Choosing the Right Lift Kit for Your Teenager’s Truck or SUV

In my business, I get a lot of calls from moms and dads. People whose sixteen to eighteen year old sons are begging them to put a lift kit on their trucks or SUVs. People who want to know if it’s safe, economical and responsible to lift their teenagers’ vehicles for recreational or visual purposes. If you’re having these or similar questions, be assured that you are not alone.

A lift kit can be a very good present for your teenage son’s or daughter’s truck or SUV. Lift kits can increase ground clearance, lessen the jarring of the automobile that is caused by irregularities in the road, and give the vehicle a unique and beefy look. However, before you jump into the world of lifted vehicles, there are a few things you should consider in finding the correct lift kit for your young driver.

Suspension Lifts vs. Body Lifts

There are two main types of lift kits available today. Suspension lift kits are a system of springs used to raise a vehicle by suspending the frame, body, engine and power train above the wheels. Body lift kits are a system of blocks used to raise a vehicle by suspending the body above the frame. I recommend suspension lift kits for the performance-minded customer, and body lift kits for the cost-minded customer.

If your son or daughter is only interested in a lift kit for the visual effect, I normally recommend the body lift kits. They are easier to install, do little to nothing to effect the ride quality of the vehicle, and allow for the addition of bigger tires if desired. A body lift kit can make a vehicle look tough at a cost-effective price.

However, if your son or daughter is also interested in the performance capabilities of a lift kit, or would like to learn to drive skillfully off-road, I would recommend a suspension lift kit. Although a bit more expensive, suspension lift kits give a vehicle the capabilities to crawl through dirt roads, rocks and trees, and even mud and water. They give a vehicle the capability to go where most vehicles cannot, and see awesome natural wonders.

The Best Lift Kit Manufacturers

Once you’ve decided on either a suspension or body lift kit, you will need to know what type you want. Now when it comes to body lift kits, there is one world-popular company that I always recommend: Performance Accessories. Performance Accessories offers high quality components, easy-to-follow installation instructions, and low prices.

When it comes to a suspension lift kit, the decision becomes a little more difficult. There are many great suspension lift kit manufacturers that offer many different features. In choosing the correct one, you will need to consider cost, performance capability, ride quality, warranty and customer service.


If pricing is your major concern, I normally recommend either Pro Comp or Trailmaster. For what you get, these two companies offer among the best prices around. Both companies have comprehensive lift packages, including all necessary components and hardware, with tough trail-ready parts.

Performance Capability

If your truck’s performance in muddy or rocky conditions is your major concern, I normally recommend either Fabtech or SuperLift. Although a little more expensive than many of the other manufacturers, these companies build kits for hard-nosed off-road fun. With quality components and multiple packages, Fabtech and SuperLift will give a truck or SUV high performance capabilities in any off-road situation.

Ride Quality

Most people already know that a suspension lift will affect your vehicle’s ride quality. If this is a concern, there are manufacturers whose lift kits get great reviews for on-road ride and comfort. Personally, I hear the best testimonials for Rancho and Skyjacker. Rancho and Skyjacker are two of the oldest and most respected lift kit companies in the world. Their kits are created for good off-road capabilities without negatively effecting ride quality. Their kits will help a lifted vehicle maintain at least some of its factory feel.

Warranty & Customer Service

And finally, when purchasing a suspension lift kit, you must do some research into the company with which you plan to make your purchase. Lift kits of any kind can have problems, missing pieces or defective parts. I highly recommend checking each company’s warranty guidelines, as well as seeing how easy it is to get them on the phone or reach them via email in case of an emergency. It is essential to find the company you feel will backup their product the best.

Overall, purchasing a lift kit for your teenager can be a great learning and bonding experience. If you follow these rules, you should be able to maximize that experience by choosing the best lift kit for you and your child’s needs.