If you want to build a car that shines in off-road applications, you’ll
probably notice that a number of upgrades are things that wouldn’t
necessarily make the car any better for on-road applications, and in fact
many of them actually make its performance far worse. Off-roading is a
completely different world from asphalt driving, and as such the upgrades
may seem a little counter-intuitive at first-glance.
One such upgrade is increasing the ride-height of a vehicle, also known
as “lifting.” If you’ve ever seen an SUV or truck rolling
down the road that appears to be significantly taller than most other
vehicles, odds are it’s probably had this lifting service done.
To some people this may look a little absurd, but there’s a good
reason for it, which we’ll discuss on this blog.
What Is Lifting?
What exactly is “lifting” your vehicle? Well there are a few
different things you can do to lift a ride. For starters, the easiest
way to lift a ride is to install a taller suspension system. Taller suspension,
composed of longer shocks and struts, keeps the main body of the vehicle
up higher and puts more space between the body and the wheels. That allows
you to install the second part of a lift system: larger wheels and tires.
These days, most vehicles that are lifted are rolling on larger wheels
than what they rolled off the dealer lot with when they were new.
Why Lift Your Ride?
If you’ve seen commercials on television for “off-road ready”
trucks and SUV’s you’ve probably been somewhat impressed at
watching them roll over bumps and boulders, but the truth of the matter
is these vehicles are usually only equipped to handle mild to moderate
off-road applications. If you truly want to tackle the most brutal terrain
the backcountry hills and trails have to offer, you’re going to
need to specialize your vehicle a little bit.
Lifting your ride has a number of advantages that help you attack this
terrain. For starters, lifting your vehicle up higher gives this larger
suspension a lot more room to flex, which means you can crawl over significantly
larger obstacles without risking your suspension bottoming out and your
wheels rubbing up against your wheel wells. This also makes off-roading
more forgiving on your frame.
Ground clearance is also an extremely important part of off-roading if
you want to avoid damaging your undercarriage. As you’re crawling
over obstacles, rocks and other elevated parts of the terrain could find
their way up between your wheels. If your ground clearance is low, you
could scrape the underside of your vehicle on these obstacles, known as
“A-framing.” Worst case scenario, you could get yourself stuck
on the obstacle, and getting free again when you’ve A-framed isn’t easy.
Then there’s the tires argument. Bigger tires are extremely important
in off-road applications for a number of reasons. For starters, they keep
more rubber on the ground at all times, which improves grip. When grip
is at a premium on dirt, dust, sand, or smooth boulders and rocks, the
more grip you have, the better. Bigger tires also have the ability to
run at lower air pressure levels, which improves grip even further in
Finally, there’s one other advantage that many people don’t
think of: towing. The higher clearance and weight advantage all significantly
increase your ability to tow everything from added cars to junk trailers
to toy haulers. Taller vehicles tend to have better authority over trailers
behind them, so lifting your truck can actually dramatically improve your
stability when carrying a trailer along.
Interested in lifting your ride?
Call the Houston off-road performance experts from HP Motorsports at (281) 231-9950.