Service & Maintenance

How Lift Kits Impact Driving Performance: Speed, Towing, & Gas Mileage


In the US, lifted trucks are becoming more and more common. They provide a variety of benefits including increased ground clearance, better appearance, more comfort, better off-road performance, and so forth.

But elevating your vehicle might bring concerns about its performance on road. Here’s how lifting can change the driving experience.

Does Lifting a Truck Affect Driving Performance?

Lifting your vehicle improves its off-road performance, but it also has a positive impact on-road.

You may put larger tires on your vehicle with a raise kit for greater traction and more ground clearance. However, a truck lift kit affects numerous other parts as well, so they are not the only ones.

A lift kit changes the hitch’s angle, the springs become softer, and the tire ratings when it is installed. The package you select and the tires you install will decide whether your truck improves its hauling or off-roading capabilities.

Types Of Lift Kits

Body Lift Kits

When you need a slight lift and are on a tight budget, body lift kits are perfect. Body lift kits can only elevate a truck’s body by 2 to 5 inches. This provides adequate space for wider tires but doesn’t give as much ground clearance as a suspension raise would. 

As a consequence, the vehicle continues to function as expected off-road. Installing a body lift kit won’t affect the vehicle’s performance or gas mileage because the alterations are primarily aesthetic.

Suspension Lift Kit

Kits for suspension lifts make a significant effect. A suspension lift raises the truck’s complete suspension, including the wheels, providing your truck with a lot more ground clearance.

Suspension lifts may lift your truck by up to 9 to 12 inches. Additionally, a vehicle’s suspension raise may significantly alter the way your vehicle looks, handles, and feels when you are driving it. This type of lift is what you need when you want a more capable 4WD to manage difficult terrain.

Does Lifting a Truck Make it Slow?

Firstly, the temptation to mount bigger wheels on your beast will grow as your truck’s suspension lift rises by several inches. Larger tires tend to have greater tread for off-road conditions and weigh more than smaller tires.

As a result, the initial joy of raising your vehicle will soon wane as you start to drive away. Because even if you’re flooring the pedal, it will still seem… sluggish. It will seem like very little power is reaching the tires.

This is because adding heavier wheels and tires to your truck increases the stress on your engine. This indicates that the vehicle doesn’t use the engine’s power as well as it formerly did.

If you don’t re-gear the axles to match your wheel and tire setup, you’ll notice this drawback immediately.

Moreover, you will also need to change the gear ratios allowing for a more efficient transfer of power from one area to the next. This will give the drive train the mechanical advantage that was lost due to the larger tires.

On the other hand, there’s another aspect to this problem. Speed is a far more important element if you went overboard and raised your car by several inches.

When you elevate your truck, you shift its center of gravity. Because your truck will be raised off the ground, it will also have higher center of gravity. This implies that after installing the lift kit, your truck may be less stable.

On the highway, if you make a sharp turn or accelerate to full speed, you could notice that the vehicle doesn’t handle as well as it did when you were seated closer to the ground. As a result, you’ll find it a little frightening to drive your vehicle at high speeds and will often avoid it.

Do Lift Kits reduce Towing Capacity?

The brief response to this query is- sometimes. Although raising a vehicle may reduce its ability to tow, this isn’t always the case. Depending on the sort of lift kit you install, a lift kit’s impact on your truck’s towing capability will change.

Body Kit

A body lift won’t likely hinder a truck’s ability to tow or carry freight because its primary purpose is aesthetic. With a body raise, you may normally keep pulling your truck up to the recommended towing capacity specified by the vehicle manufacturer.

However, there’s still a catch. With a lift kit, you’ll be tempted to install bigger tires. Larger tires can affect a truck’s ability to tow, but not in the manner you would anticipate. Larger tires often transfer less torque, which results in the vehicle having less power. As a result, a truck’s ability to haul a certain amount of weight may be reduced by wider tires.

