Lift Kits

Lift Kits - What You Need to KNow

Installing a suspension and body lift kit to your SUV or 4WD is one of the most popular modifications right now. 4WD vehicles are workhorses, but even these beasts need a little help getting over the steep hills, rocky trails and towing your caravan.

But what are lift kits, and when do you need one? In this article, we've put together everything you need to know about lift kits: the advantages, the legalities of installing one and more. We've got you covered.

What are lift kits?

If you've spent some time around SUVs or 4WD, you've likely heard about lift kits. But what are they?

A Lift kit contains the parts needed to lift your specific vehicle model and gives instructions on how to do it. Essentially it has all the ​​after-market parts and equipment used to raise a vehicle higher up off the ground and allow you to do a DIY service. Each lift kit's contents differ depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Body lift kit vs suspension lift kit

Body lift kit

The two types of frequently used lift kits are your vehicle's body and the suspension.

One of the most common and most straightforward types of lift kits is a body kit. This is the type of kit used to raise the body away from the frame by about 2-3 inches.

To use a body lift kit, you need to physically remove the vehicle's body from the frame and install the blocks or spacers of the equipment between them. The frame is then reattached with longer bolts to secure it, and the kit holds the body up further from the frame. No adjustments are made to the suspension or other mechanical systems of the vehicle. This gives you more room for larger tyres, but it won't give you as much clearance as a suspension lift kit.

Suspension Lift kit

The suspension lift kit extends the suspension and raises every part of the vehicle - not just the body like the body lift kit. This will give you a higher clearance level and help improve your off-road performance. Other advantages include better accommodation of larger wheels and tyres and reduced chances of your vehicle bottoming out on a steep decline.

Do you need a lift kit?

Before you purchase a lift kit, you should ensure it is the right balance of lift, comfort, and handling. Even if you’re altering your vehicle to spend most of its time offroad, your vehicle still needs to be comfortable on-road as well.

Some primary considerations are:

Lift Kit Cost:

Body lift kits are usually the least expensive option due to the cost of parts, lower labour time, and difficulty installing than a suspension lift kit. But often, people choose to get 'gap guards' to help cover up frame visibility, which is an added cost.

Lift size:

A body lift kit is limited to 2-3 inches. In comparison, a suspension lift can go up to 9 inches and is only limited by the legal regulations enforced by your state.

Vehicle Ground Clearance:

If you want ground clearance for your vehicle, you should get a suspension lift, giving you a 3-inch clearance. A body lift kit does not change the distance between the bottom of your vehicle and the ground.

Vehicle Handling:

Both lifting methods change the centre of gravity since the weight of the vehicle is being lifted. With the weight riding higher on the vehicle, your stability is affected, making it harder to quickly turn as weight shifts.

If you're considering a lift kit upgrade for your 4x4 or need more information, chat to your friendly local Jax Tyres for help.

Are lift kits legal?

When it comes to choosing the right lift kit for your car, you'll need to consider the legalities in your state. You are responsible for driving your vehicle safely on and off the road. When fiddling with your suspension, you need to make sure it's legal.

Body lifts and suspension lifts are also limited in height, varying from state to state:

  • WA: you can only lift the roof of your vehicle 50mm total, a combination of the suspension lift, body lift and tyres.
  • VIC: Total lift of the roof must be less than 75mm from factory conditions. This includes the increase of the diameter of the tyre and suspension. The maximum lift from either the tyre is 25mm (50mm diameter increase) or the suspension is 50mm.
  • NSW: Like Victoria, any vehicle you register in NSW can now be lifted to 75mm with a maximum of 50mm diameter (25mm lift) and 50mm from suspension.
  • SA: Overall, you can lift the roof of your vehicle by 50mm, a combination of suspension and tyres. Tyres can be lifted to a max of 50mm
  • QLD: you can only lift to 50mm. Anything past that (up to 75mm) requires a certificate.
  • NT: Vehicles are allowed an overall lift up to 100mm that incorporates wheel/tyre, body and suspension modifications

Lift Kits and related vehicle services

JAX Tyres & Auto offer a variety of related vehicle servicing options perfect for the 4X4 enthusiast. 

Vehicle Suspension Check

After you install a lift kit, you’ll need to make sure it's maintained properly. You can easily do this by scheduling a suspension check at least every six months and straight after you've had it installed.

When it comes to getting kitted out, it always pays to speak to your local JAX Tyre & Auto store to discuss your specific needs.

Vehicle Suspension Repair

Generally speaking, suspension systems are designed to last and will wear out slowly due to general use. However, setting up your vehicle's suspension can be a minefield of pitfalls, misinformation and wrong turns. If done wrong, your car may have excess load on the suspension springs, leading to damage or failure.

Suspension damage comes in various forms, including general wear and tear, corrosion, impact damage, or collapse. It's not always obvious or apparent when there is damage that could cause issues around safety and performance.

It's crucial to have regular checks and if you have any concerns, book in with a professional.

Signs that your suspension isn’t working as it should include:

  • Your car feels rough to drive
  • You can feel drifting or pulling when you make turns
  • You experience a bouncing feeling when driving
  • Unusual noises
  • Your vehicle nosedives when you brake

Wheel Alignment Service

Suppose you use a suspension lift kit on your vehicle. In that case, you need a wheel alignment correction done to fix the change in your vehicle's suspension. Often if you try and install a suspension lift kit at home, your wheel alignment will end up entirely out. For every inch you lift your vehicle, you lose 1° of camber.

Misaligned wheels can cause issues with fuel efficiency, increased tyre wear, and impact on safety and handling.

Check out Vehicle Servicing & Repair Options or Find a JAX Tyres & Auto Store near you for more details.

So, how much does it cost to lift a 4WD?

The cost of a lift kit is dependent on the type, the level of lift you want and the make and model of your vehicle. JAX, in partnership with Tough Dog suspension products, provide the ability to create a tailored suspension package that can transform your car, regardless of how you use it. Each lift kit is fitted to suit your specific vehicle and model. For any cost inquiries, call your local Jax Tyres.

Should I lift my 4x4?

Getting a lift for your 4WD is dependent on what you want to do. Before you purchase a lift kit, you should consider making sure you get the right balance of lift, comfort, and handling.

Some primary considerations are:

  • Your vehicles factory suspension specifications and set-up.
  • Vehicle use. Whether basic off-road recreation, haulage or towing, or more extreme offroading.
  • How much lift you need: For example, a 4WD that’s regularly loaded-up may require a 3-inch lift and 2-inch lift front to level out.
    The increase in tyre size you want will dictate the amount of lift it will require.

If you're considering a lift kit upgrade for your 4x4 or need more information, chat to your friendly local Jax Tyres for help.

Are lift kits legal in Australia?

Lift kits are legal in Australia. However, they're limited by the height they are allowed to be altered to, which depends on the individual state you live in. For information about your specific state, see the earlier section in our article for more details.

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