What Wheels To Rock On a Lifted Truck

What Wheels To Rock On a Lifted Truck
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Most serious off-roaders will tell you, it doesn’t matter how much power you have under the hood, if you’re rocking the wrong wheels and tires, you won’t be having much fun off-road. For most guys, lift kits are the easiest and most cost effective way for putting wider wheels and bigger tires on your truck or jeep. It is possible to put larger tires on your truck than what came from factory, but you will quickly find out that your options are very limited on what you’re able to fit on a 7-inch wide rim.  

When you lift your truck or jeep, you completely change the geometry of your machine. It can quickly become an on-going battle for off-roaders to figure out the perfect alignment, toe adjustments and tire wear once a lift kit is installed. Many times these problems can be avoided with some proper planning. Whether you choose to install a body lift or a suspension lift, you’re going to notice some changes when you’re driving your machine. Whether you’re looking for performance or looks, a stronger, wider and larger wheel is probably necessary to go with your lift.

Wheel Shopping

Gear Wheels, one of the biggest names in big wheels, offers a wide selection of wheels that are great for street or off-road use. Most enthusiasts require a rim that is strong enough to take the abuse of off-roading, but also light enough to not have a huge affect on gas mileage or turning. According to the Gear Alloy website, the company offers more than a dozen different styles of wheels that were designed and engineered specifically for lifted trucks. Available in different lug patterns, offsets, width and bore. Most lift kit companies specify how large of a wheel you can squeeze under your ride, it’s basically up to the owner on how they want their ride to look versus how they want it to perform.

Four Wheeler Magazine recommends that off-roaders try to use as small as a lift as possible to avoid excessive body roll. By squeezing a massive wheel and tire under a minimal lift, truckers can get optimal performance. Bumpstops and fender trimming can go a long way when you’re trying to get 33’’ tire in with a 2-inch lift. 

Alloy wheels are usually the best compromise between strength and weight while still giving your ride a sleek look. Alloy is a blend of aluminum and other metals that are forged into a strong wheel. Some companies also offer a chrome finished aluminum wheel that can still hold up off-road, but can be a pain to keep clean after playing in the mud.

There is no specific lift to tire ratio that off-roaders follow. The truth is that every application is completely different and some it involves a bit of guesswork. Luckily, the Internet is full of forums of guys (and some girls) that have probably already installed a specific wheel and tire combo on the same make and model that you own. It is wise to do as much research as possible before ordering a massive set of Super Swampers to your doorstep for a Geo Tracker.

When To Go Bigger

For most enthusiasts, throwing a lift kit on their truck is done out of necessity. A lift kit’s main purpose, besides looking cool, is to fit a larger tire under all four corners. However, it does come with a price. Gas mileage is said to depreciate whenever a larger tire is installed. Also, be sure to recalibrate your speedometer to avoid any speeding tickets, there are a few other things to take care, too. Installing a lift kit is hardly a “set it and forget it” modification.

Experts agree, once you have your lift kit professionally installed there are still other steps that you need to take to make sure your ride is rolling safely. Listed below are some easy steps you can take to ensure your truck does more than just look good:

Check Clearances: Depending on how big you went with your wheel/tire combo, it may be rubbing the fender or fender lining. Put some weight in your truck (a couple of buddies will do) and turn the wheels all the way. You should be able see and hear the wheels touching the fenders to see if you need to lift your truck more or simply trim some fender lining.

Alignments: Anytime you mess with your wheels, tires or suspension, you’re likely changing the alignment and camber of your suspension. Protect your investment by getting a professional alignment after installing wheels, tires and a lift.

Install It All At Once: You wouldn’t wear sandals with a tuxedo (actually maybe you would), and you shouldn’t throw a sky lift on a truck with stock wheels. Aside from looking silly, you may have increase your chances for Death Wobble, which can be a frightening experience for drivers of all skill levels. Try to plan a weekend to throw your lift kit and your wheel/tire package on at the same time.

If you’re still unsure of what wheels are the best for your specific application, give the gear heads at 4WheelOnline a call at 813-769-2451, they’re more than happy to “talk shop” about any of the wheels and tires in their catalogue.

By Sean Bowes
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