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Squatted Trucks: What is ‘Carolina Squat’ and Why is it Banned?

In this article, we’ll be explaining what the term Carolina Squat means, why truck owners modify their trucks’ suspension to ‘squat’, and why it was so dangerous it was eventually outlawed in North Carolina and Virginia.

What Is The Carolina Squat?

This was a modification that involved slamming the rear end of a truck’s suspension while raising the front. This would end up with the truck’s cab pointing up to the sky with huge amounts of negative rake angle, making it very difficult to drive and very dangerous on the road.

Sometimes owners would swap out their wheel and tyre combination for something larger, only adding to the effect of this crazy modification.

This mod went viral thanks to social media sites like Instagram, with Southern states across America being the most popular places of the trend. And while the idea came from Baja racing where trucks had to jump over hilly, desert, and uneven surfaces, the majority of these road-going trucks were severely neutered by this change.

Made Illegal In North Carolina

Senators voted 33-1 earlier this year, making it illegal for owners to squat their trucks in the state after a petition was signed by over 72,000 people.

a truck modified for Carolina Squat

“The Carolina Squat is generally known as a truck or SUV with a lift on the front axle and a non-lifted or lowered rear,” journalist Meredith Radford told the public via Public Radio East.

Specifically, this bill bans the front fender of a truck from being 4 inches (10 centimeters) or more above the rear fender. The first fine for a driver is $100, but at the third offense, this would rise to $300 plus a suspension from driving for a year.

Made Illegal In Virginia

After a fatal accident which killed Jody “BJ” Upton Jr., a 27-year-old father from the Mecklenburg area, Governor Glen Younkin signed a bill to make it illegal in the state.

Like in North Carolina, it’s illegal for the front fender of a truck to be 4-inches higher than the rear.

After thee states banning the modification, South Carolina is also looking at banning this, too.

Why Was It Popular In Baja Racing?

Baja racing teams soon realised that when a truck had to land after a jump, a negative rake angle would stop it from getting damaged. In fact, the main reason for this is for the rear of the truck to land first, mitigating the shock of hitting the floor to minimise any damage to the truck and the driver. Plus, more suspension travel at the front was able to cushion the truck if it did land on its front whees. This means they could take jumps much faster without having to worry too much about the landing.

So where did this craze actually start?

Despite the name inferring it started in Carolina, it actually began in California before spreading across the country. This is why it’s also sometimes called the California Lean or Cali Lean.

It quickly became a huge trend on social media with it catching plenty of eyes, likes, and comments. According to Ubersuggest, the trend was searched over 33,000 times during May in the US alone.

What are the issues when squatting a truck?

There are a number of issues that arise once you carry out this mod.

It’s no surprise to hear that when the front of the truck is raised so much, it severely reduces the visibility over the hood. Not only this, but the headlights won’t illuminate the road ahead, instead they’ll be pointing upwards and blinding oncoming drivers.

The change in weight distribution could also play havoc with the truck’s handling, let alone stop you from being able to tow anything.

 

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The EPA also warns squatted truck drivers that the added aerodynamic drag caused by this setup could lead to higher engine wear and lower gas mileage.

Much like having huge amounts of negative camber, there are very few positive reasons to take part in this trend, apart from the way the truck looks – if you’re into that kind of thing.

Can you fix a squatted truck?

Yes. You can always take off and replace the parts that have been added to make the truck squat. But like any suspension modification, squatting could lead to plenty of wear on the existing setup. Make sure to check bearings, bushings, tyres, and anything else that could be worn on your specific vehicle. If you’re unsure, take it to a specialist for a once-over.

Is squatting your truck a good idea?

We really can’t encourage you to do this to your vehicle. Not only is it dangerous, but you lose a lot of the performance and stability the manufacturer of the truck invested their cash into in the first place. So, no, not really. Unless you’re thinking you’re not going. to drive it on the public road, I’d really stay away from this mod.

Are there ways around it being illegal?

Aftermarket manufacturers are looking at releasing air suspension systems that will level the truck while on the road:

“They’re asking for a bag that goes in the rear of the suspension that they can air down, so if they go to a truck show, they can still squat,” Blake Peffley, who works in the aftermarket truck parts business in Jacksonville, N.C., told local TV station WCTI.

There are a few kits on the market, but AirRide is the major player in this niche.

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