As you’re driving down the road, you look up and see a Jeep® brand vehicle all “jacked up” what looks to be ten feet off the ground and looking like it is ready to crawl over a mountain. We’ve all seen them….….the “monster” vehicles that someone in your neighborhood owns. It has huge tires and is so high off the ground; a step ladder is needed to get into it. Obviously, we’ve never seen a new vehicle like this on the showroom floor, so how do people get their vehicles raised this high and what is the purpose of “lifting” a Jeep? As you may recall, we discussed tires and wheels in a previous article and mentioned a suspension lift as a way to accommodate larger tires. So this time, we’re going to go into a little more detail on why people lift their vehicles, the different types of suspension lifts, and the benefits and disadvantages of this type of modification.
Although not necessary, the fact is….a lifted Jeep brand vehicle looks great! And that is why many people get a suspension lift. They get a lift, add big tires, and it greatly changes the look of their Jeep brand vehicle. Although it is not uncommon to see a lift on a Grand Cherokee, Liberty, or some other model, it is primarily the Wrangler that gets this modification. One of the primary reasons why people lift their vehicle is for looks. Other reasons people lift their vehicles include the ability to accommodate larger tires and to improve off-roading performance. Depending on the type of suspension lift, this modification can improve the vehicle’s off-roading capability to allow greater articulation, ground clearance, and negotiation of larger, more extreme obstacles.
What are the different types of lifts? The easiest and most cost effective lift is the body lift which is usually around 1-3 inches. This is a relatively inexpensive way to lift the body of the vehicle to change the look and to allow it to accommodate larger tires. A body lift usually only involves adding rubber spacers between the frame mounts and the body, and can usually be a fairly inexpensive addition. This type of lift will not improve off-roading performance or add ground clearance to the vehicle. Most people get a body lift only to improve the looks of their Jeep brand vehicle.
If you want to improve ground clearance and improve off-roading capability of your Jeep brand vehicle, a suspension lift is the way to go. A suspension lift adds or changes most of the factory suspension components to add ground clearance, articulation, and improved approach angles. There are also long-arm suspension lifts and short-arm lifts. A short-arm is a basic suspension lift that is relatively inexpensive, but has limitations because it changes the stock geometry of the vehicle. When this happens, the ride is affected. A long-arm lift replaces more of the suspension components and allows for greater articulation over extreme obstacles. All types of lifts allow for the use of larger tires. Larger tires help the vehicle negotiate larger obstacles on the trail. Without some type of lift, large tires would not be able to clear the fenders of the vehicle.
The advantages of the basic body lift are obvious: Looks and cost. It is a very inexpensive way to change the look of the vehicle and allow for larger tires. The higher the lift, the more the lift kit will cost. However, if you plan on serious off-roading, a suspension lift is recommended to prevent damage to your vehicle. Your factory Jeep brand vehicle is very capable over moderate terrain, but adding a suspension lift can take your vehicle to a new level of off-roading capability over extreme terrain. Several quality after-market companies offer various kits to lift almost every type of Jeep brand vehicle, including Mopar. Make sure to visit www.Mopar.com for a great selection of suspension lift kit parts for your Jeep vehicle or check out the suspension upgrades and components section of the Mopar Performance Parts Catalog.
Although adding a suspension lift can improve off-road performance or change the look of your vehicle, there are also disadvantages to making this modification. Raising a vehicle moves up the center of gravity which increases poor handling, creates a poor ride, rapidly increases wear on drive shafts, creates vehicle vibrations, and can cause it to wander while driving down the road. With this, maintenance and repair costs will also increase. As a result, lifting your Jeep brand vehicle may not be for everyone, but that’s perfectly fine because they are very off-road capable directly off the show room floor.
So the next time you see that monster truck in your neighborhood, you’ll know what lifting your vehicle is all about. Whether you want to only make your Jeep brand vehicle look tougher or are considering some serious off-roading, lifting the vehicle is one way to do this.
Does your vehicle have a body or a suspension lift installed and why did you lift your vehicle?