When people see jacked up trucks, they often experience admiration or derision, generally depending your cultural proclivity. Jacked up trucks, or lifted trucks, embody a sense of boldness and power that makes people turn their heads, even if they sometimes inspire negative feelings of over-indulgence. But have you ever wondered what it takes to put one together? A quick look at the local car lot will tell you that jacked up trucks don’t come from the factory that way, and for good reason – most people would much rather watch jacked up trucks rather than buy or drive one. Read on to find out how your average show room floor pickup truck becomes a lifted beast, terrorizing Mazdas everywhere.
The Suspension of A Jacked Up Truck
The suspension of a vehicle — which includes any vehicle, not just jacked up trucks — consists of shocks and springs. Newer vehicles often use struts instead of shocks, but the basic idea is the same.
The spring holds the body of the vehicle up and keeps it there. When the wheels hit a bump, the spring absorbs much of the impact while pushing the wheel back down onto the road. The shocks slow the whole up and down motion for the benefit of both the people in the vehicle and the vehicles other components. The first step in changing the height of a vehicle, either up or down, is to change its springs. In jacked up trucks, this includes bigger, taller springs. The taller springs alone account for much of the change in the truck’s height. This gives the vehicle much more ground clearance, but, often as not, is mainly done for looks alone.
Unfortunately, this also degrades ride quality. After all, the truck has gone from riding on springs that were painstakingly designed in a lab to provide optimum durability and comfort to bigger springs that were designed to simply be, well, bigger. The majority of the time, though not always, a lift also requires new shocks since the original ones will be too small to reach. You often won’t find many jacked up trucks for sale as most people desiring such a vehicle prefer to customize on themselves. Personally, it hurts my heart to see custom classic trucks with an emphasis on lifted trucks, but to each his own. When watching 4×4 YouTube videos, I often cringe at seeing a beautiful classic truck awkwardly aloft above its wheels.
Wheels and Tires On Jacked Up Trucks
The other major component of jacked up trucks is their wheels and tires. Although it’s not exactly jacking it up, adding larger wheels and tires can definitely add a lot of height to a truck. Aside from off-roading applications, though, as well as looks, there is almost no advantage to having larger wheels and tires. The truck’s handling will suffer, as will the comfort of those riding inside. Also, the bigger the wheels and tires, the worse the gas mileage and acceleration. What was already a fairly slow vehicle can become quite ponderous, which is why you don’t very often see jacked up trucks on the highway. Obviously, once the suspension has been swapped to make the truck taller, the owner of the truck will probably want to also get larger wheels and tires as well, since the truck would look quite silly otherwise.
Other Adjustments Made With Lifted Trucks
Although wheels, tires, shocks, and springs are the major components, they’re not all there is to it. There are also various other parts of the truck that have to be swapped and adjusted in order to make it drivable after everything is said and done. And special considerations need to made for used diesel trucks as well.
However, now that you know the basics, watching jacked up trucks should be a bit more interesting.