If towing big goods is your main objective in owning a truck, you should probably consider smaller tires and steer clear of lifting your vehicle. You’ll be able to maintain safety and avert dangers as you tow, by keeping your truck sturdy and secure.

Suspension Kit

Conversely, suspension lifts do have an impact on a vehicle’s ability to tow. Since suspension lift kits increase both the truck’s body and frame away from the differentials, your car’s whole suspension will be changed. This will significantly alter how it drives and handles. As a result, towing with a raised vehicle can be unreliable and may result in sagging, making it perhaps even unsafe.

Thus, a body lift rather than a suspension lift is probably the better option if you’re keen on boosting your vehicle but don’t want to significantly affect its towing capacity.

Most of the suspension components will need to be changed. For instance, control arms, shocks, leaf springs, and so on are almost always affected. Depending on how high the car is, an aftermarket lift kit may also require new steering parts.

Do Lift Kits increase fuel guzzling?

This also depends on the type of lift kit you are using:

Body Lift Kit

Lifting the body off the frame should theoretically result in a little increase in surface area. That probably won’t have a big impact on fuel economy by itself. However, adding larger wheels do add weight to the lifted vehicle, which will somewhat reduce gas mileage.

Suspension Lift Kit

The mpg is affected by a suspension lift package. The truck is less aerodynamic and faces more wind resistance since the body is higher.

Are there any other effects of Lift Kits?

Suspension wear and damping

Suspension issues might also result from lifting your truck. Long journeys on bumpy, uneven roads may cause your suspension damping to decrease, but this usually only becomes a problem if you’re lifting your vehicle by more than a few inches. This lack of dampening over time might cause more significant issues and potentially harm the suspension system of your truck.

Vibrations and Driveline Maintenance

After you elevate your vehicle, pay attention to your driveline. Intense vibrations can be experienced at top speeds due to lifting kits placing additional stress on the driveshaft angles. Additionally, this may cause your driveline and CV joints to prematurely wear out, necessitating expensive repairs.

Steering and Control

Your truck’s center of gravity will also rise as you lift it. This implies that when the raise kit is fitted, your truck might not be as stable. The car could feel a little unsettling if you make a tight turn or go at peak speed on the highway.

Improper braking

This issue is equally crucial and coexists with handling problems. If brakes aren’t handled, quick stopping and safety become a major worry. This is further impacted if big tires are installed.

Should you go for a Lift Kit?

The answer is probably yes, if you enjoy off-roading a lot. A raise kit is also a good option if your line of work requires you to drive across difficult terrain. Greater ground clearance can be achieved by raising your car by several inches. You can use all that extra wheel travel for rock crawling if you mount some powerful, large tires.

If not, less is more.

The majority of drivers never leave the tarmac, thus the only reason to raise your car is for aesthetics.

Some Dos and Don’t of Lifting


  • Select the appropriate ride height for your vehicle
  • Upgrade your brakes and lift kit together.
  • Make sure the bumpers won’t be raised above the maximum permissible height in your state before installing a lift kit.


  • Trading quality for the price.
  • Install it without the assistance of a qualified technician.
  • Neglecting to contact the vehicle manufacturer of your car to make sure the raising kit you’re thinking about won’t void the warranty.


How Much Does a Body Lift Kit Cost?

The price ranges between $150 to $300, with a tiny amount of variation depending on the vehicle model and lift height.

What Does a Suspension Lift Kit Cost?

A body lift kit is far less costly than a suspension lift kit. Costs for a 2-inch suspension raise kit range from $400 to $800.

How to install lift kits?

Lift kits are added as an aftermarket component by specialized shops. If you buy a kit from a retailer or online, look out for local aftermarket specialized stores by searching for lift kit installation.

Are lift kits harmful to trucks?

Your new truck’s warranty may be nullified by a suspension raise kit. That is a serious caution. In reality, though, a suspension lift kit—when done correctly—can significantly increase your truck’s off-road prowess. You might want to be aware that a lift kit increases the wear and tear on a truck. Suspension lift kits need additional upkeep and can degrade more quickly.