Installing a lift kit on your vehicle can do much for your pickup truck. You may fit bigger wheels, run the tires you've always wanted, and even hit the trails or beach. You've probably thought about doing this for a while but haven't taken the leap yet. With all that in mind, you will also want to consider how to handle the proper truck maintenance after lift kit installation.
Read on if you want to learn more about the essential things you need to do after lifting your vehicle.
Get a tire alignment
One of the most asked questions after installing a lift kit is whether a tire alignment is needed. Many people will tell you that it's not necessary, but they're wrong. The truth is that if you've installed an aftermarket lift kit, then yes, you should get an alignment to make sure your wheels are pointed in the right direction.
Here's why. When you install an aftermarket lift kit on your vehicle, the suspension becomes stressed and distorted. It means your tires may no longer be straight when sitting on the ground.
If this happens, then there's a chance that it could cause damage to your vehicle's tires and wheels. If one side of your wheel isn't pointing straight ahead while driving down the road, it could cause excessive wear on one side of your tire — resulting in premature replacement costs down the road.
Install new brakes
The brake is one of the truck parts that often gets overlooked during lift kit installations. If your brakes are not up to par, they could indisputably fail under added stress from the increased weight of your lifted truck. If this happens, you could lose control of your vehicle and cause severe damage or injury.
Replacing your brake pads after installing a lift kit on your pickup truck is recommended. It ensures plenty of stopping power even when adding extra weight to your vehicle's frame.
Adjusting gear ratios
The truck's gearing will likely change when installing a lift kit because the gears and shafts have been shifted further away from the engine. They are essential in powering up the wheels. For example, installing a 3-inch lift kit will move the gears and shafts on your axles by three inches.
When you change gears like this, it can alter your truck's fuel efficiency and speed. Changing the gear ratios affect how fast each gear turns inside its transmission and axle housing.
The higher the gear ratio, the faster your vehicle will accelerate at high speeds. If you want to maintain the same amount of power during acceleration (or get better fuel mileage), you may need to adjust the truck's gears accordingly after installing a lift kit.
The engine may not perform well as before if you haven't adjusted the gearing after installing a lift kit. It is because of less resistance between its tires and the road when accelerating from a standstill or traveling at higher speeds (due to increased speed).
Upgrade to extended shock absorbers
The longer shocks will help with the ride quality of your vehicle. When installing a lift kit, the vehicle's ride height will increase. It also means the shocks will have to work harder to absorb bumps and vibrations. They will either bottom out or excessively bounce when driving over rough terrain if they do not have enough length. That's why upgrading to longer shock absorbers is recommended because they are designed to handle extreme loads and high-speed impacts.
Readjusting the drivetrain
One of the most important considerations when installing a lift kit is ensuring that your drivetrain hasn't been altered too much. The manufacturer has designed the drivetrain to work with a specific wheelbase and suspension setup.
If you change these two factors, your pickup can become unstable or even dangerous when driving. Installing large tires and aftermarket truck rims like Helo Wheels can also affect how well your vehicle handles and performs in different driving scenarios.
Getting used to your truck's different handling
When you install a lift kit on your pickup truck, it's crucial to understand that it will significantly alter the suspension. It means that you need to get used to the new handling characteristics of your vehicle before you head to the highway.
To do this, you should take your vehicle for a test drive after installing the lift kit as soon as possible. You can also take it out on an empty parking lot at night or during rush hour traffic if no other option is available.
Adjusting your nerf bars or running board
After installing a lift kit, you must adjust your running boards or nerf bars. They typically come from the factory in a fixed position that may not be ideal once you've lifted your truck.
Adjusting these components will ensure they are safely positioned above the wheel wells so they won't interfere with your new taller tires. It also guarantees they don't hit other parts of your vehicle during operation or parking.
If you're unsure how to adjust them yourself, consult a professional mechanic who can help guide you through the process
Check if you didn't violate the service warranty
If you've recently installed a lift kit on your pickup truck, then you must schedule regular maintenance appointments so that the parts installed will continue to work properly. It is particularly true if you've purchased aftermarket parts instead of factory parts when installing your lift kit.
Some manufacturers will void the service warranty if you put any aftermarket parts on the vehicles, even if you have purchased from authorized dealerships or auto part stores. So if something goes wrong with those parts after installation, the manufacturer is not obliged to fix them under warranty and may charge customers for repairs instead.
Check your city's local vehicle laws
If you have a newly installed lift kit on your truck, you must ensure you're not breaking any state laws and may drive it legally on the road.
Just because you can install a lift kit on your truck—does not mean you're permitted to drive around immediately. It helps to check with your local DMV and state vehicle laws before hitting the road.
Some states require registration of a lifted truck as an altered vehicle, while others require a special permit before driving a lifted truck on public roads. Also, some states don't allow lifted trucks unless with special permits or registrations.
You'll also need to check with your local DMV if there are any local laws or regulations about lifted trucks in your area. For example, some cities require you to have special licenses or registration stickers for vehicles that are taller than stock height. Other cities demand the removal of certain parts of the suspension system when leveling off a lifted truck after installing a lift kit.
Increasing the ground clearance of your pickup truck can cause a serious issue if you don't stay on top of your regular vehicle maintenance. Maintaining your truck after a lift kit installation ensures your vehicle is properly aligned and safe to drive, whether on a highway or challenging terrain.