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    • conducts truck towing tests

      For many drivers, the ability to tow thousands of pounds in their pickup truck is second to none. It doesn't matter if you use your truck for heavy-duty work or purely for recreational reasons - you want to make sure it has the potential to handle whatever you throw its way. 

      'King of Beasts' 
      With so many drivers prioritizing towing capacity, decided to conduct an extensive test known as the "King of Beasts" to see which vehicles performed the best. The website took the 2013 Ford F-450 Lariat crew cab 4x4 and pitted it against the 2013 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty. Each machine was forced to complete a 1,600-mile trip with a cargo load of 24,000 pounds behind it. 

      To start the test, the website reached out to manufacturers to get a version of the biggest pickup trucks offered from each. The vehicles were attached to a trailer weighing 8,270 pounds and loaded with more than 16,000 pounds of rocks. Although the two automobiles do have different towing capacities - the Ford boasts a limit of 24,700 pounds and the Ram sits at 28,800 pounds - the website wanted to see how the machines would perform in a real-life setting. 

      The trip took the automobiles through the Davis Dam, located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, as well as into Colorado's Eisenhower Pass. While these areas do contain paved roads and therefore do not test the off-roading capabilities of each vehicle, it did offer a chance to grade performance on different inclines, altitudes and situations, which provided some welcome insight on the towing of the two trucks. 

      The results 
      The test was designed to push each of the trucks to its limit. At the end of the experience, pros and cons emerged for each of the vehicles, providing with plenty of aspects to consider. 

      Strengths of the 2013 Ford F-450 included visibility and mobility. The design boasts rounded hood corners and large windows, which make things easier on a driver towing a heavy load, and it also benefits from improved handling. It achieved solid mileage and had a helpful smart transmission as well. 

      However, things weren't all rosy with the Ford. According to the testers, the vehicle didn't offer the kind of sleek interior that is normally associated with its high price tag - upwards of $70,000 - and the diesel exhaust fluid gauge left much to be desired. Controlling heavy loads on hills and uneven terrain was also an issue. 

      On the other side of the spectrum was the 2013 Ram 3500. A new interior package - including an easy-to-use DEF gauge - and excellent steering highlighted some of the advantages of the Ram. Its powertrain was particularly impressive, as it acted as if they heavy load was a much lighter haul than it really was. With so many benefits, selected the Ram as the winner of its "King of Beasts" towing challenge. 

      Other evaluations looked at more areas than just towing capacity. It also used the test to evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy and comfort of the trucks while they were towing the thousands of pounds of cargo. The Ram 3500 boasted solid results in acceleration, frequently passing other motorists and rigs with ease, and the truck was also more effective at braking under pressure. Although Ram's range left much to be desired, the other benefits offered by the full-size pickup more than made up for it. 

      Fans of off-road driving know how important a truck's ability can be. Tests like this one from may give drivers something to think about, but various truck modifications and alterations may change the playing field, leaving motorists with the need to conduct their own driving tests. 

    • Honor Auto Battery Safety Month with a look under the hood

      October is Auto Battery Safety Month, and drivers who want to take advantage of the efforts launched in this month - and beyond - should be prepared to look under the hood. Approaching any type of battery without the proper knowledge can result in personal injury as well as damage to a vehicle, so all motorists should make sure they have at least a basic understanding of how to handle the situation before diving in. 

      Focus on car batteries
      For many motorists, the main focus during Auto Battery Safety Months will be on how to handle a car battery. The main purpose behind these efforts is to prevent harm to individuals and their vehicles, and these campaigns are not without basis. 

      According to data compiled by Prevent Blindness American, each year there are more than 6,000 eye injuries resulting from accidents with auto batteries. These situations may involve cuts to the eye from flying fragments or hazardous chemicals from the battery coming into contact with the eyes. Other common injuries include skin burns and cuts to the hand. 

      "Auto Battery Safety Month is a great time to raise awareness on how to avoid risks when changing a car battery, as well as on how to properly and safely jump start your car," said Brian Hafer, a vice president at "... Whether dead or not, batteries can release and explosive hydrogen gas, and all it takes is a small spark to ignite the gas." 

