What's The Difference Between a Lift kit and A Leveling Kit?
April 12, 2021
There's a lot of misconceptions surrounding lift kits and leveling kits and how they actually lift or level a vehicle. Most people have the basic idea down but seem to miss some big components that makeup lift kits and leveling kits. Let's clear the air and get down to the facts about the real differences between lift kits and leveling kits and how lift kits and leveling kits actually work.
Once you have a better understanding of what those differences are, you'll hopefully be able to make the right decision on what's best for you and your truck based on your lifestyle.
Leveling Kits 101
Leveling kits are pretty common for daily drivers and even off-road enthusiasts because leveling kits don't put nearly as much stress on your truck's suspension components as a lift kit usually does.
What You Need To Know:
- A leveling kit is designed to lift only the front of your vehicle
- A leveling 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, where the rear of your truck sits slightly higher than the front, and the leveling kit usually adds blocks on top of your factory struts to increase the height
- Most trucks from the factory come with rake to even out the load when your bed is filled with lumber or something (your truck will sit level when under load)
Benefits Of Leveling Kits:
- 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 heavy load on your truck, the rear will sag significantly more than before
- Compared to lift kits, leveling kits are significantly more affordable!
Cons Of Leveling Kits:
- No performance benefits or extra ground clearance
- Remember, because you have now removed the factory rake when you put a load on your truck, the rear of your truck or SUV will sag significantly more than before
Lift Kits 101
Unlike leveling kits, lift kits are known to put more stress on a truck's suspension components but lift kits are definitely a popular suspension upgrade depending on your application.
What You Need To Know:
- Lift Kits affect both the front AND the rear of the truck, unlike leveling kits that only affect the rear of a truck
- For example, a 6-inch lift kit is going to give you six inches of lift in the front AND the rear of your vehicle...
- BUT, 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
- Similar to leveling kits, some lift kits use strut spacers to achieve lift, while others will replace the entire strut assembly to maximize performance
- 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
-Lift kits are different than body lift kits because they manipulate and/or replace your stock suspension where a body lift actually lifts the body of your truck by adding blocks between the body and the frame
Benefits Of Lift Kits
- Lift Kits provide that needed extra clearance if you're an avid off-road enthusiast who enjoys rock crawling and taking the less explored path
- The appearance of a lift is one of the biggest reasons why someone goes with a lift over a level, it depends on your preference
- If you're not an avid off-road enthusiast, you may still need extra clearance with a lift kit to run bigger wheels and tires
Cons of Lift Kits
- Lift Kits do put more stress on other suspension components which can cost you more money in the future or more money initially to prevent damage
- Lift kits generally are more expensive compared to leveling kits
- Lift kits can be more challenging to install compared to leveling kits
- If you don't install a lift kit properly, expect to pay for it in the future
Get A Lift Kit If...
Overall, each suspension kit serves its unique purpose. If you want to do more off-road activities, need more performance, need clearance for bigger wheels and tires, or just want a more aggressive look, you'll probably want to get a lift kit.
Remember that lift kits do put more stress on your truck so you may want to invest in better supporting suspension components to alleviate the stress if you want to do things the right way.
Get A Leveling Kit If...
Leveling kits definitely are more functional for the daily driver. 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.
You won't run into as many issues with a leveling kit and it will provide a solid look to your truck when you're driving down the highway to work, the cabin, or whatever your destination may be.