Lifting vehicles such as Tacomas, 4Runners, and various Jeep models has become popular in recent years. However, you might wonder why you would add a lift kit to your vehicle. If you have a Toyota Tacoma, keep reading for a guide on the benefits of lifting and the steps to installing a lift kit yourself.
Why Lift Your Toyota Tacoma?
There are many reasons Toyota Tacoma owners might want to lift their vehicles. Some drivers prefer the aesthetic appearance of a raised vehicle over the fresh-off-the-factory-floor look. Raising your truck offers a unique look, along with practical purposes too.
Some drivers use lifting kits to improve their suspension and make their vehicles more suitable for off-roading. The extra clearance from the lift provides additional stability across the rough terrains and off-roading trails. It also helps protect the undercarriage from damage by lifting it higher off the ground and away from obstacles such as rocks, logs, and potholes. Depending on where you live and how you enjoy traveling, a lift kit could be the perfect addition to your truck.
How To Choose a Lift Kit
Once you have a clear goal in mind as to why you want to lift your vehicle, choosing a lift kit is much easier. Here is a quick look at some of the most common lift kit options for your Toyota Tacoma:
- Spacers, or leveling kits, are ideal for those looking for an aesthetic lift difference. These kits don’t require any new suspension components or changes. They simply provide an extra 1–3 inches of height to your vehicle.
- Front or back suspension lift kits can alter your vehicle’s suspension for unconventional driving purposes, such as off-roading trips. These kits can help change the aesthetics of your Tacoma and its performance.
- Coilover lifting kits are a type of alteration to your vehicle that involves a complete replacement. This means you’ll need to swap out your current suspension components with these pieces during the installation.
- Body lifts involve adding spacers to points where the body of your truck meets the frame. This style of lifting kit adds height, but it can also require other installations to cover gaps that may arise.
What You Need To Install a Lift Kit
Some kits will come with all the hardware pieces you need to complete the project yourself. However, some kits only provide the appropriate lifting parts, leaving you to acquire the hardware elsewhere. Here is a quick look at what you’ll need to install a lift kit on your Tacoma.
First, you’ll need your lifting mechanisms—these are the hardware components that come with the lift kit to provide height or suspension. These components can include some or all of the following items, depending on the type of kit you chose:
- Upper or lower control arms
- Leaf springs
You’ll also need the proper tools for installing these parts yourself. Start by providing yourself with a clear workspace with the help of a vehicle jack and jack stand. These will help hoist your car to a comfortable and stable position while you work. Then, gather the appropriate tools. Some of the hand tools you will need for lifting include the following:
- A torque wrench
- A socket wrench
- A lug wrench
- A pry bar or hammer.
Steps To Lifting Your Vehicle
While your lift kit will come with a detailed instruction manual, below are some general tips and steps to help you prepare for your installation project.
Removing the Tires and Negative Battery Cable
Before installing the lift kit, you’ll want to loosen the lug nuts on your tires, elevate the vehicle, then fully remove the tires. This provides more room to work with and better access to your suspension, shocks, springs, and other parts.
Then, once your truck is elevated, remove the negative battery cable. This will prevent your car’s battery from shorting out or sending electrical currents through any other parts. Shorting out your battery leads to unnecessary wear and tear and could require you to replace your battery sooner. However, the biggest reason to unplug your battery is for safety. Stray electrical currents can cause electrocution if you’re not careful.
This is where your specific kit’s manual will come in handy. Depending on the type of parts and hardware your set includes, you’ll need to target different components of your vehicle. For example, if you’re replacing both the shocks and springs, you’ll need to swap both old parts for the new ones. However, some suspension kits only include new springs and work perfectly fine with your previous shocks. Consult your manufacturer or manual for the most accurate replacement. Remember to carve out plenty of time for the installation process. Professionals can install lift kits in as little as four hours, but it will take a bit longer for the average do-it-yourselfer.
Once all the new hardware is in place, you can reassemble your vehicle. First, use your torque wrench to tighten any last bolts, then reattach your original tires and lug nuts. Finally, reattach your battery’s cabling and lower any jacks. Keep your vehicle as level as possible as you lower it to the ground. Lowering the vehicle at a smooth and even level will promote better alignment.
Getting Your Alignment Right
Maintaining your vehicle’s alignment is a crucial part of any DIY project. Proper alignment makes your truck drive straight on the road, so you can understand why it’s so important. Proper alignment also prevents uneven wear and tear on your tires. Lifting the front or back end of your vehicle can lead to different levels of weight distribution, which leads to uneven tire wear. Therefore, get a wheel alignment check after lifting your truck to ensure everything connects and distributes properly.
Where To Find More Toyota Tacoma Accessories
Now that you know the basics of adding a lift kit to your Toyota Tacoma, you can choose the kit that works best for you and your vehicle. Here at Trail Grid Pro, we offer a variety of Toyota Tacoma accessories online for purchase, including lift and suspension kits. You can also find a wide variety of Toyota accessories for other trucks or other amenities on your wish list. Browse our website to learn more about the accessories we offer, or contact our experts today to help you find the perfect lift kit or other installation for your truck.