Today we are talking about the difference between a lift and a leveling kit.
1. About Leveling Kits
We'll start off by talking about what exactly a leveling kit is. Most people can confuse a leveling kit for a lift kit but they're actually pretty different. A leveling kit is designed to lift only the front of your vehicle. This is because a lot of trucks come from the factory with the rear sitting slightly higher than the front. The thinking behind this is that most people tend to use a truck for hauling or towing. By lifting the rear, the manufacturer can make the truck sit level when under load.
So if you're looking to install a leveling kit, the kit allows you to lift the front of your vehicle to meet the height of the lifted rear end. The difference in height is known as a rake and the leveling kit usually adds blocks on top of your factory struts to increase the height.
This will give you a slightly higher look without being over the top. There really isn't a performance benefit to a leveling kit but it's important to remember that because you have now removed the factory rake when you put a load on your truck, the rear will sag significantly more than before.
2. About Lift Kits
When it comes to Lift Kits, these affect both the front and the rear of the truck, so purchasing and installing a 6-inch lift kit is going to give you six inches of lift in the front AND the rear of your vehicle. Similar to leveling kits, some lift kits use strut spacers to achieve lift, while others will replace the strut altogether to maximize performance.
In the rear end, it is likely that a 6-inch lift kit will only come with 4-inch block spacers; This allows for the factory rake which would likely be somewhere around 2 inches to be factored in so that the truck will ultimately sit evenly with your new lift kit.
There are some lift kits, such as the BDS system for 3/4 ton trucks, that give customers the option to run a 4-inch block spacer or a 5-inch block spacer to maintain some rake and allow the truck to sit level when loaded up.
3. Wrap Up
Overall, each suspension kit serves its unique purpose. If you're just looking for a small amount of lift, a leveling kit will be a great option that will also keep costs low. But if you want to do more off-road activities, need more performance, or just want a more aggressive look, check out a lift kit instead.