Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


Truck Customization. Low Riders and Lift Kits - Vol.32

Truck enthusiasts are all about tuning their vehicles. Average, everyday Explorers and F-150's just won't cut it; you need a vehicle that sizzles—one that turns heads at every stop light and stands out from the pack. Enter the world of low riders and lift kits. Whether you're tearing up the backwoods trails and mud-shoots, or cruising the town in a blinged-out low rider—there are plenty of options to pimp your ride.

As a lowrider and lift kit enthusiast you have nothing but pride and respect for your truck. As you're aware, there isn't any lack of aftermarket accessories for your ride. Nowadays, chopped suspension springs, airbag systems and hydraulic systems are all the rage.

Airbag Spring/Hydraulic Lowriders

Lowriders have flourished and branched out to include fancier packages and new technologies. Custom paint jobs are...well, customary for lowrider owners and are often dubbed "candy". Chrome/gold rims usually replace factory wheels—and they perfectly complement custom body kits, LED's, tinted windows and "curb feelers". Some lowriders have been retrofitted with performance-boosting parts, chrome- or gold-tipped trim exhaust pipes and underbody fluorescent light-effects.

Lowrider interiors receive no less attention from the designer. They might deck the seats out in a tweed or leather treatment and swathe the dash in beautifully-cut wood panels. Monstrous sound systems with boomin' amplifiers, subs and tweeters complete the need for music. Throw in the rearview-mirror dice and you're good to go.

Airbags (not to be confused with the in-dash safety device) are often used as alternatives to hydraulic springs to lift and lower a truck's suspension. Thus, you can get an ultra-low or raised ground clearance. It depends on what you are doing, what the terrain looks like and which style fits your mood. It's among the most popular of lift kits mainly because of the cost-effectiveness over the legacy hydraulic systems.

In this scenario, a rubber bladder is topped-off with H20 (a reservoir) and contracts-expands via an air compressor to give you the desired ride height. In addition, special valves produce that "hopping" or dancing movement when you hit a switch.

Similar to their airbag brethren, hydraulic airbag springs have just been around the block longer. They use high-pressure fluids, similar bladder systems, and solenoid valves to control the ride height. In addition, two-four batteries are usually required to power hydraulic lifts—since (usually) the engine's battery is not able to produce that high level of power. The lowering and heightening motions that can be manipulated (usually by dash-mounted switches) can "raise" and "dip" the corners of your ride—either for a fancy side 2 side movement or simple pancake movements. Furthermore, hit the switch and do a three-wheeler or make it dance!

Lifted Trucks and matching kits

Trucks that are permanently-lifted are usually retrofitted via lift kits. Special, lightweight strut covers and sub-frame kits help to enhance the stock equipment that trucks ship with. In addition, they are designed to accommodate larger tires and bigger wheels (up to about 24 inches). Enthusiasts modify trucks in this fashion to go off-roading and cruising the city in the style. The main components of a lifted truck include:

· Custom leaf springs employ "positive arches" to provide anywhere from two to 6 inches of height, or lift

· Add-a-Leaf are simple parts that give additional ride height to existing leafs and also increases the truck's payload

· Lift kits—these typically consist of front skit plate, steering knuckles, front/rear cross members, cast-iron lift blocks, a brake line relocating brackets, stainless steel quilted brake hoses axle spacers and sometimes strut spacers

· Strut spacers make it much more cost effective to raise your truck an additional 2 or 3 inches