SUSPENSION UPGRADES AND LIFTS

Look versus Function

Regardless of whether you are a truck or Jeep person, it’s hard to ignore a raised vehicle running big rubbers on the streets of cities anywhere. All sorts of questions go through your mind. Why did they do that? How much did it cost? How is the ride quality? What can they do with it?  Is it just looks or is there a function? Does raising your vehicle impact warranty on the truck/Jeep? It looks crazy and fun!

A few years back, raising your truck or Jeep used to be something only an enthusiast would consider for an exclusive off-road experience. Today, even casual drivers are looking for a little added flare by either adding larger tires and wheels or lifting their rides with a lift or suspension kit. To think you can actually raise your vehicle for as little as $500 is pretty remarkable. Keep in mind that a body lift is different from a suspension kit, which can typically add 2-8 inches of clearance.

A body lift is achieved by utilizing blocks and spacers to lift the body higher on the frame, which allows for larger tires, but without any increased ground clearance. A leveling kit addresses the “rake” built into the suspension of most trucks, meaning the rear sits higher than the front so it can haul heavy loads in the bed. A leveling kit is primarily used for looks. A suspension lift kit however, increases your ground clearance and can run you several thousand dollars depending on the brand of product, the type of suspension, and the height of the lift. You will also need to look for other mechanical repairs and upgrades on used trucks to ensure safe installations and you will certainly be requiring an alignment afterwards.

There are a number of key aftermarket manufacturers in the lift/suspension field including Pro Comp, Zone, and BDS. Each offers a slightly different approach in their manufacturing and installation kits, as well as different warranty programs. BDS for example, offers a “no fine-print” warranty which essentially allows for any broken parts to be replaced for the life of your vehicle. This is something off-road enthusiasts really value on their weekend punishing off-road adventures.

As for ride quality and gas mileage, there is a difference, as you’d expect. Larger tires with bigger treads will be the main contributor to ride quality, but handling is also affected by tire size and a higher centre of gravity. While all suspension lifts from the major manufacturers are designed with safety in mind, it’s never a substitute for common sense and safe driving habits.

The most important part of any lift or suspension upgrade is the installation. Make sure you source professionals with experience and a good reputation. You don’t want to risk investing several thousands of dollars and not have the install done right. These days, with a little thought, research, and local expertise, you too can upgrade the look and feel of your ride with a lift, leveling kit, or full suspension kit at a pretty reasonable cost, making your truck or Jeep completely yours.

RIDE-RITE AIR SPRINGS: LET YOUR TRUCK BE A TRUCK

FREEDOM: When it comes to using your truck that’s what the Firestone Industrial Products Ride-Rite Air Suspension System delivers. Simply put, Ride-Rite lets you use your truck like a real truck. When do you know that you need an air suspension system? Whenever you drive behind a truck that’s so overloaded its back bumper is almost scraping the asphalt when it goes over a speed bump—it needs one. Whenever you need to carry a heavy or uneven load for work or play—you need one.  Whenever you mount the powered snow plow to the front of your pickup—you need one.  Whenever you drop your camper into your box—you need one.  I’m sure you get the idea.  While they were originally designed for heavy-duty trucks, Firestone engineers Ride-Rite systems for pickups like ours.

Some days, you drive around with nothing in your truck box.  Other days, you expect your truck to carry whatever you can fit into it—no matter how heavy or uneven the load. Heavy and uneven loads can cause your truck to act like a rather expensive teeter-totter; if you weigh down the back end, the front end is going to come up. This can result in poor handling and difficulty braking.  Heavy and uneven loads can damage your factory suspension and put uneven wear on your tires–both of which can be costly repair/replace issues.

After installing your Ride-Rite System, these worries disappear. On those days when you drive around with nothing, simply deflate your air suspension system to the basic minimum. On the heavy-load days, engage the air suspension.  If your load is uneven, fill your bags individually to adjust your ride. As with so many things, you have options depending upon your needs and budget. From manual to in-cab controls there’s an option that offers the freedom to use air to protect your ride no matter what you ask of your truck.

If you frequently carry a heavy and uneven load, then the on-board air suspension system pays for itself in terms of versatility and simple convenience. Once the system is installed, you’ll be amazed at how many times you use the onboard air for all kinds of solutions. However, if you rarely carry a lot of cargo, a quick trip to the local gas station to use their air hose is easy enough.

Whether you select the basic Ride-Rite Air Suspension Kit or you go for more options and convenience, you’ll be reducing factory suspension fatigue by keeping your leaf springs from permanently sagging.  You’ll also decrease the stress on your entire factory suspension system that comes from repeatedly bottoming out. This system even reduces sway. Furthermore, Ride-Rite Air Springs provide a much more comfortable ride for everyone by increasing vehicle stability by absorbing road shock, especially on rough roads. Let’s face it, we often carry heavy loads on our way to our secluded vacation spot, but the roads to those ideal camping hideaways aren’t usually smooth blacktop. These days, when every dollar counts more than ever, it is no small matter to add that improved ride stability equals better fuel economy.

With a Ride-Rite Air Suspension System, you can get the most out of your truck without sacrificing comfort or your factory suspension. After all, there’s a reason that their ads often describe a ride as “smoother than air.”  No matter how much you haul, your Ride-Rite System can maintain a safe and comfortable suspension system on a variety of road types.