CHARLES TWEED / BRANDON SUN
Six-inch lift kits are the most commonly installed among truck owners looking to jack up their rides.
As the oil industry continues to expand in the southwestern corner of the province, so too does the steady trickle of large trucks into Westman.
"About two years ago, we saw a lot of trucks come in for the kits," said Todd Bullee, who owns and operates H. Bullee and Sons Spring Service with his brother Brent.
"In the last couple of years, the oilpatch has moved in and a lot of the guys are running their trucks off-road."
Six-inch lift kits are the most commonly installed, running somewhere between $4,500 to $6,000 installed.
But that’s just the start.
Large, studded tires can run owners as much as $10,000.
While it’s an expensive proposition, Bullee said most of the owners who get the kits treat engines and vehicles as their hobby.
"For a lot of guys, this is their passion," he said. "They have the money and they need a bigger truck for work."
Bullee said the majority of the jacked-up truck owners get a bad reputation from a few bad apples who ruin it for everyone.
"It’s a bit like a peacock fluffing up their feathers when they gun the motor and make some smoke, it’s just showing off. There’s always going to be a few idiots."
Most of the trucks, he said, are in better shape than the minivans he sees in his bays.
The kits themselves have also come a long way in the last decade.
"The kits we see are good quality kits as long as they are purchased from a name-brand manufacturer," Bullee said. "There is nothing ever omitted. There are either things added on to make it better or the existing factory stuff is lowered and put back into place."
In fact, the lifts have become so well engineered and complicated that Bullee said in many ways it’s not worth tying up a bay because of the time it takes to install the kit.
He understands why some people may feel intimidated by the large trucks, but said most of the drivers are responsible truck owners.
And at their shop, safety is the primary concern when it comes to installing a kit.
"Anybody driving a smaller car and you pull up beside a truck with a bumper a long way off the ground or you have the headlights in your rear-view mirror, it can be a little concerning," Todd said.
"But we drive on the same highway as these trucks, so I would never install something I thought didn’t meet standards."
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 28, 2013