What Is a Squatted Truck? All You Need To Know

What is a squatted truck?” is a commonly asked question, mainly by DIYers and truck owners searching for unique ways of modifying their vehicles. A squatted vehicle has the front end several inches higher than the back so that the car always appears as if it’s loaded in a way that surpasses its payload capacity.

Squatted Truck in California ~Ran When Parked

Please continue reading to find out more, including where the phenomenon comes from, how it’s actually done, its cost, and whether it’s a good idea. You’ll also find out if this squatting is legal in your state.

What Does a Squatted Truck Mean?

A squatted truck means a pickup’s front end is raised several inches higher than the back. It’s usually done through a body lift or adjusting the suspension using a lift or leveling kit. Most truck owners choose to squat to create a unique and custom look for their vehicles.

What is a squatted truck in California? When a pickup carries something heavy, the rear end lowers. The more weight the vehicle holds, the lower its back end will go. Though that’s an obvious sign that the truck has surpassed its payload capacity, it has become a trend to have the vehicle look overloaded all the time.

Since the truck’s back end is closer to the ground, it appears to be squatting, hence the name ‘squatted truck.’ Most call it Carolina Squat or California Lean, shortened as Cali Lean, and sometimes the Tennessee Tilt.

The squatting idea was inspired by the Baja 1000, a yearly Mexican off-road car racing held in the Baja California Peninsula. During the Baja racing, there are numerous hilly terrains to overcome and a lot of jumping.

Squatting a truck’s rear end helps the vehicle land in the back first, avoiding a nose-diving situation. If the car landed on its front, it would suffer severe damage, and it would be challenging for the driver to complete the race. However, this was only a matter of time before non-racers started embracing the phenomenon.

The Purpose of Squatting Trucks

You probably are wondering, what is the purpose of a squatted truck? Of course, squatting a truck is sensible if one is a Baja racer. The strategy can protect the front of the vehicle and give you a greater chance of completing and winning the race.

But besides that, why do people drive squatted trucks, or would anyone want to squat their vehicle?

Purpose of Squatting Trucks ~Ran When Parked

Many drivers see their trucks as artwork and express themselves by modifying them differently. Some people want uniqueness so their trucks can stand out, and squatting offers a perfect taste of distinction. So, many people only choose squatting for its aesthetic appeal.

Today, there’s an entire community of truck owners who pride themselves in customizing their vehicles that way.

You can find lots of ‘squatted vehicle‘ posts on social media for inspiration should you wish to follow the trend. With the increasing demand in some areas, many aftermarket manufacturers are now producing squatting kits.

What Is the Cost of Squatting a Truck?

The cost of squatting a truck ranges from $250 to 10,000. The exact price depends on your truck type and size, the amount of work to be done, and the method you choose for squatting. Body lift and leveling kits are the most affordable options.

Cost of Squatting a Truck ~Ran When Parked

The most significant cost-determining factor is the work you can do yourself. If you’re good at cars and have the right tools, you can save a lot of money on labor costs. Unfortunately, not everyone has the skills or tools to handle the work. The severity of the squat or how dramatic you wish the squat to be will also dictate the overall cost.

Sometimes, you only need to remove the rear blocks from the suspension to achieve the look you want. But in more drastic situations, you’ll need a lift or leveling kit to raise the front end.

Lift and leveling kits are created to be tailored to specific car makes, models, and years. Therefore, you must choose one that’s compatible with your truck.

Suspension lift kits are generally more expensive and labor-intensive. You can choose the alternative or what experts call a body lift to save money. A body lift involves installing spacers between the truck’s body and chassis to increase the ride height. It’s primarily used to fit large tires or motors during an engine swap.

It can also provide that squatting look you want without draining your pocket. However, going the lift kit way is the best way to achieve a Carolina squat!

Are Squatted Vehicles Safe To Drive on the Highway?

Squatted vehicles aren’t safe to drive on the highway. This modification transfers weight from the front to the rear axle, which brings several complications. By raising the front higher than the rear, squatting reduces your visibility while driving, minimizes the vehicle’s handling, and increases the risk of rollover accidents

Many drivers want to give their trucks character, and squatting might be an excellent idea. However, there are some dangers associated with it, making it unsafe on the highways, as detailed here:

  • Visibility Issues

One answer to are squatted trucks dangerous is yes, because they cause poor visibility while driving. Since the front is higher than the back, seeing what’s happening in front of your vehicle becomes more challenging. Being unable to see increases the risk of an accident or running something over.

Truck Visibility Issues ~Ran When Parked

Moreover, the raised front can cause the headlights to beam up, making driving the vehicle more difficult at night. The headlights should point straight on the road instead of up towards the sky. Headlights that point high up could blind oncoming traffic and end up causing an accident.

