Flipping through Jeep Magazine, you see countless beefed up dream Jeeps with massive tires, a 4’’ lift, and an LED light strip. “I could do that,” you think to yourself, but it’s not that easy. There’s much more to finding the right Jeep suspension kit than sifting through a couple of options.
Research, research, and more research is the name of the game. Take your time, and don’t just choose the first thing that catches your eye. Check out as many different options as you can. There’s always going to be a wrench thrown into your plans.
Do You Need a Lift?
This is the first question you should ask yourself when starting your search. Do you need a lift? Think about what you do in your Jeep—or what you would like to do! Is it your daily driver? Rock crawler? Camping machine? Part-time cruiser? Think about five years from now. Will it be in working condition? Do you plan on selling it at some point? These are essential factors to consider as it will change which type of Jeep suspension kit will fit you best.
Planning goes a long way. Just ask your buddies about their process. Many people end up scrapping their original plans anyways, so be open to ideas and be flexible.
Why Get a Lift?
The main reason people get a Jeep suspension kit is for increased clearance and suspension travel, enabling you to fit larger off-road tires. This will enhance your Jeep’s off-road capability, but reduce the on-road drivability.
The other reason to get a suspension kit is for that rugged Jeep look. However, if you aren’t off-roading much, you may want to make some compromises because it will affect the drivability, gas consumption, and wear and tear.
Things To Consider
A good baseline to start at for a new suspension kit will be around $1,000 with the kit and labor, but keep in mind that prices vary around the country. For a kit 2.5″ or smaller, you can generally retain the factory settings for everything else, which will reduce the price. For bigger lifts (3″ +), you might be required to replace your driveshaft and fenders, and possibly upgrade to a long arm kit.
While it’s not 100% necessary to upgrade your tires after a lift, it will make the vehicle look more cohesive and more practical in terms of overall performance. Refer below for a general sizing chart.
- 33’’ tires→1.5-2’’ lift
- 35’’ tires→2.5-3.5’’ lift
- 37’’ tires→4’’+ lift
Other Possible Modifications
Depending on the size and type of your lift you may need to add a few more modifications to reach peak performance. The added height of the kit can throw off the geometry and balance in certain parts of your Jeep.
- Driveshaft: Taller lift kits will put more stress on your driveshaft. Depending on the size of your lift, you may need to upgrade to an aftermarket driveshaft to compensate. For shorter lifts, you can also look into a slip yoke eliminator to reduce the length of the transfer case to protect the drive shaft.
- Fenders: If you choose to increase your tire size as well, there is a good chance that you’ll need to trim your fenders or totally replace them.
- Extension brackets: Taller lifts may require you to add some extension brackets onto your radiator, shifter, and steering linkage.
- Brake line extension: Jeeps can vary, but the additional height may require you to extend your brake lines.
Go With Your Gut
After researching and double-checking and triple-checking—go with what makes you the most comfortable. Listen to the experts, read all the articles, but know your Jeep the best and want to do with it.
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