      Many potentially dangerous situations arise when batteries explode or are in some way damaged and the driver tries to rectify the problem. This is not restricted to just automobiles, however. 

      Not just under the hood
      Caring for auto batteries is of the utmost importance, but there are several other batteries found around your garage that need to be handled properly. For example, many drivers make it a point to have equipment like truck lifts, such as those that come in handy when making truck modifications or installing a lift kit, sitting around the garage. Dealing with the batteries and gear that are a part of these systems needs to be done properly. 

      All batteries should be expertly maintained. This usually involves inspecting them for damage or corrosion, as well as cleaning the work area to make sure there is nothing that can spark or be damaged by the battery acid. Similarly, you should be checking individual battery chargers to guarantee that the problem does not lie with this other accessory. 

      Finally, whenever you are dealing with batteries for any piece of equipment, you should keep all types of open flames away. This means never smoking or bringing any kind of spark into the work environment. 

      Safety tips for any scenario
      No matter what type of battery you are dealing with, you should be practicing the best safety tips. Before dealing with any unknown machinery or car batteries, be sure to read over the owner's manual, which may have insight into the best way of managing the gear. Wearing gloves and eye protection is also important for any car owner, as is checking equipment, such as jumper cables, to ensure they are in proper working condition. 

      Additionally, you should never try to jump start a frozen battery, and you always need to make sure the ignition is off in both vehicles when jump starting a car. 

      Most importantly, you should only handle the auto battery if you know what you are doing and have the proper tools. While it may be tempting to pop the hood and take care of a problem yourself, this can only be safely and efficiently done by owners with the know-how and equipment. 

    • Chevy debuts 2 new concept trucks

      It appeared that Chevrolet was going to make a splash at the State Fair of Texas Auto Show with the debut of the 2015 Silverado HD. While this unveiling certainly got the showcase started off on the right foot, it wasn't the only big news the automaker had. The American manufacturer chose the annual festival as the place to unveil two new concept trucks, and they are quickly gaining steam as an even more rugged twist on the Silverado. 

      Using the 2014 Chevy Silverado as a base, the manufacturer carried out some extreme truck mods and created two of the most unique and memorable concept vehicles out there. 

      About the Silverado Black Ops
      Simply put, the Silverado Black Ops is a beacon of preparedness. The vehicle has everything a driver would need to conquer off-road trails or make it through a zombie apocalypse, and a few of these features are especially enticing, Motor Authority reported. Made from Silverado Crew Cab 4x4, the truck boasts lower body armor for increased protection as well as a raised Chevy suspension to provide more ground clearance. Under the hood, drivers will find a 5.3-liter EcoTec V-8 engine offering 355 horsepower and 383 foot-pounds of torque. 

      "Luck favors the prepared, and the Silverado Black Ops concept is a survival kit on four wheels," said Dave Ross, Chevrolet's design manager. "This concept truck showcases the stronger, smarter and more capable elements of the 2014 Silverado and how accessories can enhance them to suit any lifestyle."

      Even the truck's accessories are catered toward handling emergencies. Its storage unit has a solar power pack, gas masks, gloves, a first aid kit, a shovel and rope. That's just the beginning, as food and water rations, a fuel container and even a generator are installed on top of the locker. A front-mounted winch, LED lights and integrated tow hooks are also included for heavy-duty work. To top it all off, the Silverado Black Ops employs a rugged paint job, complete with built-in scrapes and yellow accents. 

      About the Silverado Volunteer Firefighter
      The Silverado Volunteer Firefighter is a truck made with input from the National Volunteer Fire Council in honor of the noble work that firefighters do every day. This concept vehicle has been outfitted with everything from rescue equipment to an off-road suspension, making it a top option for any first responders or extreme drivers. 

