will jokingly ask just how many keys you actually have on your key ring. Don’t listen to those haters.

You will also inevitably find that your fuel economy is compromised. Trucks already don’t get the best gas mileage in the world. Adding the weight of a lift kit and larger tires to the truck will make it heavier, thereby decreasing your miles per gallon. Additionally, the lower a vehicle sits to the ground, the more aerodynamic it is. Creating a bigger body creates more surface area for wind to drag against. This will also lower your gas mileage.

There are steps you can take to re-gear your lifted truck to get your miles per gallon back to its factory range, but your lifted truck will never be the same. If you do attempt to re-gear the truck, your engine will work harder than ever before. This could cause some pretty substantial damage eventually. Fuel economy might just have to be a price you pay for all the benefits of lifting a truck.

Lifted trucks aren’t for everybody. Some go the opposite direction and drop their trucks to within a few inches off the ground. This allows for better fuel efficiency and less wind resistance but turns speed bumps into impassable four-inch mountains. To each their own.

If you are looking at lifted trucks for sale, it is good to know the pros and cons. Every alteration you make to a factory vehicle will have both, but for some, the pros will outweigh the cons. If you are doing a lift kit for off-roading purposes, it makes great sense and could save you a potential disaster. If you are doing it purely for looks, just know that it will cost you some dollars at the gas pump. And if you’re trying to save some money it may be in your best interest to look for used lifted trucks for sale to same some cash up front.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *