I would say a good majority of pickup owners either have their truck lifted in some way, or want to have it lifted! However that brings up a lot of questions regarding reliability, capability and more. Today, we are going to be talking more specifically about towing!
So can you tow a trailer with a lifted truck? Towing a trailer with a lifted truck is no big deal, however you do need to keep an eye out for some pitfalls. Towing with a lifted truck causes the hitch to be higher than ideal, it also has a higher center of gravity front to back, and can cause some real issues with 5th wheel trailers.
Let’s dig into each of these things, talk about why they are an issue, and hopefully find some good resolutions to make sure that your lifted truck can easily tow.
1. Hitch not placed properly
An important part of towing a trailer, especially larger trailers is balancing the weight to keep it safe on the road.
Lifted trucks, if not thought through, can throw off that weight by placing the tongue of the trailer too high off the road.
This can be a big deal that can cause trailers to fish tail, or even fall off the hitch if it becomes too much of a problem.
Thankfully, this is an easy fix for those that think about it! You can quickly, and inexpensively purchase a hitch receiver with a drop (this one has a 4″ drop). Just like your hitch though, you need to make sure that this drop receiver is able to handle the weight of the trailer that you are looking to tow.
Making sure that your trailer stays level, rather than having the tongue too high, or too low can make all the difference between a safe ride, to being seriously hurt.
An alternative way of resolving this issue would be to put a lift on the trailer itself, much like the off-road trailer you see in the picture above (getting a hitch receiver with a drop is easier)!
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2. 5th wheel tongue is too high
5th wheel trailers also cause quite the issue when you are dealing with a lifted truck! These types of trailers attach, and rotate in the bed of a pickup truck, rather than at the bumper. While this better distributes weight over the axle of a pickup truck, and gives better capability when towing, it does cause issues with lifted pickups.
If you have a 5th wheel, you really should not be towing it with a lifted truck, as these are designed to work with stock trucks, and can cause the weight of the trailer to sit too far back, and again cause fishtailing.
The only real way to resolve this issue is by utilizing an air suspension on your truck that can be lowered back to stock levels whenever you would like it to be. Alternatively, an Any Level lift kit is another great option!
3. Higher center of gravity results in less weight on front axle
Yep, you guessed it! Another weight based issue as a result of being a lifted truck.
The last thing you want is to have too much weight on the rear of a pickup, and too little on the front axles.
This can actually cause the front end to lift off the ground if you are not careful.
The easiest way to make this happen, is to have too high of a lift, with too much weight on the rear axle.
There isn’t any real way of getting this issue resolved outside of just not having a lift, or at least a minimal one!
If you have seen those extremely high lift kits installed on trucks, it actually can be a very dangerous modification because of this one thing.
You don’t want to lose traction on the front, or rear of your vehicle.
In these cases, maybe if you are hoping to get a lifted look, but don’t want quite as many drawbacks, a leveling kit would be a better situation for your build.
Frequently Asked Questions
A lift kit doesn’t technically affect your towing capacity whatsoever, as it leaves your axle, transmission, and engine the same. Because of this, it still is able to tow at the same rate as before! However it does open up some of the other issues we discussed in this article.
By far suspension lifts are the better way to lift your truck! The main difference is that a body lift separates the cab and the frame using a puck style item. While a suspension lift actually lifts the whole vehicle and will give you better clearance with your frame. Suspension lifts are considerably more in depth, and more expensive than body lifts to buy and install.
Leveling kits are different than lift kits in the fact that they don’t make the rear of the truck any higher than before. Because of this it doesn’t really affect the capabilities of the truck. It can however make the front of the truck raise more than normal, as the rear goes down and can affect your view out the windshield.
Lift kits are a hugely popular way to modify a truck to get better clearance for off-roading, and to just look cool! However they do have some drawbacks in the fact that they lower the safety when you are towing heavy trailers.
It may not cause much of an issue with smaller, lighter trailers, however when you are looking at higher speeds with a heavier trailer it can be a hazard.
Either way, I hope this article helped you learn a little bit more about what to keep an eye out for to stay safe! Have a great time building up your truck.