      One of the first things drivers will notice about the truck is its design scheme, which itself is a nod to firefighters. The red and silver paint covers what was once a Silverado Double Cab and highlights the chrome steps and 22-inch wheels. A siren, public address system, chrome fire extinguishers and even an ax have also been installed to provide firefighters with everything they need to save lives. There's still extra storage room, despite all of these additions. Cargo space provides plenty of available storage for helmets, air packs, gloves, jackets and pants needed to fight fires. 

      "We wanted to pay tribute to these important men and women in communities everywhere," said Chris Perry, vice president of marketing for Chevrolet. "They are the kind of hard-working Americans for whom we design and build the Silverado, making sure it delivers the capability and dependability they expect."

      High-performance is a given considering all of the truck modifications that went into this vehicle. A revised suspension and wider wheels provide smoother handling, while an array of safety features ensures that drivers won't have to worry about trouble en route to an emergency situation. 

    • Toyota Dream Build Challenge announces teams

      Customizing a vehicle with truck mods and accessories is just one of the many ways drivers immerse themselves in the auto experience. Toyota is making sure it is a memorable one, however - especially for those teams who participate in the manufacturer's upcoming Dream Build Challenge. This competition aims to put modifications at the forefront and show off all of the different ways drivers can customize their Toyota vehicles. 

      About the challenge
      The Toyota Dream Build Challenge allows teams to create one-of-a-kind automobiles that will then go head to head to compete for public adoration. With an end goal of making the most extreme Toyotas possible, the four teams competing in the challenge have seven weeks to make their dream vehicles using Toyota vehicles and its brand partners. Custom-build shops will help the teams bring their visions to life, and each stage of the process will be documented to show auto enthusiasts just how the changes are made. 

      "For everyone who has ever imagined designing the perfect vehicle for a favorite hobby or sport, the Toyota Dream Build Challenge makes that dream a reality," said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing communications and motorsports for Toyota. "What better place than SEMA to push the limits of the imagination and inspire creativity?"

      This year's competition
      There are four teams competing in the upcoming challenge, and each has a special tie to the world of motorsports and off-roading. That is especially evident in some of the plans for vehicles, which include two options that may be well suited for off-road driving.

      The first team, Joe Gibbs Racing MX, is made up of professional motocross riders Justin Brayton and Josh Grant. They will redo a 2014 Toyota Tundra to make it a "Let's Go Moto Tundra." While the team hasn't revealed any details about what exactly they will do to upgrade the automobile, fans can expect to see some alterations that cater the truck to the rugged conditions of the wilderness. 

      Another vehicle off-roaders may want to keep an eye on is the brainchild of Simon Dumont, a freestyle skier, and his Oakley team. Together, they will be altering a Toyota 4Runner to become the "Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner," which will likely be a machine capable of handling cold, inclement weather and snowy conditions. 

      The remaining teams are made up of NASCAR driver Parker Kligerman and Kyle Busch Motorsports, who will work to turn a 2013 Toyota Camry into a rally car known as the "CamRally," and BMX rider Drew Bezanson, who is working with Skullcandy to incorporate musical themes into a Toyota Corolla. 

      At the SEMA Show
      Rutledge Wood, the television racing commentator and host of "Top Gear USA," is returning to announce the winning design at this year's SEMA show. The winner will be revealed at the show Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.

      "I'm a big car guy, and that's why I'm so excited about the Dream Build Challenge," Wood said after the 2012 competition. "What's so cool ... is that Toyota is taking their drivers, letting them build something crazy and then they're going to raise money for their charities. I mean, that's an amazing thing. It's going to be huge, and I'm so glad to be a part of it with all my friends at Toyota."

      Videos detailing the process of the customization and the various car and truck modifications made are slated to become public Sept. 26. Fans can then begin voting on their favorite rides Oct. 31, and the polls will remain open for the next five days leading up to the big reveal.

    • Pickup trucks cause concern with safety ratings

      There are few aspects of a car that strike a nerve quite like its safety features. These elements can set a vehicle apart from its competitors and even save lives in the long run, which makes them extremely important to consider when shopping around for an automobile. 

