Squatted Truck – What is it & Is it Legal?

Wondering what a squatted truck is and if it's legal? We'll break down everything you need to know about this term in today's blog post.

Squatted Truck

Most people understand what a lifted truck is but don’t have as much understanding about what the squatted truck means. This unique look may not have a lot of purposes, but it doesn’t stop people from doing it.

In this guide, we look at what a squatted truck is. We also discuss whether it is legal or not, as well as outline reasons you might not want to do it. If you still hope to squat your truck, our guide will help you figure out what the cost might be.

What is a Squatted Truck?

A squatted truck is when the front end of the pickup is raised up while the back is lowered. Because the rear end of the truck is closer to the ground, it looks like it is squatting, which is where the name comes from. It’s also known as the Carolina Squat, even though that’s not where it originated. 

Other names for the squatted truck include the California Lean or the Cali Lean. There’s also the chance that you’ve heard it called the Tennessee Tilt. 

The squatted truck was initially inspired by the Baja racers in California. During the desert Baja runs, there are a lot of hilly terrains to overcome and plenty of jumping going on. By having a squatted rear, the truck can land in the back first, thereby avoiding a nose-diving situation, which could damage the pickup. If the truck were to land on its front end first, the driver might not be able to finish the race. 

Is There a Purpose with Squatted Trucks?

As we’ve previously discussed, if you are a Baja racer, it makes a lot of sense to squat the back of the vehicle. You can protect the race vehicle and give yourself the best chance to take first place with this strategy.

Aside from racing, there’s no real purpose in having a squatted truck. Still, it remains quite popular, especially in the South and up in North or South Dakota. Today’s drivers only squat the truck for the aesthetic appeal it offers. 

You can find tons of social media posts about the phenomenon. If you choose to modify your truck this way, you can gain a lot of inspiration from various Instagram posts and comments in Facebook groups. Because of how high the demand is in some areas, there are plenty of aftermarket manufacturers producing squatting kits these days. 

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Dangers of the Squatted Truck

1. Decreased Visibility

While having a squatted truck might seem cool, there are some real dangers to driving this way. To start, visibility decreases. 

As the front of the truck is higher than the back, it becomes more difficult to see what’s happening in front of the vehicle. This lack of visibility increases the chances that you will get into an accident or run something over. 

2. Poor Headlight Adjustment

With the difference in truck angle, the headlights will also beam differently ahead of you. They will be pointed up towards the sky more instead of down on the road. 

Because of this, the beam could go over the roof of oncoming traffic and end up blinding the drivers behind them. Again, this problem only increases the chances of an accident. 

3. Reduced Capability

The squatted truck also doesn’t work the way a normal truck would. Some of its towing capability is lost because of how the rear sits on the ground. Additionally, you will notice some changes to the way the truck brakes and handles. 

It could take you some time to get used to before it feels comfortable. That’s why you should test drive the truck in an empty parking lot after any major suspension modification. 

4. Goes Through Parts

Aside from that, the squatted truck can go through suspension parts faster. You might be replacing springs and shocks more frequently because of the added wear. Not only that, but the tires are going to wear out faster in the rear than they did before. You want to factor in the price of these additional tires in the long-haul cost.

There’s also the damage that gets done if you rub the back of the truck on a dip in the road. You could quickly be looking at some expensive repair bills just to give your truck a cool look. 

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Cost to Squat a Truck

On average, you could spend anywhere between $250 and $10,000 to squat your truck based on what your goals and aspirations are. There are many factors that influence how much you will spend in the long run. For starters, the cost depends heavily on what size truck you drive. It will also depend on the squat kit that you pick out and whether you can put it on yourself or not. If there are other components involved, such as an upgraded suspension, these will also add to the cost.

To lift the front of the truck, you could get a cheap kit that will raise it about two inches. With many of these, you might spend only a couple of hundred dollars and you shouldn’t need any major modifications. It’s also possible to put many of these kits on yourself without professional tools. However, the more reputable of a brand you choose and the more durable the parts are, the higher the cost will rise.

Depending on how much work needs to be done, you might spend $200 to $2,000 on the labor alone. This cost is in addition to all of the parts that need to be purchased to complete the job. However, you might be able to reduce this cost by purchasing some beer and pizza for some buddies and having a work party in your garage. Still, you don’t want to tackle this type of job unless you know what you are doing and you have the equipment to do it right. 

Is a Squatted Truck Legal?

Many states have laws about lifting a truck. If you plan to lift the front of your truck to give it a squatting appearance, you want to look closer at what’s allowed in your area. 

As far as squatting laws are concerned, there are currently no laws on the books unless you live in North Carolina. Back in May 2021, North Carolina became the first state to pass a law that makes squatted trucks illegal to drive on the roads. This law went into effect on December 2021 and is probably the first of many coming from other states in the future. 

The law specifically states, “A private passenger automobile shall not be modified or altered by elevating more than three inches from the manufacturer’s specified height in the front and lowering the automobile more than two inches from the specified height in the rear.”

Because this bill is now a law, if you drive with a squatted truck on the road, you could face a fine. You would also be responsible for court costs. Additionally, the authorities could take away your driver’s license if you are caught and end up with multiple infractions on your record. It’s not worth taking the chance just to make your truck look good.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a squatted truck for?

A squatted truck is just for the aesthetic to make the truck look more aggressive or stylish. However, many disagree with this, but aside from the looks, there aren’t many benefits to squatting with a truck. You will in most cases just make it more dangerous to drive with.

What is a Carolina squatted truck?

A Carolina squatted truck is a truck that is raised in the front and lowered in the back, and therefore it will look like the truck is squatting. A Carolina squatted truck is, however, in most cases just called a squatted truck.

How much does it cost to squat a truck?

There are many ways to squat a truck and therefore the price will vary greatly. You can expect it to cost between $250 and $10,000 to squat with a truck. You can do it cheaply by building your own lift kit, but if you want high-performance suspension, it will cost a lot.

Does squatting a truck damage it?

Yes, installing a lift kit incorrectly or installing a bad one can damage other parts of your car. Also, many other problems can appear with your car when it drives at that aggressive angle all the time.

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Magnus Sellén
Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of Mechanicbase. He has been working as a car mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced car diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.