What Is the Difference Between Leveling Kits and Lift Kits?

black Jeep SUV on rocky road

Whether you own a Ford, RAM, Jeep, or another model of truck, one question you will eventually consider is whether you want to raise the height of the vehicle. There are several reasons for adding height to the vehicle.

For starters, most people that drive Jeeps and trucks like being higher off the ground. The higher you are, the easier it is to see the road and what is around you. Another reason people consider raising the ride height is so they can get larger tires and custom wheels.

If you have spent some time researching your options, you will have encountered a wide range of options. With the different options, it is no wonder you will have questions about the differences between the two and whether a lift kit or leveling kit is right for you.

What Is a Leveling Kit?

A leveling kit is exactly what it sounds like. It levels the height of the vehicle so that the front and rear ends are the same heights. Leveling kits are designed primarily for trucks, not Jeeps. The reason for this is that most trucks have the bed and rear of the vehicle already raised up higher than the front end.

The purpose for this is, when you load up the back end, the weight of the cargo in the bed will cause the rear of the truck to compress a little. With the load, the front end and rear end will be the same height. Unless you exceed the maximum cargo weight, you typically will not see the bed sagging lower than the front end.

Truck manufacturers do this intentionally. However, you may not like how your truck looks when you are not hauling cargo. The rear end will be slightly higher than the front end. To remedy this situation, you can use a leveling kit.

The leveling kit is installed on the front end to raise the front of the truck up a few inches to match the rear end height. Installing a leveling kit is done for cosmetic purposes. Another benefit truck owners gain with leveling kits is being able to get slightly larger tires.

To provide the added lift to the front end, leveling kits rely on using various extensions, torsion keys,  or coil spacers. The components used vary based on the make and model of the truck and the suspension system.

Since you are only increasing the height of the front end a few inches, a leveling kit does not affect cargo weight capacities or change how the truck handles.

What Is a Lift Kit?

A lift kit, on the other hand, is used when you want to raise the height of the front and rear ends of the vehicle. Another reason people have lift kits installed is when they want to increase the ground clearance on their vehicle. Lift kits can also be used on both Jeeps and trucks.

There are two variations of lift kits that accomplish different things—body lift kits and suspension lift kits. A body lift kit does not lift the suspension, nor does it increase the clearance. Rather, it uses spacers and blocks to raise the body of the vehicle higher.

Raising the body will provide added height to the vehicle. It also allows you to get slightly larger tires for your truck or Jeep. Body lift kits do not alter the pre-lift handling and driving of the vehicle.

They typically remain the same. However, the center of gravity of the vehicle will change somewhat.

The second type of lift kit is called a suspension lift kit. This type of lift kit raises the suspension and the body of the vehicle. The kit can require installing new control arms, track arms, and leaf springs. You may also need to install other new components like longer brake lines.         

The ground clearance of the Jeep or truck is also increased with a suspension lift kit. This is beneficial if you plan on taking your vehicle off-road and want higher clearances to make navigating off-road trails easier. Just remember, the center of gravity will also be altered the higher you raise the vehicle.

Leveling Kit vs. Lift Kit: Which One Is Right for You?

Deciding whether a leveling kit or lift kit is right for you depends on what you want to accomplish and your personal preferences. To help you make the right choice, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do you want to bring the front end up so that it matches the factory rake rear end height on your truck? To make the front of the vehicle the same height, then a leveling kit is the right choice.
  • Do you want a lifted Jeep or truck to take off-roading? If so, then a lift kit is the right choice.
  • Do you want larger tires but are not concerned about going off-roading? If so, then a leveling kit is ideal if you have a truck. You could also choose a body lift kit for your truck or if you have a Jeep.
  • Do you want your truck or Jeep to stand out and be as elevated as high as it can, regardless of whether you plan on taking it off-road? Then, you will want to get a lift kit installed.

If you are still not sure which type of kit is best for you, feel free to contact Pilson Lifted Trucks and Jeeps at 217-234-6461 today! We would be happy to speak with you, offer advice, and provide you access to new and used lifted Jeeps and lifted trucks with the features and options you desire.

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