      Safety gets tricky with pickups 
      The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has made a name for itself by testing how well vehicles can withstand crashes. Testing includes a comprehensive check of how the side, front and roof withstand crashes, among other areas. Unfortunately for many pickup owners, the vehicles were found to have the worst ratings with regard to rollover accidents - but that doesn't have to spell disaster for motorists. The roof strength is just one aspect of truck safety, and there are many things drivers can do to make sure they are taking advantage of each and every safety option. 

      Not only is your personal safety affected by the extras included on a truck, but your wallet is as well. According to, full-size models generally cost more to insure than other vehicles, which may prompt some cash-strapped drivers to gravitate toward weaker policies with less coverage.

      Top models for safety
      When it comes to the vehicles that roll off the production line ready to handle anything, a few stand out above the rest. The IIHS rated three models as Top Safety Picks for 2013, including the Ford F-150, Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tundra. All three received ratings of "good" across the board in the crash tests, placing them among the safest trucks on the market.  Also receiving solid marks were the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, which garnered marks ranging from "good" to "acceptable" and "marginal." 

      On the plus side, all of the tested models achieved ratings of "good" or "acceptable" when it came to the head restraints and seats. That's positive news for drivers who may be concerned with personal comfort and safety, as the security of the individual could contribute to a better experience when dealing with rough obstacles encountered when off-roading. 

      Drivers should keep one important piece of information in mind: Rollover crash test ratings only apply to crew cab models, many of which are two-wheel drive vehicles. This essentially means many pickup trucks on the road are not even tested by the IIHS. Despite this fact, the rollover test is one of the most important for vehicles, and it can make a huge difference to drivers on the pavement or the trails. 

      Truck modifications can lead to better safety
      Despite the tumultuous nature of safety ratings, there are some things motorists can do to make sure their vehicles are secure, no matter what type of truck mods are being done. Special off-road driving harnesses can be installed to keep the driver and passengers securely in the vehicle when traversing any type of terrain. 

      Additionally, you should be taking steps to make sure all of your truck modifications are done properly so as to avoid safety problems. For example, installing a lift kit could affect the steering and handling of an off-road vehicle, and to avoid this, spend time getting used to how the machine drives. If your lift kit leads you to install larger tires on the vehicle, you may also experience uncomfortable or difficult driving. If that is the case, it may also be beneficial to invest in tools like steering stabilizers, which can lead to smoother performance and a safer driving environment for you and your passengers. 

    • Spotlighting some Toyota Tacoma truck mods

      It's never too late to make some truck mods. Drivers of any model truck have an opportunity to make changes that can turn a standard vehicle into a prime off-roading machine. A few of the end results may even get spotlighted in an effort to show the wide range of adjustments that can be made to a truck, which is exactly what happened to one driver and his beloved truck thanks to The Pacific Daily News. 

      Highlighting one 2005 Toyota Tacoma
      It's hard not to notice Shawn Aquino's revamped 2005 Toyota Tacoma, and thanks to a recent inside look from The Pacific Daily News, there is some public info on just what went into making over this truck.

      The biggest change came from installing a lift kit - a 3-inch body lift and another 6-inch lift kit to add 9 inches of total clearance. Aquino then added 20-inch wheels to provide even more space between the ground and the underside of his truck. These changes comprised the bulk of the $7,000 that Aquino dropped on truck mods and other extras. 

      "It gives me the clearance but not the flex I need," Aquino told the publication. "I can't really do any crawling, because it won't get the proper angles without having it tip over. I'm going to be buying all the parts rights now and doing a solid axle swap in the front and changing out the rear axle too, running bigger tires to make it a little more capable." 

      This is a predictable development, as many drivers have to make some truck modifications to deal with the effects of a lift kit. However, this is just a single change among many common alterations, and there are other mods that can enhance a vehicle. 

      Popular truck modifications
      Installing a Toyota lift kit is arguable the most popular ways to turn a standard truck into an off-road vehicle. However, it is just one of the many options drivers have when looking to customize their rides. 

