How to Install a Car Lift Kit

by Contributor

A car lift kit elevates the vehicle further up off the ground, giving it more clearance and helping it gain better traction. This is particularly important for off-road vehicles, which can be damaged by rocks and other objects scraping against the vehicle's underside. Specific details on how to install a car lift kit vary from vehicle to vehicle, but a few general rules govern the operation.

Elevate the car on a jack or lift winch so that it is safely and securely above the ground.

Remove the wheels using a lug wrench, setting the lug nuts aside where they will not be lost.

Disconnect the sway bar link from the lower control arm on each side of the vehicle.

Unbolt the outer tie rod ends as well as the lower bolt through the shock/coil assembly.

Detach the upper nuts on the shock absorber array that connect it to the upper shock tower. There are usually four of them.

Disconnect the coil and strut assembly from each tire.

Write down the alignment of the top plate of the strut studs to the lower shock hole. You'll need to know this before compressing the spring or else you will need to install the lift kit all over again.

Use a spring compressor to compress the springs on each tire.

Remove the top nut, top plate and rubber isolator from each shock array.

Install the new main spacer and plate studs on each shock array.

Reassemble the top plate and rubber isolator, tightening the top nut over them.

Connect the new assembly for each shock back to the vehicle, taking care to align each one according to the notes you made when you wrote down the configuration of the strut studs' top plate.

Detach the skid plates from the car, taking care to keep track of the bolts. Use a floor jack to hold up the differential while you remove the bolts that support it.

Install the small spacers between the differential supports and the cross sections.

Tighten the nuts and bolts until they are secure.

Reinstall the skid plates.

Check to see that you haven't left any bolts or screws off of the vehicle.

Make an appointment with your local repair shop to have the new array aligned.

Tips

  • check Lift kits are getting easier to install, but even so, they require a good ground knowledge of automobile mechanics. Consult a professional if you don't feel comfortable doing this on your own.
  • check Specifics on the sizes of the nuts and bolts you will remove (and thus the types and sizes of tools you will need) vary from vehicle to vehicle. Consult your owner's manual to determine the exact size and type of wrench required.

Items you will need

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