  • Reduced Vehicle Handling

It’s the front axle that steers the truck. Thus, raising several inches higher than the rear can lessen a driver’s ability to control the vehicle. You’ll notice changes to the way the truck brakes and steers. And when moving at high speeds, you need as much control as possible, which a squatted vehicle doesn’t have.

Note that when you squat your truck, its towing capability reduces significantly. Additionally, the uneven suspension lift causes the car to be less aerodynamic, which results in rough rides and ruined fuel efficiency.

  • Increased Accident Risk

In a collision, the side of the impacted vehicle is likely to experience an upward force if a Carolina squat strikes it. That would increase the risk of a rollover accident. A head-on collision with squatted pickup trucks is considered riskier.

Increased Accident Risk ~Ran When Parked

The wrecked car will slam against the low-reared part of the truck’s base structure as it submerges underneath the vehicle.

  • Increased Wear and Risk of Damage

When squatting is done correctly, the modification doesn’t hurt the truck. However, a more aggressive angle will likely cause unnecessary strain on various vehicle components. Over time, you’ll experience problems with parts that have nothing to do with the lift.

Besides, suspension parts experience wear and tear at an increased rate. When your truck is squatted, you’ll replace springs and shocks more often, which is expensive. Tires will also wear faster in the back than they did before. Remember also the damage that might happen if you scrape the rear on a dip in the road.

Considering that, a squatted pickup truck is likely not your best option if you value safety. You’re better off having a vehicle with a standard suspension as you’ll enjoy better handling while you drive around during the day and night.

Though there’s nothing wrong with enjoying squatted cars when parked at a car show, it might be best to keep them off highways. You don’t want to sacrifice your safety just to look fabulous!

What States Is It Illegal To Squat Trucks?

It’s illegal to squat trucks in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. These states are the first of many that may soon join the line in illegalizing squatted vehicles on the roads. Most recently, Florida has also banned trucks with this type of modification from its beaches.

Why are squatted trucks illegal? As mentioned, lawmakers in many states know the safety risks of squatting a car. They are concerned that the front elevation prevents drivers from seeing clearly the area in front of their vehicles.

That’s why we’ve seen increased rules and regulations on how one can modify their car, with some states even prohibiting squatted pickup trucks on the roads.

Until May 2023, Virginia and North Carolina were the only states with laws banning squatted vehicles. Violators would face a heavy fine, while repeat offenders could get their driving licenses suspended. South Carolina and Florida recently joined the list, prohibiting squat vehicles on the streets and roads.

In Virginia, the law took effect in December 2021 when Governor Glen Youkin signed a bill after the death of Jody Upton Jr., a 27-year-old dad from the Mecklenburg area.

Jody was involved in a crash in a Carolina Squat. Following his death, the governor decided to prohibit the modification. The bill bans trucks from having their front fenders four inches or more above their rear fenders.

In the first offense, a driver will be fined $100, but after the third, the fine rises to $300 in addition to the suspension of the driver’s license for a year!

What States Restrict Squatting of Vehicles?

States that restrict squatting of vehicles include California, Louisiana, Georgia, and Texas. In California, aftermarket parts are allowed, but the truck’s frame height and body lifts are limited to only five extra inches. The Texas Transportation Code limits the maximum vehicle height and its load at 14 feet.

Restrict Squatting of Vehicles ~Ran When Parked

Driving a squatted vehicle can have legal consequences in Georgia, such as equipment violations, traffic violations, registration and inspection problems, civil liability, and insurance issues. In Louisiana, any car in which the front fender’s height is greater than six inches than the rear fender’s height is subject to penalties.

According to a post on the Facebook page belonging to the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office, the law is against any vehicle fitted with the Carolina Squat.

Conclusion

You’re now well-informed on squatting of trucks, how it’s done, the costs involved, and more.

Here’s a summary of what we’ve discussed:

  • A squatted truck is a truck with its front raised several inches over the rear end and is primarily done for aesthetic purposes.
  • The phenomena originated from the famous Baja Race, in which participants squat their racing trucks to minimize the risk of a nose drive as they drive through challenging terrains.
  • Squatting a car is best done using suspension lift kits; the total modification cost is at least $250.
  • Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina make the best examples of states where squatting a truck is illegal and offenders face severe fines and driving license suspension.
  • California, Louisiana, and Georgia are some states that have already put restrictions on squatting vehicles to enhance road safety.

Determining whether squatting a truck is a bad or good idea is entirely up to you, but using the squatted vehicle on the road has several drawbacks. Most of them are safety concerns; if the modification isn’t prohibited in your state, you may still have to adhere to certain restrictions.

References

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