      Those drivers who have already installed a lift kit and swapped standard tires for larger ones may want to consider adding running boards and grille guards. Not only do these accessories create a rugged appearance, but they also serve a practical purpose. Whether it's making it easier to get in and out of the vehicle or protecting the exterior from damage, there are numerous benefits that can arise from investing in this gear - and these options don't have to break the bank, either. 

    • Maintenance tips every driver should follow

      All drivers know they have to follow certain steps to make sure their auto maintenance is on target. Despite the general knowledge many fans of off-roading have regarding vehicle upkeep, things can change when truck or Jeep modifications enter the mix.

      Whether you're an auto expert or beginner, there are a few areas of car maintenance you need to focus on no matter where you are driving. Keeping these matters in mind allows you to care for a vehicle and yourself, and it can certainly pay off in the long run. 

      Pay attention before off-roading
      Sometimes just reaching your off-road driving destination can be half the battle. When you're operating a truck or SUV that's loaded with modifications that make it bigger, stronger and more powerful, you become an immense presence on the roads. While this may be exactly what you want for off-roading, it can cause problems when you're on the pavement driving to reach a destination.

      Maybe you have larger or more significant blind spots thanks to a few alterations or are still getting familiar with the more difficult handling of an altered vehicle - regardless of the issue, you can take steps to recognize the concern ahead of time. Take a few shorter drives on quieter roads before heading to the highway. This allows you time to familiarize yourself with any quirks or recognize areas that will need extra attention later on.  

      Brakes matter
      A vehicle's brakes are designed to create friction that eventually slows down the automobile. However, when you have completed truck mods that ultimately make a machine bigger and stronger, it can wear down the brakes at an increased rate. You don't want to encounter a problem with your brakes when you're in the middle of the wilderness, so it essential you do regular checks of the gear to make sure everything is functioning properly and there are no signals of wear. 

      Additionally, if the brake light appears on your dashboard or you notice things like a delayed response or strange noise emanating from the gears, don't hesitate to check it out. It's much easier - and more affordable - to change brake pads than to repair damage that comes from faulty equipment. 

      Engine systems need maintenance
      You should be providing regular maintenance to the entirety of the engine system. From the oil to the air filter, all areas of the motor should be examined before you head out on intense off-roading experiences. All engine parts will be required to work harder to propel a heavier machine through difficult terrain, and although many models were created with off-road driving in mind, taking steps to extend the life of the motor is a good idea. In particular, keep an eye on the engine coolant. If the motor is working overtime to power your souped-up vehicle, the engine could be feeling the strain, and maintaining the proper coolant can help you avoid overheating. 

      Stick to regular tire checks
      The tires are one of the most important aspects of an off-road vehicle. While there is a good chance you have upgraded yours after installing a lift kit, you still need to perform regular checks of the wheels. Having the right tire pressure is vital, especially if you plan on dune bashing or rock crawling, as these activities place a lot of demand on the tires. You should also make it a point to survey the general wear on the tire surface and tread. The grooves are just another essential aspect of tires, and inspecting yours to verify they are safe can save time, money and aggravation. 

    • How to comply with lift kit laws

      A lot of fun can come from installing a lift kit. However, it can also be a big hassle - especially if you aren't up to speed on lift kit laws in your home state. These regulations can be incredibly complicated, even for the most esteemed off-road drivers, but it's essential that you pay attention to these restrictions and make sure all of your truck mods are in line with the law. 

      State by state
      Lift kit laws and regulations vary on a state by state basis. In fact, no two states are alike, which can make it incredibly difficult to plan on installing a lift kit that can be used on off-road trails across the U.S. 

      Not only do states have different laws, but many have made it a complicated process to filter through the websites and codes in search of the applicable regulations. Luckily, organizations like have done the work for you and compiled the rules in one convenient place. There, you will be able to find laws regarding acceptable dimensions for a street or off-road vehicle, as well as information about brakes, tires, suspensions, bumpers, the engine and much more that may come in handy when making truck mods. 

      The key area you will want to look at is the frame. Each state has a maximum frame height that varies based on the type of automobile, so be sure you know what segment you should be looking for prior to starting your research. 

