What Can I Do To Improve The Ride Quality On My Lifted Truck? Ask TundraHQ

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A recent commenter on our Tundra tire replacement guide asked:

I’m a new owner of a 2008 Toyota Tundra with a 3 inch lift kit, and I’ve noticed that the ride on my lifted 2008 is much rougher than the ride on a new 2011. My question is: What can I do to improve the ride quality on my lifted truck?

Lifted truck with poor ride quality

Does your lifted truck have a harsh, poor quality ride? There are some things you can do to fix it.

While lift kits usually degrade a truck’s ride and handling (at least most commonly installed kits), there are some things you can do to “treat” the rough ride problem.

First, check your tire pressure. If your tires are over-inflated, the ride will be harsh. Most people run at 35-40 psi, but you can get away with pressures as low as 32 psi. If you reduce pressure in the tire, the ride will get better…just be sure to periodically check your tires for cupping or uneven tread wear and increase pressure accordingly.

Next, check the shocks – are they factory? If so, you want to invest in some after-market shocks that are built for lifted trucks. See this article on after-market truck shocks (there’s a section for lifted trucks halfway down the page). New shocks – especially premium quality shocks with sophisticated valving systems – can make a world of difference in ride quality, not to mention performance off-road and on the highway.

Check the springs. Finally, you want to double check that the truck doesn’t have either a) helper springs out back or b) stiffer springs up front. Both of these things are relatively rare on a truck with a 3″ lift, but you never know. Rear helper leaf springs are sometimes used to lift the rear end, but they usually ruin the ride of a bigger truck. Up front, people can install a heavier duty set of coils, but these really shouldn’t be used unless your truck is going to be carrying around a heavy steel bumper and/or a big winch. Either would cause your truck to ride very roughly.

Good luck!

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  1. Josh says:

    A lifted truck riding rough? SHHHHHHHHHHHOCKING! lol. This is why people who have trucks and decide to lift them but then use them as Pavement Princess Mall crawling mommy missiles should be outlawed. It’s a freaking truck! You can’t have high tow capacity, then go and lift a truck and expect it to ride like a caddy.

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      Josh – LOL – I hear what you’re saying, and I’m not arguing with your basic point, but I *will* say that a new set of shocks helps lifted trucks ride nicer AND perform better off-road. The OEM shocks are cheap, and once you mess up the factory travel, the valving isn’t really adjusted correctly.

      Anyways, I hear you – trucks aren’t supposed to be luxury cars. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. Josh says:

    Jason- I know you were just trying to help and swapping shocks does but I have seen all too many nice trucks go to waste on lifts that never see dirt. My 09 Rock Warrior as seen more dirt then pavement this year and I dont even have it lifted lol. love the ride BTW. Keep up the good work.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lifted trucks are meant to have alot of clearance and therefore should have alot of travel between the bed and the earth. This extended travel distance causes the truck to bounce or have slack in the shocks. The rough ride and terrible handling can be solved with better shocks that are more responsive but ideally you want the truck to feel “heavier” to achieve this get wider tires and add a few bricks as close to the center of the truck as possible this will take out the slack time the shocks have and make the truck feel less like a balloon. You should also check you brakes and make sure the extra weight doesn’t make the truck rock when stopping. This rocking on any vehicle can cause skipping at high speeds and noone wants that.

  4. Jason (Admin) says:

    Anon – Bricks? That’s new to me, but I guess it makes sense. With you on shocks and checking for brake dive.

  5. Mike T says:

    Thanks admin–
    all the point you mention in this article is excellent .
    i think the most important thing to improve the ride quality of lifted truck is its shocks system.

  6. Will says:

    Awesome article actually it depends on the specifics of your Rough Country lift. You might have dual shocks, which makes it ride pretty tight. Check out the spring coil rate of your lift — if it is higher than the number “350” or “400” then it will ride a bit hard.
    Changing your lift for a softer ride is one of your better options.

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