Outfitting Your Jeep® Vehicle 101: Suspension Lifts


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?


23 Responses to “Outfitting Your Jeep® Vehicle 101: Suspension Lifts”

  1. I put a ORV suspension lift on my 2008 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, to accommodate up to 35″ tires. The 2.5″ was selected so the drive shafts did not need to be replaced. The truck is used for daily commuting, promotion of our website, http://www.etruckaccessories.com and off road adventures! Cheers

  2. Gallimimus

    Yes, great. But, what if it is a new jeep that is still uner warranty? I have a 2010 JK, that is still under factory warranty. Can I still increase tire size from the 225/75/ 16 to a 31 or 32 inch tire. And, If I get a lift done on it, does it void the warranty. I hear about battles with dealerships all the time on the Jeep site on FB. So, finally. What does void the warranty and what does not?

    • The answer is no it does not void the factory warranty. However if you put on a new suspension and part of the suspension fails that would not be covered by Jeep. That should be covered by the manufacturer of the kit. The labor on the aftermarket parts is another issue, labor will not be covered* (unless you buy from a the parts and installation from a shop that will cover the labor also)
      If your radio or some other non related part fails after the suspension is installed that would be covered by the factory warranty.
      If your vehicle drives differently after the modifications don’t expect the factory to help either, after all you did change the way your Jeep rides that was the point.

  3. Jason

    I have a Tomken 6″ on my XJ, love it except for the cost of the 33″ tires 🙂 

    Gallimimus – I use to work for several off-road outfit companies and factory warranties cannot be denied from after market parts and mods to your vehicle unless your contract states mods that will not be covered. There was a massive law suit back in the day that cleared this all up. You can google search and find it – can’t remember the case file names

  4. Gallimimus

    Thanks everybody that helps. I was worried about that. I hear so many stories on the jeep threads on FB, about how jeep dealerships won’t cover warranty items for various reasons.

    • I am I shop foreman at a jeep dealer, if we install lift kit we will honor warranty.We know how to install lifts correctly

  5. I have a stock ’07 Sehara 2Dr. No one seems to be able to answer this question… not even Jeep or Les Schwab. I have 18″ wheels but want a heavier tread without lifting the jeep but cant for obvious reasons. Can I put 17″ wheels on it to increase the size of the tire? Really limited on tire size- basically road tires only which on Wranglers- should be illegal.

    • as long as you use the same bolt pattern, you shouldn’t have a problem changing wheel diameter.

  6. I have a ’05 jeep wrangler and i am going to but a 6 inch lift on it. Do i have to get new drive shafts as well? I don’t drive it long distances except during school breaks driving from college back home which is a 4 hour drive.

  7. Ok I wanting to put a 2.5 inch suspension lift on a stock jeep. The lift is just shocks and springs. Will that be fine or will I need to buy other things with the lift.

  8. Terrific article! This is the type of information that should be shared around the net.
    Shame on the search engines for not positioning this
    post upper! Come on over and talk over with my web site .
    Thank you =)

  9. Im new at at this! Im thinking of buying a jeep wrangler unlimited and want it with big tires but without lifting it that much. That way it can still look great with bigger wheels but without making the handling and driving the jeep uncomfortable! What would be the ideal body lift hight and wheel size combo? I will be using the jeep as my daily car but also to go to the beach and camping

  10. what would you recommend more, the hard top or the soft top?

  11. Dennis

    I have a 2012 jeep wrangler unlimited sport I just put a skyjacker 2.5 susp lift on it. I need to know if I put 17×9 with 4.25 backspace and 285 70 r 17 on them if I will have any clearance problems?

  12. i have a 2007 jeep wrangler X. i am goin to put a four inch lift kit on it and i was wondering if i need any special kind of rim? or can i use a the factory rim (17 inch rim). i wont to put 33″ or even a 35″ tires?

    • As long as your rim is wide enough. Or you get a tire that fits on it. It should not be a problem. Make sure whatever width rim you have that you can get a 33 tire for it. Usually bigger tired need wider rims

  13. C.j. Weydeman

    I have a 2000 jeep grand cherokee limited. I have 33 inch tires with 16 inch rims. What is the smallest lift i could put on it so that it doesn’t rub?

  14. i have a jeep grand cherokee 2002 wj model. i want to put a suspension lift kit on it, so i can tackle mainly sand dune tracks. how high should i go and what brand should i use

  15. I have a 2000 jeep wrangler and I heard I could push 3-4 more inches out of the stock springs to lift it. How would I do this?

  16. I have a 1996 jeep grand cherokee 4 wheel drive all the time i was told i can’t put a 3 inch suspension lift can somebody tell me why i can’t or are they full of it

    • They are wrong. I have a 3.5 inch trailmaster lift on my 98 zj, i have the 249 transfer case like you. I have 32 inch tires (265/75r16) on my jeep. It could use a regear to turn the tires a little better. If you stick to a more conservative tire size, it will be a little more fun, try 30’s or 31’s with a 3 inch lift. Spacers can clear a 30 or 31 even, and they go on top of the springs, so it is almost like having a fancy suspension lift, but all you need are spacers and longer shocks, not track bars and regearing the axles..

  17. Jacob Winans

    Just got an 06 jeep liberty, i want to put a 2 inch lift with slightly wider tires…I’m wondering how much this will cost and what the pros and cons are


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