      Possible repercussions
      If you make truck mods that don't comply with restrictions, you could face a complicated series of challenges. Many of the repercussions depend on the individual case - for example, the laws can be enforced to different extents based on the law officer involved or the location of the violation. 

      One of the more common problems that may arise if your automobile isn't up to code is that you will be pulled over by police. The resulting tickets and fines could put quite a dent in your wallet and throw off your future plans for modifications. 

      Another possible issue? If you get into an accident or have any need for help from your insurance company, they could refuse to provide coverage. In some cases all coverage could be revoked, so be sure to check out your policy and see what's covered by the plan. There are a few companies that will even protect the off-road gear itself, making it extremely important that you're taking the time to find the right policy as well as checking your restrictions. 

      General rules to follow
      Although the restrictions depend upon the state your vehicle is registered in, there are a few general rules you can keep in mind while considering your options for truck modifications. For one, you should have a few tidbits of information figured out beforehand. Record how much your off-road vehicle weighs and its dimensions. This will make it easier to find the applicable laws and regulations when you search the Lift Laws database. Knowing these figures also allows you to measure how much of a difference your chosen lift kit will make and whether or not the upgraded vehicle will comply with codes. 

      Similarly, if you are making plans to visit an off-roading trail you've heard about in a different state, or if you have a destination you visit frequently where you may want to go off-road driving eventually, you should check the regulations of that area. That way, if you end up in the wilderness in a given region, you'll know you are in compliance with the law. 

    • Are you keeping up with summer maintenance?

      Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in making truck mods that you forget to focus on standard vehicle maintenance. However, it is essential to be constantly watching different aspects of a truck to ensure everything is functioning in a safe and proper manner. Even doing a few simple tasks throughout the summer can go a long way toward preserving your truck and keeping you behind the wheel for longer periods of time. 

      Here are a few areas of maintenance that needs to be done on a consistent basis throughout the summer: 

      Replace your fluids 
      You should be replacing all of the fluids that keep your truck running, from engine coolant to oil to wiper fluid. Each of these liquids has their own job, so stocking up at regular intervals can have a system running smoothly while making sure you have a safe driving experience. A good rule of thumb is to flush out and replace coolant when you go in for an oil change - every 3,000 miles or three months, in general - and wiper fluid should be checked before you head out off-roading. The last thing you want is mud to splatter your windshield, only to find you have no way of cleaning it, and doing this simple check can help you avoid that scenario. 

      Check the tires
      Extreme weather changes and high temperatures can wreak havoc on your tire pressure. That means you should be monitoring your tires throughout the summer, pumping them up whenever necessary. You may even want to switch from all-season tires to summer tires to get the maximum efficiency from your vehicle, but keeping the traditional all-season gear on a truck won't be detrimental. 

      Pressure isn't the only thing you need to look out for. Tire treads can be worn down after a long winter and multiple off-roading adventures, which makes it particularly important to examine the treads to ensure there is an adequate grip. Use the penny test to check the tread on your tires. All you need for this is a standard penny. Simply place the penny in the grooves of a tire - as long as part of Abraham Lincoln's head is always at least partially covered, the treads are deep enough to be effective. has outlined the ways drivers can use different coins to find tread depth, so if you want to make sure your tires have enough grip to keep you safe on rocks, sand or any other terrain, you can still check on it yourself. 

      Clean and wax
      The happenings under the hood are important, but that doesn't mean you should ignore the exterior of your truck. For example, sudden rain showers can harm the outside, so waxing a vehicle regularly may help prevent rust and water spots while also extending the life of a paint job. Car wax also deflects the sun's rays, allowing you to avoid fading even in the hottest of conditions. 

      You should be washing your truck frequently in the summer, as well - especially if you make it a point to go off-road driving whenever you can. Even the most basic wash can get rid of dirt and debris left over from an adventure, which preserves the exterior and ensures you aren't allowing this mess to infiltrate the systems under the hood. 

