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Does Lifting a Truck Make It Slower?

Many truck enthusiasts consider lifting their trucks to enhance their appearance or off-road capabilities. However, there has been ongoing debate about whether lifting a truck affects its performance, specifically its speed. In this article, we will explore various factors related to lifting trucks and how they can potentially impact the vehicle’s speed.

1. The Impact of Weight

The first factor to consider is the additional weight that comes with lifting a truck. Lift kits typically consist of larger tires, reinforced suspension components, and sometimes even additional accessories like bull bars or winches. All of these components contribute to increased weight, which can potentially slow down a truck.

When a truck is heavier, it requires more power to move. This means that the engine has to work harder to propel the vehicle forward, resulting in decreased acceleration and lower top speed. However, the impact of the added weight on a truck’s speed may not be significant, especially if the lift and modifications are minimal.

Additionally, the type of lift kit used can also affect how much weight is added to the truck. Suspension lifts tend to add more weight compared to body lifts since they involve replacing or modifying various components, whereas body lifts mainly raise the truck’s body without altering suspension components.

2. Aerodynamic Impact

Another factor that affects a truck’s speed after lifting is its aerodynamics. When a truck is lifted, it typically results in increased ground clearance and altered body dimensions, which can negatively impact the vehicle’s aerodynamic efficiency.

Aerodynamics plays a crucial role in a vehicle’s speed. As the truck moves forward, it encounters air resistance, commonly known as drag. The higher the drag, the harder it is for the vehicle to maintain high speeds. Lifting a truck can increase its drag coefficient, making it less aerodynamically efficient and causing a decrease in its overall speed.

However, it’s important to note that the actual impact on speed due to aerodynamic changes can vary depending on various factors like the design of the lift kit, tire size, and driving conditions. Additionally, trucks are inherently less aerodynamic compared to smaller vehicles like sedans, so the impact of lifting on aerodynamics may not be as significant as it would be on a lower-profile vehicle.

3. Tire Size and Gear Ratios

When lifting a truck, one of the common changes is fitting larger tires. While larger tires can enhance off-road capabilities and provide better traction, they can also affect a truck’s speed.

When you install larger tires, the truck’s speedometer and odometer may become inaccurate because they are calibrated for the original tire size. Additionally, larger tires result in changes in the final drive ratio, also known as gear ratio, which affects how the engine’s power is transmitted to the wheels.

If the gear ratios are not properly adjusted to compensate for the larger tires, it can lead to slower acceleration and decreased top speed. To mitigate this issue, many truck owners opt to re-gear their vehicles by changing the ring and pinion gear ratios, allowing the engine to operate more efficiently with the new tire size.

4. Suspension Modifications

Lifting a truck often involves making modifications to the suspension system to accommodate the increased height. These modifications can include installing bigger shocks, springs, or lift blocks. The changes made to the suspension can have an impact on the truck’s overall handling and performance.

A higher center of gravity resulting from the lift can make the truck feel less stable during cornering or quick maneuvers, potentially leading to slower speeds, particularly around bends. This is because the higher center of gravity increases the truck’s susceptibility to body roll or leaning, affecting its handling and reducing the confidence of the driver at higher speeds.

Additionally, suspension modifications can also affect the truck’s ride quality, which may indirectly impact its speed. If the suspension changes result in a rougher ride, the driver may be more inclined to drive at slower speeds to maintain control and comfort.

5. Terrain and Off-Road Performance

While lifting a truck may potentially decrease its speed on paved roads, it can significantly enhance its performance off-road. The increased ground clearance and larger tires allow trucks to tackle rough terrains and obstacles with greater ease.

Off-road conditions often require slower speeds to navigate safely, so the decrease in speed on regular roads may not be a significant drawback for those primarily using their lifted trucks for off-roading purposes.

Moreover, the improved suspension and larger tires provide better traction in off-road situations, allowing trucks to conquer challenging terrains that would otherwise be inaccessible with stock height vehicles. This increased off-road capability can outweigh any minor decrease in speed on regular roads.


While lifting a truck can potentially result in a decrease in speed, the impact may not be significant for most truck owners. Factors like added weight, changes in aerodynamics, tire size, and suspension modifications can contribute to a slight reduction in speed, particularly on paved roads.

However, the trade-off in terms of improved off-road performance and enhanced appearance often outweighs the slight decrease in speed. Ultimately, the decision to lift a truck should be based on individual preferences and priorities, considering the intended use of the vehicle and the specific modifications being made.