Some truck owners want their trucks to stand a little taller. So, they look for a good truck leveling kit that will get the job done. Before you do, you’ll need to know some of the upsides and potential downsides of using a truck kit. Finding the right one will do wonders for your truck. But at the same time, you’ll need one that won’t end up damaging it permanently. In this article, you’ll learn about what truck leveling kits are, what their purpose is, and the upsides and downsides of using them.
What Is A Truck Leveling Kit?
A truck leveling kit is similar to truck lift kits. The purpose of the leveling kit is to raise the truck body away from the axles in order to fit larger tires and increase ground clearance. A leveling kit has hardware to slightly raise the front of the vehicle so it matches with the stock height in the back. A leveling kit is designed to provide a maximum lift of approximately two inches in the front. If you desire a stock-style, the front-end leveling kits can be paired with space blocks on the rear leaf springs to provide a slight lift at all four corners.
Leveling kits are usually simple and will only require spring spacers and torsion keys in order to work properly.
The Benefits Of Truck Leveling Kits
One major advantage of having a truck leveling kit is that it will allow larger than stock tires to run on all four corners. Though most pickups will have plenty of clearance in the rear, the up front larger tires can hit the inside of the truck’s fender or bumper when turning. A slight increase in height may be exactly what you need in this regard.
If you have something heavy like a plow or a winch that is added to the front of the truck, the suspension can sag. This will give the ride height that is much lower than stock. In that regard, a leveling kit may be used to bring up the front end back up to the proper height. If you want to give your truck a boost in height, a level kit is considered the more inexpensive option compared to lift kits. Best of all, they’re also pretty easy to install.
So, if you want bigger tires for your truck or if you want to improve the overall aesthetics of your truck, then you’ll need to find a good truck leveling kit to ensure that it reaches your desired height.
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The Downsides Of Truck Leveling Kits
Although truck leveling kits have their set of benefits and advantages, it does come with its share of downsides. Though level kits are simple, the biggest downside mostly pertains to style. Most people will usually order a leveling kit and expect it to change the overall look of their truck. Since it won’t look “stockish” enough, they can step it up later with a lift kit.
Some will likely be unhappy with the stance, which is usually nose high, especially with a trailer included. Another downside happens after the leveling kit is installed. Some trucks may experience what is known as a “death wobble”. This is a easy to understand term that is defined as uncontrolled steering oscillation. Compared to a stock truck, a leveled or lifted truck will most likely experience this.
Here are some other downsides that you may have to contend with if you’re installing a leveling kit:
Warranty: If you modify your truck, you risk voiding the warranty. If it’s outside the warranty window, then this isn’t a cause for concern. However, if you have a new truck that you purchased recently and something on it breaks, your dealer may hesitate to make any repairs under warranty if you’ve made some modifications. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual or your manufacturer’s website to determine whether or not if adding a level kit will void your warranty.
Maintenance: If you install a level kit, you also risk your suspension components wearing out at a much faster rate. Most trucks were manufactured by automobile companies to function a certain way. Making any changes can very well open the door to an increase of wear and tear on your truck. When adjusting your front suspension, wear is almost certain when it comes to the ball joints. If you have a 4×4 truck, the front CV joints will likely deal with additional stress.
The more you change the height of your suspension, the more likely you’ll see wear and tear. If you make small changes (like two inches or less), the wear will not occur as much compared to large adjustments.
Gas Mileage: One final downside you might see with leveling kits is a reduction in gas mileage. Increasing the height of your truck (especially in the front) will increase the amount of wind resistance. Ever wonder why race cars are so low to the ground? Because more airflow under the car will increase the amount of drag and in turn, increases fuel consumption. If you lower your truck to level it, you’ll have an increase in gas mileage.
Even though there appears to be a bit more downside than upsides, this should not discourage you in the slightest to buy a truck leveling kit. However, it should give you a good idea of what adjustments you can make so you don’t damage your truck in a short amount of time.
Compare leveling kit vs lift kit
Part of the joy of owning a truck, is giving it some height. There are a few ways to go about this and we break them down here.
Trucks are designed to have a certain amount of height already. And most trucks are built to be a little bit higher in the rear. This is done intentionally – as loads are put into the bed of the truck, it will eventually drop lower due to weight and gravity. Designing the rear to be higher to start with, allows the truck to eventually be even. If you want to add some height to your truck, you will need either a leveling kit or a lift kit depending on the outcome you are hoping to achieve.
To start, a lift kit will raise your entire truck. It lifts the front and the rear. You can raise your truck anywhere from 1” to several inches higher. Using a lift kit on your truck will give you a better off-road experience. There are 2 types of lift kits-a body lift kit and a suspension lift kit.
A body lift kit uses blocks and spacers to raise the body of your truck higher on to the frame. Doing this does not change the ground clearance. The extra height your truck gains allows you to replace the wheels and tires with larger ones if you want to do so. The body lift will not change your steering, so your driving and handling should be the same.
Installing a suspension lift is a little more involved. When you install this kind of lift, you will usually replace the shocks, struts and springs and sometimes the control arms and driveshafts.
A leveling kit is used when you want to get both the front end and he rear to be the same height, without waiting for time and gravity to drop the rear. A leveling kit is designed to raise the front of your truck, while leaving the rear as it is.
Leveling kits use coil spacers, strut extensions or torsion keys to raise the front end of your truck. Many times, this can even be done without raising your truck up on jacks or blocks. Leveling out your truck has 2 advantages: you can raise your clearance just enough to use larger wheels and tires if you want and it will not decrease your payload. Leveling is generally done for aesthetics.
If you are trying to decide between a leveling kit or a lift kit, it can come down to how you intend to use your amped up truck. A leveling kit generally costs less than a lift kit. However, a leveling kit will not really raise your truck to great heights. It will simply even out the height of the front and rear end of your truck. If you are looking to make a bigger impact with your truck, than a lift kit is for you. Lift kits raise the body of your truck and you can customize the height to achieve the effect you are looking for.
Now that you know what the upsides and downsides of a truck leveling kit, now it’s entirely up to you to make a decision. Finding a truck level will be based on your personal preferences and needs. If you’re on a budget, remember that it doesn’t mean finding something that is bad in quality. So, find the best truck leveling kit you can possibly afford.
You should also consider whether or not the appropriate adjustments you want will increase the wear and tear of your truck.