Leveling Kit Vs Lift Kit is the question, so let’s talk about that…
You may be looking to modify your truck height and these two kinds of kits have come up. So, you want to understand the difference between the two as well as which one is going to suit your need.
Luckily, when you break it down it is actually quite simple to understand.
This article provides a direct comparison between the two so you can quickly get a sense of the difference. Furthermore, it goes into detail about each kit and the different types.
Leveling Kit Vs Lift Kit
Put simply, a leveling kit is designed to raise the front of your truck to match the height of the back. On the other hand, a lift kit is designed to raise your truck as a whole. Both kits are meant to lift the truck body away from its axles in order to gain ground clearance or put on larger tires.
Generally speaking, a leveling kit will make use of suspension modification to provide lift. When you combine this with back-raising suspension you are getting into the territory of lift kits. Many lifts kits contain the same hardware as a leveling kit but simply contain extra hardware to raise the back.
So, the difference is actually more of an intellectual definition than a physical one…a definition which is determined simply, by whether you are lifting just the front or both back and front.
However, the maximum lift you can get with each kit type, as well as the reason you would want to install either of them, can be quite different. Furthermore, the greater the lift you are looking for, the more difficult the installation.
To make it easy and quick to assess these components, have a look at this comparison before we get into detail about the two types:
What is a Leveling Kit?
Most trucks are designed with the front slightly lower than the back. This is to accommodate for the high load that may be placed on the rear suspension by cargo in the truck bed. This is known as “rake”.
This will have an effect on the aesthetics of your vehicle and may hinder your ability to add larger tires to the front. Reason being, that the lower clearance from the axel can cause a larger wheel to hit the inside of the fender or bumper.
Furthermore, if you were to add on a heavier bumper, winch, plow, etc. you may experience a sag in your front suspension. A leveling kit is great for fixing such an issue by bringing the front back to the correct height.
With a leveling kit, you are generally going to get less lift than with a lift kit. The lift range you can expect with a leveling kit is between 1″ and 2″ of added ground clearance. Furthermore, the installation of a leveling kit is far simpler than an advanced suspension lift kit.
So, to summarise the above, the uses of a leveling kit include:
- Raising the front of your vehicle
- Allowing for larger tires (in the front)
- Correct suspension sag caused by a heavier bumper, winch, plow, etc.
Types of Leveling kits:
The type of leveling kit you can fit is affected by the type of suspension your vehicle uses. The types are leveling kits available are as follows:
- Leaf Spring Blocks – These are for vehicle with Leaf suspension. These are set up between the axle and the leaf springs, and are typically used to change the ride height on a vehicle’s rear end.
- Strut Extensions – These are for trucks with Coil-over-struts suspension. These are added on top of the strut to creat lift.
- Coil Spacers – These are of course used with coil suspension and are placed on top of the coil which actually tightens the coil to provide lift.
- Lifted Springs – Available for leaf spring and coil spring suspension. For the leaf spring, it means replacing the stock with a higher-arched spring. For coil springs, it means adding a larger coil.
- Add-a-leaf – This is for leaf suspension where you add another leaf into the assembly.
Keep in mind that some lift kits (especially the ‘body’ kits) actually make use of the same types in order to raise the body.
If you have a Chevy Silverado, have a look at the best Silverado leveling kit.
What is a Lift Kit?
Essentially, a lift kit will raise both the front and back of your vehicle. You have a much wider range of height possibilities with lift kits from just a minor height adjustment all the way to monster-truck level ground clearance. To be precise, you are looking at a range of between 1-10″ or higher if you are willing to customize!
Lift kits are often used to improve the aesthetics of your truck to get that high-up, beastly appearance. They can also be used for added height for off-road purposes as well as installing larger tires.
It is helpful to talk about the different types of lift kits because they are quite different in terms of installation and height improvements.
Types of Lift Kits:
There are two main types of Lift kits:
Body lift kit
This type of kit aims to lift just the body of your vehicle by adding spacers between your truck body and frame. This means that your ride height will increase and you can add on larger tires. However, you will not alter your ground clearance.
These are much simpler to install than suspension lift kits.
Suspension Lift kits
Suspension lift kits can provide much greater lift than a body lift kit but, depending on the height increase you want, can be a lot more complicated to install. The reason being, that in order to get a higher lift you need to start replacing springs, whole shocks, control arms, leaf springs, etc. If you go high enough, you even need to start replacing things like your driveshaft, steering components as well as bending your brake lines.
So, the tradeoff for height is a more involved and complicated installation.
If you have a Chevy Silverado, have a look at the best lift kits for Chevy Silverado.
Difference Between Leveling Kits and Lift Kits?
Below is another way to quickly assess the advantages and disadvantages of each type of kit.
- Lower price point
- Fit larger tires
- Fix front suspension sag caused by additional accessory (winches, plow, etc.)
- Better off-road protection
- Simpler installation
- Only lifts the front of your vehicle
- If aesthetics are a factor you may be dissapointed with the height gain.
- Higher price point
- Fit even larger tires than leveling kit
- Much better off road protection (especially for rock-crawling, high snow, deep water, etc.)
- Much higher ground clearance
- High Visual impact and aggressive stance
- More aerodynamic drag leading to lower fuel economy
- More expensive than leveling kits
- Can be more difficult to install depending on your choice
- Higher center of gravity can mean less stability
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each kit. You can now, evaluate the trade-off of each
Hopefully, that is all helpful in demystifying the difference between the two kits. If you would like some further visual insight, have a look at this video:
Which one is right for you?
While there is certainly some overlap between the two kit types, this article has broken down the key differences. Furthermore, we have compared their functionality and features, side by side so that you can make a more informed decision about which one is right for you and your circumstances.
Leveling kits are simply designed to lift the front of your vehicle while lift kits come with the hardware required to lift the back and the front and can provide much more ground clearance than a leveling kit.
If you simply want to fit slightly larger tires, fix front suspension sag, or balance your truck’s rake, a leveling kit may be for you.
However, if you are looking for a more aggressive aesthetic, higher ground clearance, or better off-road performance, then a lift kit may be the way to go.