Lowered Truck vs Lifted Truck – Which Is Better?
Lifted Truck vs. Lowered Truck: Which Is Better?
Have you ever been driving down the highway and been rumbled past by a lifted F150 monstrosity where the driver was sitting a full five feet above you? What about spotting a lowered pickup so close to the ground that it’s struggling to get over the speed bumps in the local Walmart parking lot?
Ever wondered why people would go to all the effort to jack their trucks up or down to such an extent, and what the benefits might be?
Well, good news! We’re here to answer your questions and to finally put to rest which is better, a lifted truck or a lowered truck.
Why Lift Your Truck?
Both lifting and lowering can be done for cosmetic purposes. Some people just prefer the look of a truck that has had its ride height significantly altered. However, out of the two options, lifting a truck can also have some practical benefits, especially if you plan to do a lot of off-roading.
Lifting a truck means you get higher ground clearance. This greater clearance is vital when it comes to riding over obstacles and hitting steep ascents and descents without ripping up the bottom of your truck.
With a lifted truck, you also have the option to add on bigger off-road tires. With their enhanced durability and deeper tread, these tires are there to give you the grip you need to safely traverse anything from a muddy mountain road to a rocky slope. However, you need your truck to be lifted in order to accommodate their larger size.
The benefits of lifting your truck don’t just apply to using it off the road either. If your neighborhood doesn’t have the best-maintained roads, then that extra ride-height, bigger tires, and additional suspension length are going to cushion those potholes in the street.
The extra height will also give you an excellent view of the road and other traffic while allowing you to deal with common environmental road hazards, like deep snow and heavy rain.
If you are planning on towing, a lifted truck offers you some advantages. The extra height can contribute to a better safety margin and an increased weight advantage, both of which will help you keep better control over your tow-load when out on the road.
Lifted Truck Pros
- Better ground clearance, which means you can handle on and off-road obstacles, harsh weather, and have a commanding view of the road.
- The option to fit bigger off-road tires for better traction on challenging surfaces.
- Increased safety margin and more significant weight advantage give you better handling and control when towing.
Lifted Truck Cons
- Taller wheels can throw out your speedometer and even your transmission shift points. Lifting your truck can also affect your gear ratios and braking performance, all of which need to be taken into account.
- Factory standard suspensions will need to re-engineered to prevent the extra height from reducing ride comfort.
- Components like brake lines and shocks will need to be replaced to account for the extra ride height.
Why Lower Your Truck?
Fitting your truck with an after-market kit that lowers the suspension is usually a cosmetic choice. You have a specific idea in mind for how you want your vehicle to look and lowering it creates the more streamlined, aerodynamic profile you are looking for.
Aside from the visual benefits of lowering your truck, there are also some practical benefits.
Most trucks come out of the factory with the ride height on the rear increased a few inches over the ride height on the front. This is generally to compensate for the weight of any load you might have in the back, but if you’re not hauling, it can leave you with your nose pointed at the road. Lowering the back of your truck will bring the nose back up, giving you a better driving position.
Lowering the truck can also make it more aerodynamic by reducing wind-drag and potential increase traction by improving the tires’ grip on the road, although this isn’t always the case.
If you are in a truck with a particularly high center of gravity and you are worried about rollover, lowering it by a couple of inches may make the truck feel more stable when moving at speed or in high winds.
Lowered Truck Pros
- That sweet lowered truck look you have always been longing for!
- Lowering your truck can potentially increase its aerodynamics, tire traction, and reduce wind drag because there is less wind going under the truck.
- Lowering can reduce the risk of rollover, especially in trucks with a high center of gravity.
Lowered Truck Cons
- Lowering your truck significantly increases your chance of bottoming out, especially on a truck with a longer wheelbase. So, keep an eye out for speed bumps and other traffic calming measures.
- Lowering your truck might cause previously separated components to come together in unexpected ways, like your tires scraping on your wheel wells or your suspension being too close to your anti-lock braking system.
- Lowering your truck can seriously affect your ride quality because of how much it changes your suspension geometry.
So Which Is Better?
Overall, lifting your truck has a greater number of practical benefits. However, lifting and lowering a truck are done for very different reasons.
Most people end up lifting a truck to make it more compatible for off-roading. The lifted chassis and greater ride-height mean you can fit it out with chunky off-road tires and have the clearance to bounce over obstacles and up and down slopes without worrying about your undercarriage.
Lowering a truck tends to be more of a cosmetic option; it’s about how the truck looks, not how it rides. So whether you’ve lifted or lowered your truck, as long as you’ve got the sleek aerodynamic look or off-road power you need, your truck is the winner.
Just remember, lifting or lowering a truck means making considerable changes to a whole range of vital components, so always get a qualified professional’s opinion before trying it, or, even better, have them do it for you!