Carolina Squat, What Exactly Is It? Modified Majesty

Carolina Squat - Everything you need to know

From the heart of the southern states, a sizzling hot trend has exploded onto the scene: the Carolina Skywave! If you’ve ever spotted a truck with its nose kissing the clouds while its rear wheels stay grounded, you’ve caught a glimpse of this adrenaline-pumped style. Dubbed “Carolina squatting,” this modification sees trucks showcasing a defiant tilt, with the front end majestically elevated.

Taking its roots from the thrilling Baja races in sunny California, this trend has caught on like wildfire. Scroll through any truck enthusiast’s Instagram feed and you’ll witness a parade of these high-tilted beasts, with proud owners often perched inside, riding their own personal wave.

Among the frontrunners riding this wave are the towering Chevrolet Tahoe, the robust GMC Sierra 1500, and the fierce Toyota 4Runner. Each, in its own right, a testament to the audacity of this trend.

But it’s not all smooth sailing! A few states have waved the caution flag, with some already pulling these skyward trucks over and others pondering regulations. Regardless, the Carolina Skywave continues to soar, symbolizing a unique blend of Southern pride and automotive rebellion!

Origin and its Ban

The term “Carolina Squat” can be traced back to North Carolina, which is where this particular vehicle modification began to gain traction. However, despite its origins, trucks sporting this modification can now be spotted all across the U.S.

Legislation on the Carolina Squat

To date, North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina have officially prohibited the Carolina Squat. These bans have emerged due to concerns about safety, visibility, and the potential hazards the modification might introduce on the road. In light of these issues, several other states are actively deliberating on introducing similar regulations.

The Process of Achieving the Carolina Squat Look

For those interested in adopting the Carolina Squat aesthetic for their vehicle, the modification process generally involves implementing a lift kit in the front suspension, while simultaneously integrating lowering springs at the rear. This results in the front of the vehicle being raised, and the rear being lowered, creating the distinctive “squat” appearance.

However, potential adopters should be aware of certain implications. Modifying a vehicle in this manner can exert additional stress on its suspension and other integral components. Over time, this increased stress can accelerate wear and tear, potentially leading to a decreased lifespan of certain parts. Moreover, there are potential safety concerns, as the adjusted angle might impair the driver’s forward visibility and affect the vehicle’s handling. Always consult with professionals and be aware of local regulations when considering such modifications.

Modifying a Truck for the Carolina Squat

Certainly, it’s feasible to modify most standard trucks to achieve the Carolina Squat look. The process involves adjusting the vehicle’s suspension, and the aftermarket industry offers a multitude of kits designed specifically for this modification. Here’s a brief rundown:

  1. Lift Kits: The front end of the truck is raised using suspension lift kits available from aftermarket dealers.
  2. Ball-joint Lifting & Torsion Bar Adjustments: These methods help in elevating the front suspension while lowering the rear.
  3. Drop Shackles: By incorporating drop shackles on the rear axles, it’s possible to achieve a more pronounced incline, sometimes exceeding 10 inches.

Modifying a Truck for the Carolina Squat

Legality Concerns in the U.S.

Despite the trend’s popularity among truck enthusiasts, the Carolina Squat has faced legal challenges in various states. The driving force behind these legal actions can be summarized as follows:

  1. Safety Concerns: Senate bill 777 illustrates the primary concern. Trucks exhibiting a Carolina Squat are restricted from state highways if the front bumper has been adjusted more than four inches higher than the rear. The rationale behind such legislation is grounded in safety concerns, primarily the potential for impaired forward visibility for drivers and an altered vehicle stance that might affect handling.
  2. Tragic Incidents: Regrettably, there have been instances where accidents involving Carolina squatted trucks have led to fatal outcomes. One notable case was the tragic death of a 19-year-old driving a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado. The vehicle’s altered stance played a role in the devastating crash, catalyzing further scrutiny and, subsequently, stricter regulations on the modification.

Those interested in modifying their trucks in this style should be cognizant of local regulations and potential safety implications.

Potential Dangers 

Carolina squatting, while fashionable among certain truck enthusiasts, has been met with safety concerns, many of which are supported by real-world experiences and observations. Here are some dangers associated with this vehicle modification:

  1. Compromised Visibility: One of the most significant safety concerns is the compromised forward visibility due to the raised front suspension. This can make it challenging for the driver to gauge the road properly. As a result, there’s an increased risk of not spotting obstacles, vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians in time, leading to potential accidents.
  2. Increased Rollover Risk: The altered stance and center of gravity of a Carolina squatted truck make it more susceptible to rollovers, especially during sharp turns or sudden maneuvers. Rollovers can be particularly devastating, both for the occupants of the truck and any other nearby vehicles or pedestrians.
  3. Collision Impact: Due to the uneven height, collisions involving a Carolina squatting truck can be more dangerous. In the event of a frontal collision, the raised front can override the bumper of another vehicle, potentially leading to more severe injuries. Such overrides can bypass the safety structures of other vehicles, putting both drivers and passengers at greater risk.
  4. Reduced Vehicle Stability: The altered suspension can also impact the vehicle’s overall stability. Trucks with a Carolina Squat might handle differently than their stock counterparts, especially at higher speeds or under specific road conditions.
  5. Uneven Wear and Tear: Beyond safety concerns, the uneven distribution of weight and stress can lead to uneven wear and tear on the truck’s tires, brakes, and suspension components. This not only translates to increased maintenance costs but can also introduce further safety hazards if not diligently monitored.

