How to Choose a Lift Kit for a Jeep Wrangler

Written by jen davis
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How to Choose a Lift Kit for a Jeep Wrangler
(extreme off-road image by krysek from

Lifted Jeeps are very popular in off-roading competitions and clubs. By adding a lift to a Jeep Wrangler, you can improve its off-road performance on mud, rocks, trails and other surfaces. Lifting a Jeep Wrangler allows you to modify the body and tires of the Jeep with parts that may not fit on a stock Wrangler, especially larger-sized off-road tires.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Research the basic information about vehicle lifts and seriously consider the pros and cons of lifting your Jeep.

    Improved off-road performance is the primary benefit of lifting a Jeep Wrangler. Some disadvantages of lifting a Jeep Wrangler include decreased fuel mileage, a higher centre of gravity, more strain on the motor and drive train, and an increased likelihood that you will roll the vehicle. Jeep Wranglers are already considered to be at fairly high risk for rolling and offer little protection in the event of an accident, so the increased risk added by installing a lift is not something to view lightly.

    Simply put, lifting your Jeep will increase the odds of mechanical failures and accidents, and may void your vehicle's manufacturer warranty as well. Before you ever look at a lift kit, you should decide whether you are willing to assume the added risks associated with operating and maintaining a lifted vehicle.

  2. 2

    Determine what size lift you want. Jeep lift kits come in a variety of sizes and can add as little as 2 inches or more than a foot to the height of your vehicle. The smaller lifts allow you to add slightly larger tires and give you ever-so-slightly increased ground clearance on trails. The benefits of installing a smaller lift are that smaller lifts are less expensive and minimise the downsides of lifting your Jeep. A 2- or 4-inch lift should not drastically change the way your Jeep runs or drives.

    Larger lifts are more expensive, often require modifying other parts of the vehicle in addition to the suspension, and will drastically affect the way your Jeep Wrangler handles, both on pavement and off road. The larger the lift, the more strain you will put on the vehicle and the less safe it becomes. Larger lifts do provide a lot more leeway off road than smaller lifts, giving large amounts of ground clearance and even allowing a Jeep to cross water without getting its motor wet.

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    Research different brands and types of lifts and decide which lift is right for you and your style of off-roading. Different lifts are designer with specific tasks in mind, such as mudding versus rock crawling. There are also different lift and suspension options, depending on which model of Wrangler you are lifting. Numerous manufacturers make lifts for Jeep Wranglers, though not all lift manufacturers make lifts for all the different models of Wrangler. Your choices may be limited by whether your Wrangler is a CJ, YJ, TJ or JK model. Custom lifts can also be build by local manufacturers and bodyworks garages, so if you find something specific you are looking for, you may be able to go to a local shop and have the lift custom built and installed on your Jeep.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can, drive several different lifted vehicles to see how they handle before you select a lift for your own vehicle.
  • Lifted vehicles are more dangerous to own and operate than stock vehicles.

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