It seems as though every month the bar just keeps getting raised with regards to the latest and greatest wheels, tires, and suspension lifts available to us. Some of today's hottest trucks feature anywhere from 8 to 10 inches of lift, 20- to 22-inch rims, and 38- to 40-inch tires.
While these combinations may look appealing, the bottom line is that the performance and safety of the rigs are inevitably affected, and not always on a positive note. When taken into consideration, even the lightest wheel upgrade, coupled with tires load-rated for these vehicles, produces significant increases in weight. For example, a modest 20-inch wheel and tire package can often add 40 to 50 pounds or more per corner than that of a OE 16- to 17-inch combination. While we are in no way, shape, or form saying that aftermarket lifts, wheels, and tires are bad products, we are merely bringing to light some of the facts that all of us often overlook.
If you already have a lifted rig or are considering it, you should consider upgrading your brake system as well. In doing so, not only will you regain your stopping distance, but you may even improve the vehicle's performance while towing, off-roading, or everyday driving.
When entering this arena, there are many options to choose from. Big front brake kits with massive rotors are one way, replacement cross-drilled rotors are another, and even a high-performance fluid and pad swap is an option.
As you read this month's buyer's guide, keep in mind that there are kits here to fit every budget, need, and vehicle. Gone are the days of only the high-performance sports car crowds being privy to the latest and greatest in high-performance brake systems. Be sure to read next month's issue to see just how painless it is to swap the OE brake system for one of these aftermarket systems - you won't believe it's that easy!