A Few Examples of Carolina Squatting Modified Trucks

A number of truck owners have modified their trucks from time to time. We have shortlisted some of those uniquely modified trucks that have seen Carolina squatting on various occasions. The list of those modified squatting cars has been shared below:

  1. 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe
  2. 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe – With Backspring
  3. 2016 Toyota 4Runner
  4. 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe
  5. GMC Sierra 1500 Carolina squatted

1. GMC Sierra 1500 Carolina Squatted

GMC Sierra 1500 Carolina Squatted

Description: This GMC Sierra 1500 comes in a striking blue exterior, drawing immediate attention. What sets it apart is the slightly airlifted front suspension, giving it that distinctive Carolina Squat look. The truck sits on a pair of aggressive Haida MT 33”x12.5” wheels that complement the overall aesthetics.


  • Price: $29,595
  • Powertrain: 4.8-liter V8 flex fuel engine
  • Horsepower: 302 hp
  • Torque: 305 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic
  • 0-60 mph: 4.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 108 mph

2. 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe

2002 Chevrolet Tahoe

Description: This 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe is silver and exhibits a prominent Carolina squat. The vehicle’s stance is emphasized by American Force burn out SS 22×14 -70 inches wheels and is further enhanced by a fabtech 6-inch suspension lift.


  • Price: $33,204
  • Powertrain: 4.8-liter V8 engine
  • Horsepower: 275 hp
  • Torque: 295 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic
  • 0-60 mph: 8.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 106 mph

3. 2016 Toyota 4Runner

2016 Toyota 4Runner

Description: This 2016 Toyota 4Runner, despite squatting being controversial, has been impeccably modified. Perfection wheels, sized at 26” reps on 35s, adorn this vehicle, making it an immediate head-turner.


  • Price: $34,010
  • Powertrain: 4.0-liter V6 engine
  • Horsepower: 270 hp
  • Torque: 278 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 5-speed shiftable automatic
  • 0-60 mph: 7.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 115 mph

4. 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe 

2005 Chevrolet Tahoe 

Description: This variant of the 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe boasts a super lift suspension system. Its 4WD configuration and ARKON off-road Lincoln 24×14-81 offset wheels make it unique, and its squat gives it that signature slanting look.


  • Price: $35,915
  • Powertrain: 4.8-liter V8 engine
  • Horsepower: 285 hp
  • Torque: 295 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic
  • 0-60 mph: 9.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 106 mph

5. 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe 

2005 Chevrolet Tahoe modifications

Description: Another 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe, but with different modifications. This truck exhibits significant modifications at the front, with the suspension elevating it distinctly. The truck’s headlights, when on, seem to light up the sky, making it a dramatic sight.


  • Price: $35,915
  • Powertrain: 4.8-liter V8 engine
  • Horsepower: 285 hp
  • Torque: 295 lb-ft
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic
  • 0-60 mph: 9.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 106 mph

Summary Table:

Vehicle Price Powertrain Horsepower Torque Transmission 0-60 mph Top Speed
GMC Sierra 1500 $29,595 4.8L V8 flex fuel 302 hp 305 lb-ft 4-speed automatic 4.1s 108 mph
2002 Chevrolet Tahoe $33,204 4.8L V8 275 hp 295 lb-ft 4-speed automatic 8.8s 106 mph
2016 Toyota 4Runner $34,010 4.0L V6 270 hp 278 lb-ft 5-speed shiftable auto 7.6s 115 mph
2005 Chevrolet Tahoe (1st Entry) $35,915 4.8L V8 285 hp 295 lb-ft 4-speed automatic 9.5s 106 mph
2005 Chevrolet Tahoe (2nd Entry) $35,915 4.8L V8 285 hp 295 lb-ft 4-speed automatic 9.5s 106 mph

Final Words:

Carolina squatting, although controversial, has undeniably made its mark in the automotive modification community. Whether you love it or loathe it, these trucks exhibit a unique character and the spirit of customization.

Exploring these models gives us a peek into the realm of automotive creativity and the lengths enthusiasts will go to achieve their vision. If you’re a lover of modified vehicles or simply curious about the world of squatting, this list offers an intriguing dive into the trend.

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