For those in need of more ground clearance.
When it comes to 4x4, I'm more of a fan of subtle 'overland' mods rather than the monstrous sky-high lifts and tires the size of houses – but, to each their own. The same considerations still need to be made, regardless of whether or not you're doing it for looks or function. So let's get to it, but first a word of the wise: if you're unsure of what you're doing, have the lift installed by a professional – that way you, your friends, and everyone else on the road are safe.
The first step in lifting your Jeep, or truck, is considering what type of lift to go with. Typically, lifts are divided into two different categories:
1) Body lifts typically give you one to three inches in higher stance and work by lifting the body higher off of the frame, thus allowing you to fit a larger tire
2) Suspension lifts generally give you three to six inches to work with as they raise the frame, the body, and add suspension travel.
JK Wrangler w/suspension lift
From the factory, a stock Wrangler can do most of what you need in the way of off-roading – Dirt Every Day even did Black Bear Pass in a new Jeep Renegade – but it doesn't hurt to have an extra inch or two. If that's the case and you elect to go with the body lift, you'll be happy to know that this is the most affordable way to do it. You also don't sacrifice much in the way of on-road ride quality, you can generally leave your driveline alone – and yes, you should be able to fit 31-inch tires on your rig.
In some cases with the body lift, you might be required to install a few minor things like cable extensions, new shocks, fuel filler tube extensions, a new radiator bracket, and possibly a steering linkage modification.
Of course, check your local forum first.
When you go more than two inches, it's time to start thinking about suspension geometry and making modifications to your driveline, brake lines, etc. Just look at the difference between the two kits:
And depending on where you are in your off-road journey, a suspension lift can transform your experience. Rocks you wouldn't even think of climbing now become climbable, your suspension travel and articulation improves, and that adrenaline you get while you're on the brink of rolling over becomes a lot more common.
In either case, you'll need to purchase a tuner or have a shop calibrate your rig for the increase in tire diameter, that way your speedometer reads accurate enough.
Lastly, don't say we didn't warn you. The temptation to get new bumpers, a winch, a roof rack, and everything that goes into a full-on off-roader to go with it is definitely real.
What are your thoughts? Which do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments!