Why do people squat their trucks after all?

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Since the automobile has become more mainstream, the car scene has witnessed many trends, some considered to be unnatural. Since the early 2000s, we’ve seen riced out, the rise of stance, and slammed cars, as well as other diversions from a car’s factory settings. The Carolina squat is another “car condition” we can add to the list. The Carolina squat affects mostly trucks, and like the other alterations, mentioned above, it is intentionally done by the owner of the vehicle. So what is the Carolina squat, and where did it come from?

The Carolina squat is a trend where a vehicle, most commonly a truck, is modified in a way so that the front end is lifted, while at the same time, the rear is lowered. This results in the front-end of the truck pointing slightly upwards, while the rear end is closer to the ground, which makes the truck look like it’s doing squats. Hence the name “The Carolina squat”. The trend quickly went viral and spread across the country. Social media is responsible for popularizing the trend after more and more people started posting images of their Carolina Squat trucks, online. It’s most popular in some Southern states, as well as North and South Dakota.

The Carolina Squat actually began from southern California. It is also referred to as the California (Cali) Lean or the Tennessee lean. The trend is inspired by Baja racing, which was popular in the desert terrains of California. In racing, it actually has a function. Since the Baja is raced on a hilly surface, that means there are lots of jumps. The idea is, when a Baja truck hits a jump at a higher speed, to land its rear first, thus avoiding nose-dive, which could potentially total the truck and would mean the end of the race for that competitor.

Although the Carolina squat truck obsession has its roots embedded in competition, it does not bring any competitive edge in the real world. Yes, it does result in the truck having a larger rake, which might improve the approach angle, but other than that there are no useful features to this alteration. Moreover, most trucks already come with a good approach angle, due to them having small overhangs and high ground clearance. At the end of the day, the only noticeable feature is that it stands out from the rest of the traffic, with its unusual stance. Nowadays, people do it simply for the “riding in style” vibe that comes with Squat riding.

Apparently, this is enough for most, since the Instagram followers of the Carolina squat trend number in the thousands. There are numerous Instagram, Facebook, and other social media pages, dedicated to the Carolina squat. The trend also goes by other aliases, such as truck squat, Carolina lean, truck lean, squatted truck, and other. As mentioned, the Carolina squat is a nation-wide phenomenon but is most popular in North and South Dakota, and some southern states, most predominantly Louisiana and Georgia.

The market demand has forced Truck manufacturers to come up with their own squat kits, which are available for anyone to buy. One of the most straightforward ways to unlock your truck’s squatting “potential” is to get a lift kit and install only half of it. More specifically the front half, in case you are wondering. That’s how you get that reverse rake orientation. The front lift is achieved through either a ball-joint lift or by adjusting the torsion bar. In addition, many owners remove the rear blocks, for an even more squatted stance. In order to further lower the rear, drop shackles are a good way to do so. There is a wide variety of kits depending on how much you want to squat your trucks. From mild squat kits of two to three inches up to six or eight,, and even over 10 inches.

Naturally, some trucks take to these modifications better than others. As with all alterations that deviate from factory parameters, it is best if it is avoided, as it usually results in suspension components wearing out at a quicker rate. There are other downsides to the Carolina squat. In addition to not being practical, a truck modified this way loses its towing capability. When a truck is towing something, this results in the vehicle squatting to a certain degree. This is a problem for a squatted truck since its rear end is already squatted. More importantly, because the front end is at a different angle, the visibility suffers. In addition, the headlights point straight over the top of oncoming cars, which might blind the vehicle on the other side, greatly increasing the risk of an accident. Speaking of headlights, because they point more upwards in a squatted truck, they will not be as effective, as when the truck has its factory suspension settings.

Overall, you lose more than you win, by doing this to your truck. There are ways to partially negate some of the many downsides of squatting your truck. Air ride is one of the more expensive options, but offers the most adjustability. Another option is to install suspension stabilizers, in order to improve the leaf springs’ response. As with any trend, the aftermarket is generous towards the Carolina squat truck scene. It’s worth keeping in mind that, at the end of the day, trucks are meant to be workhorses, above anything else. Therefore the factory suspension is tuned for a loaded state. The same thing goes when you install additional parts in order to effectively counter the squatting effect, which could present complications further down the road. It’s always best to do your research and see what the best options are if you are really keen on the idea of driving a squatted truck.

Q&A

Where did the Carolina squat come from?

The Carolina squat came from Baja racing, where trucks have a long-travel suspension and have their rear end squatted, so it can land before the front end.

What is the Carolina squat?

The Carolina squat is a vehicle modification, mostly common in trucks, where the front end is lifted higher than the rear, in order to create a squatted stance.

What does a Carolina squat mean?

The Carolina squat is actually a term for an activity that is commonly seen at truck meets, where a truck would have its engine revved to redline and its bed would be full of people bouncing with their hands up. It originated from Carolina, hence the name.

Do people intentionally squat their trucks?

Yes. There are numerous ways to do so, the main one being the installation of a lift kit in the front. For additional squatting effect, parts on the rear suspension are changed as well.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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