There are a lot of different terms thrown around when shopping for anything for your truck, but one question we get a lot is on the difference between lift kits and leveling kits. It’s a pretty subtle, but important difference. We’ll go over this below as well as some tips on how to go about achieving the look you’re going for!
What’s a leveling kit?
You’ve probably noticed that just about every pickup truck leaves the factory with the back end sitting a little higher than the front. This is done so that the rear end doesn’t look like it’s sagging down after adding a couple hundred pounds to the bed, or when towing something with a lot of tongue weight. It makes sense, no one wants to see their brawny new truck looking like it can’t handle a little weight in the bed, right?
Well, many truck owners don’t really have that issue too often, and would prefer the nicer look of the truck sitting evenly from a side profile. That’s where leveling kits come in. It’s essentially a small lift just for the front end of your truck to eliminate that forward rake that your truck came with stock. It’s a subtle change, but it makes a big difference in your truck’s stance, and might actually help you fit some bigger tires if that’s your goal.
Most leveling kits are a 1-2″ lift, but some can be a little higher depending on the model, and if you need to compensate for extra weight on the front end, like a big heavy bumper or a winch. Most kits consist of spring spacers, strut extensions, lift blocks, and maybe some extended length shocks. These kits tend to be pretty inexpensive and retain most of your stock ride and handling characteristics, and most can be installed by anyone who’s decently handy with an open driveway and an afternoon to kill.
OK, then what’s a lift kit?
Whereas a leveling kit is really just meant to balance the look of your truck, a lift kit is a rework of your suspension for more height and ground clearance all around. This could be as little as an inch, or just about as high as you want to go. These kits can range from just being spacer/block kits, to replacing your springs, shocks, control arms, steering components, etc. The sky is almost literally the limit here.
If you’re looking for more height to clear big tires, as well as actual improvements from your suspension for off-road use, then a full suspension lift is probably what you’re after. These are generally more expensive than just a leveling kit, but it could be essential depending on what your goal is.
These kits are typically more involved to install as well, and depending on the kit and your application. Depending on how comfortable you are with a wrench, it might not be a bad idea to shop around labor costs in your area, as some of this stuff is not for the faint of heart.So which do you need for your truck? Is just a leveling kit all you’re looking for or do you need the full package? If you need any help on the specifics for your build, hit up one of our gearheads to figure out what exactly you need and how to get it done!