      Have an emergency kit
      You should always have an emergency kit stored in your vehicle. The contents of this package may change with the seasons, but good things to keep on hand include basic tools, a flashlight, jumper cables and recovery straps, just to name a few. It's also a smart idea to have a few pick-me-ups for you kept in the kit, as well. Bottled water and nonperishable snacks can be a tremendous help without taking up a lot of space. If you find yourself stuck for an extended period of time under the hot sun, you'll be happy you have this nourishment on hand. 

    • An expert weighs in on common mistakes made when installing lift kits

      Lift kits are one of the most common ways to prime a vehicle for off-road driving. For someone new to the world of off-roading, it can be daunting to jump right in and purchase a lift kit, as there are a number of questions that need to be answered to avoid making a costly mistake. 

      To get the inside scoop on some of the most common mistakes made when installing a lift kit, we turned to one of the experts at Rough Country. Keith Lovins has been working within the off-roading industry at Rough Country for almost nine years, and much of his expertise comes from working as a new parts designer and quality manager. Lovins currently works as a technical writer, so he definitely knows his stuff when it comes to making any type of Jeep or truck modifications. 

      Here is what Lovins had to say about some frequent questions or misconceptions that drivers may have on their minds: 

      What tools should a driver have on hand as they start installing a lift kit? 
      There are few things more annoying than starting to install a lift kit, only to find that you don't have the proper tools to complete the job. Not only can this lead to half-completed tasks that keep you off the roads, but trying to finish the installation without the right equipment is unsafe. Lovins recommends all drivers have a floor jack and jack stands, a drill and drill bits, a reciprocating saw, screwdrivers, pry bars, WD-40 and a socket and wrench set in standard sizes of 1/4-inch through 1-inch. 

      Will installing a lift kit prevent drivers from making other modifications down the road? 
      Drivers new to off-roading may be hesitant about installing a lift kit because they believe it will impact other plans they have for a truck or Jeep. This kind of misinformation could lead to owners making other alterations to a ride that don't have the same immediate effect lifting does. 

      However, lift kits are usually just the first taste of truck mods. It allows the driver to make several similar changes to the exterior of a vehicle, many of which work seamlessly with the lift kit to provide a better driving experience. 

      "Most of the time it is only the start of modifications done to the vehicle," Lovins said. "Once a lift kit is installed, then the customer is going to want other accessories like fender flares, extra lights, [a] winch, bumpers, gears, tube steps or skid plates." 

      Are certain lift kits better suited to a style of driving, such as a better option for mudding, desert driving, etc.? 
      Rough Country kits are split into three categories: economy, standard or trail riding, and rock crawling or heavy off-road kits. Each of these styles is ideal for a certain type of driving, and owners should consider what their vehicle will be used for prior to making a purchase. 

      Economy kits lift a vehicle between 1.5 and 3 inches, and are mainly catered toward drivers who want a bigger tire size but will mainly be driving on the streets. The next level up is the standard kits. These lift a vehicle 4 to 5 inches and can be driven on pavement or for light trail riding on weekends. 

      Those individuals who want to get serious about off-roading will be drawn to the rock crawling or heavy off-road kits. 

      "We have rock crawling long arms kit that are designed for performance off-road use, and are still able to be driven on the road," Lovins explained. "This customer is going to install roll cages, [a] winch, bumpers, lockers and bigger ring gears and pinions to get the most performance he can out of that vehicle."

      Should drivers purchase shock absorbers, brake upgrades or any other accessories with a lift kit? 
      "All of our lift kits already come with new shock absorbers," Lovins said. "They do not need to purchase any another accessory with the lift kit to function correctly ... [but] there are many upgrades that can be added to the lift kit, like brake lines, sway bar disconnects or steering stabilizers." 

      What is the most important thing drivers should keep in mind throughout the process of shopping, buying and installing a lift?
      Lovins believes drivers should pay special attention to what size tires they will need once they install a lift kit. Some kits allow for the use of stock tires, while others require larger wheelers for more clearance. This will also impact the bottom line, so taking these details into account can help drivers stay within budget.

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