So you want to head off the beaten track, or maybe carry a serious amount of weight. Unfortunately, you come to the realisation that your normal suspension just isn’t going to cut it. It won’t handle the pressure of lugging around a heavy load, nor will it get over the obstacles you want to tackle on the days you feel like having some fun. This is where 4 Wheel Drive lift kits come in.
Designed to raise you further off the ground and provide that extra toughness that doesn’t come from the suspension on a factory-fresh 4 Wheel Drive, lift kits are generally the go-to choice for many people who want to either make a lifestyle out of their 4×4 or do a job properly. But what actually makes a lift kit? In order for you to best understand what 4WD lift kit is right for you, it’s best to read up on what parts come together to form your ideal choice.
The springs are generally what most people think of when they think any form of auto suspension, whether it be on an everyday car or on a 4×4 lift kit. While they may look the part, they don’t actually do the job a lot of people think. Designed to surround the shock absorber, they help to provide additional stability for the shock absorber, and define how far your vehicle is being held above the road.
Many 4WD have what are known as “Leaf Springs”, which work in the same way, but attach more directly to the wheel look like this. Heavier duty springs will travel less, provide higher resistance to shocks and bumps, and firm up the suspension and steering of your car. This can be good in terms of handling, responsiveness and durability, but at the cost of ride comfort.
While Springs also help to deal with shocks and bumps, it’s not their primary purpose. This falls to…
Shock absorbers by name, shock absorbers by, well, nature. While the springs generally get all the credit, it’s actually the shock absorbers they surround that bear most of the load. The tube you see above is filled with gas and oil, which compresses as you travel over rough surfaces. In turn, this converts the kinetic energy that the car (and without the shock absorber, your spine) is impacted with into heat energy which is then dissipated, resulting in a smoother ride for you.
Many 4×4 lift kits come with what are known as “ReadyStrut” shocks at the front. ReadyStrut are essentially pre-assembled spring/shock set ups, with the springs, shocks and mounts all assembled and ready for you to simply bolt in. These can be an extremely handy, particularly if you’re installing your lift kit yourself, as assembly of these systems requires a special machine that unfortunately even we don’t sell.
Like the springs they come with, heavy duty shock absorbers will operate at higher pressures for longer, but provide a firmer ride in return.
Suspension bushes help to keep all the arms and joints of your suspension from grinding against each other. On something more performance oriented such as a lift kit, these are generally made of a tough, light material such as polyurethane. Such a material also helps to dampen the impact on the integrity of your whole suspension set up. These small pieces are crucial in keeping everything well situated and working as smoothly as possible.
Finding the perfect balance between all of these elements is the key to finding the perfect lift kit for your needs. You may need more comfort and more forgiving shocks, whereas you might have to sacrifice some ride comfort in the name of reliability. To delve deeper and find exactly what’s right for you, check out our next article here.
4×4 Recovery Tracks
Trapped in a bog hole, bellied out, or stuck in a sand trap? Any true 4×4 enthusiast will find themselves in one, or all of these scenarios at some stage. Don’t fret, 4×4 recovery tracks from TRED and Maxtrax have been designed to do all of the things that a traditional 4×4 winch cannot do.