One of the first modifications many off-road owners make to their prized off-road truck is switching out stock tires for bigger ones with more aggressive treads. If you’ve been off-roading for some time, you already know the value of bigger tires. Generally speaking the larger you go, the more traction you get. Big tires also offer more ground clearance.
Before you shell out a lot of money for a set of giant tires, there’s something else to consider. Huge off-road tires may allow you to do more with your truck; however, to get them on that great truck with mods like steel truck bumpers, you may need a lift kit.
Big Tires and Lift Kits Go Together
When you plan out modifications for your off-road Jeep or truck, it’s important that you include any additional modifications that those changes warrant. It really isn't any different than adding steel truck bumpers and having to decide whether you need front truck bumpers, rear truck bumpers, or both.
Adding super-huge tires is great so you can climb enormous boulders; but they won’t fit under the fenders or steel truck bumpers without causing some problems. Larger tires take up more space in the wheel wells, reducing both vertical and horizontal fit which can damage both your tires and fenders.
The answer to this dilemma is usually simple. You need a lift kit. With a lift kit, the fenders are lifted up higher giving the larger tires more room so they don’t interfere with the fenders.
What Type of Lift Kit Do You Need?
When lifting your truck or Jeep to add bigger tires, you have two options: a body lift or a suspension lift. While both will lift your fenders enough to allow you to use bigger tires, there are pros and cons to each.
- Pros - A body lift is done using spacers that allow the body of your truck or Jeep to sit higher on the stock suspension. You can lift as high as necessary according to the size of the tires to get desired fender clearance. Body lift kits are fairly easy to install and reasonably priced, usually a couple of hundred dollars.
- Cons - The disadvantage of using a body lift kit is it does not give you any more ground clearance than what comes from the tires themselves. Body lifts can also put additional strain on the stock suspension, which may not be durable enough for the bigger tires or the lift.
- Pros - A suspension lift involves replacing the entire suspension with a taller, more rugged one. This automatically raises the body, fenders, and any steel bumpers, giving the added room necessary to fit bigger tires. There are many kits available with varying levels of lift; be sure to choose a kit to accommodate larger tires. Unlike body lifts, suspension lifts also provide a few other benefits like increased ground clearance and greater wheel articulation. They can even be combined with body lift kits to give more lift if you’re going monster with tires.
- Cons - The downside of choosing a suspension lift kit is the price, which is minor considering the benefits gained. Suspension lifts run from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars. They are also more complicated to install compared to body lift kits.
Installing larger tires is no different than other mods you might make, such as deciding on steel truck bumpers. With this type of modification, you can install front truck bumpers or rear truck bumpers, or even decide that you need both for the type of trail riding you do.
Yet before you bolt on huge knobby rock climbing tires or add steel bumpers, take some time to think about this specific modification. You cannot actually use these larger tires without doing something about fender clearance. This means you will need either a body or suspension lift kit.
Depending on your budget, vehicle, and any other benefits you may want to get from these mods, you can choose the lift kit that best suits your needs!